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Matt Weinstock

July 26, 2007 |  7:02 pm

Matt_weinstockd July 26, 1957

This is to report that the Swiss family Caserini has held its annual picnic at Steckel Park near Santa Paula and it is now OK for things to get back to normal.

Caserini is a generic term for a bunch of people of that name, also Giacomazzi, Falcinela, Montemaro, Cavaletti, Guidotti, Confaglia, Murphy, Fitzgerald, Christianson, Brown, Lucas, Rupp, Clement and Weinstock--all more or less remote descendants of Juan Batista Caserini and his wife, Marian, who came to Southern California from Switzerland in the last century.

Present, accounted for and looking fine were the three surviving daughters of old Juan Batista--Caroline Giacomazzi, 86, Apolonia Falcinela and Ava Caserini. Caroline and Ava live in Gardena. Apolonia in Culver City.

You don't do much at these things except gorge on fried chicken, potato salad and cake and make the rounds, chatting with members of the family you haven't seen since last year's picnic and trying to identify the children.

Celestino Giacomazzi of Gardena, son of Caroline, observing some fifth-generation sprouts racing around, remarked:

"Pretty soon these things will be only for the youngsters."

Henry Confaglia of Los Alamos was asked about the grasshoppers which recently swarmed into his territory. His farm was spared but he knows others which were badly hit. He watched the locusts devastate a beanfield and he said it was awful. You can always expect grasshoppers, he said, when there is no rain in March.

Pete Cavaletti of San Marcos Pass generously distributed some of the most delicious oranges ever tasted by those present, all experts But his crop wasn't worth picking this year, he said.

The stream that runs through Steckel Park is quite full this year and I made my customary safari in quest of frogs and tadpoles, demonstrating to small children how fearless I was of red and blue dragonflies.

We didn't see any frogs or polliwogs but in several pools about 2 feet deep we stirred up some trout, several about 7 inches. They resent the intrusion but were apparently resigned to it.

As for my horseshoe pitching, my game was off badly. Furthermore, I suspect some of the farm boys have been practicing all year. I was shut out in the preliminaries.

Picnics in our many-splendored Southern California parks, with or without five generations, are herewith highly recommended. They bring out the best in people.