Ray Cuneo Baptism Certificate

On March 16, 1906, Rafaele Anthony (Raymond Joseph) Cuneo was born at the Cuneo home in Jackson, California.

"I was premature when I was born. In fact my mother kept me in a shoebox, that's how small I was. Then they used to have the oven open to keep me warm."

                     - Ray Cuneo

 

Rafaele Cuneo

Frist Communion - Age 7

Ray Cuneo - Confirmation

Rafaele took the name Raymond Joseph as his confirmation name and was know as Ray from then on.

Ray attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and then St. Mary's High School in Berkley until the tenth grade.

 

Ray Cuneo as a young man

   "Ray was very short, about 5'3'' or so, until he turned 18 or 19. Then get grew tall very fast". -Jewell

  When his father died, Ray took over the job of making the wine once a year. He would go with his father's friends to a market in Oakland where they would help him pick out the grapes. The grocer would then deliver about a ton of grapes to his house on 45th Street. He put on big black hip boots and stomped the grapes in a vat in the basement of the house. He would strain out the clear "dego red" wine and put it into one of the three (two big and one small) barrels. He would the press the mash to get another 20 or so gallons of inferior wine (they drank this first) and let the rest of the wine ferment for about two weeks. He would then bottle it into one-gallon bottles and store them in the wine racks his father had built in the basement. By March the wine would be ready to drink. Their neighborhood was mostly Italian and the neighbors would taste and critique everyone's wine. Ray said that when everyone tasted his first batch they told him "not bad for the first try." He made wine for three years. He did not drink wine so he gave it all away. In the last batch he made one of the barrels turned to vinegar so he did not make wine again. They gave all the equipment away to the neighbors. When he and Cecilia got married, his mother took out the last four bottles left; his father had made them, to offer their guests at the reception. He said they were about twenty years old at the time and they were very good!

Ray took the Post Office test and scored an 89%. They called him a few months later in November to come to work. Grandpa quit his job at an iron works factory (he heated rivets) and started at the Post Office. However, he was disappointed after Christmas when he got a pink slip; he hadn't realized the job was only temporary. He took a job at a bottle shop (they cleaned deposit bottles to be used again). One day after he had rode his bicycle about 20 blocks home from work and checked the mailbox he had recieved a letter from the Post Office telling him to report that evening at 6:00 for work. He washed up, rode his bike there and arrived at 5:55. At three in the morning he clocked out and went home. He had assumed the shift was 8 hours but he was yelled at the next night for going home so early. He would usually work about 12 hours after that.

One of his friends at the Post Office was John Henderson who used to have to wait 45 minutes after work for the next bus home. Grandpa offered to give him a ride home on his bike handlebars; he did this for the next three years. John was taking night classes and became a lawyer. He quit the Post Office and eventually moved to L.A. and became very successful. He would always visit Grandpa when he was in the Bay Area. He was at a party in LA one night and collapsed at the table. Everyone thought it was a heart attack but someone had put strychnine in his glass and killed him. It was not known who killed him or why; if it was because was a successful black lawyer or what.

The Cuneo's next door neighbors were the Carniglia's. Their son, Delpho, got married in 1930 to Josephine DiPietro from Utah. Not long after that, Josephine's sister, Cecilia, came to stay with them. This was to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

1932 With his friend, Joe Maffei, 1934 With his mother, Louisa 1932

 

26 Years old at Lake Merrit At Yosemite With his mother Age 24

 

 

 

 

 

22 years old

with his future best man, Tony Agussa 1932

at Yosemite

DiPietro Petruolo Family History

Ray and Cecilia Cuneo