This post is dedicated to five men, five men that I have known for their entire lives. I am the oldest of 6 Italian brothers and I love them all. In one of my blogs recently, I spoke about what influenced my style and I mentioned some movies and some photographers that I really respect. I was thinking about that the other day and I started wondering who had influenced me in my life, not my art. I came to the conclusion that I could not separate the two. Whatever or whoever influenced my life would have to have influenced my art.
As I thought about it, many people came to mind including my mother who died much too young. She taught me compassion, forgiveness and that all people no matter what race are all the same and should be treated as such. My wife, Phyllis has taught me so much about love, understanding and made me realize that a mistake is just that, a mistake, that you forgive mistakes without any retribution. I have let my wife know how much I love her and how much she means to me. I try to do this everyday in words and actions. My mom died suddenly and I did not have the time for a final goodbye. I didn't have a moment to tell her how much I loved her and how grateful I was that she was my mom and how she tried to teach me so much in a relatively short time: how I could speak to her about anything without fear of losing that love.
These thoughts made me think of my five brothers. I did not want to have any regrets about not telling them how I feel about them so I thought this might be a way of doing just that. For the rest of you reading this, I appreciate your following this blog and invite you to read this post. I guess I should apologize for not speaking about photography in this one. I usually write about the toy shop of life: our art. I do not mean to say it is not important to each of us but hopefully it is a small part of our lives. At least I think it should be. Our families and friends should take up the largest part of it. I thought I would tell a little something about each brother and what each has taught me about life. I guess I'll start with youngest of the six, my brother Ricky.
Ricky is 48 years old and I remember Ricky as a young boy being a happy kid, at least thats my memory of him though he might not agree. He did get into trouble as a youngster. He was sent out to the car from a restaurant at which the family was eating, on more then one occasion. But it was the kind of trouble that all young boys get into, especially in a large family like ours. He might have been trying to stake his claim as being there. " HEY I'M HERE! I'M THE YOUNGEST BUT I'M HERE" Unfortunately, being too loud about saying that can get you sent to the car. lol.
Ricky and my brother Paul were very young when my mother died and the only two sons in the house when it happened. I know that losing your mother always effects children, especially at a young age and so suddenly, but at Ricky's age it must have been really difficult. I know what I felt and I was 13 years older and might have been better equipped to deal with the loss. For whatever reason, Ricky hit a rough patch in his life and went through some real trying times. Even with the support of his family, he struggled to cope. Then he met a women, Roseann, married and with her help and a lot of determination found himself. He now has two wonderful children, has been married for over twenty years and is doing great one day at a time. Last year driving his motorcycle to work one early morning, there was an accident. Ricky was thrown from his bike and suffered major trauma to his back. It was touch and go whether he would ever walk but now he is able to walk and drive a car. He might be in pain the rest of his life and may never be what he was before the accident but knowing Ricky, I would never bet against him. Ricky has taught me that you can't change who you are but you can change the way you live your life. He had been an inspiration to me before and now after.
Paul is fifty years old. Paul lives in the same town in Florida as we do. We came to visit him last year and loved it so much we moved here. I remember Paul as never being in trouble as a little kid. That may not be accurate but it's the way I remember him. I do know one day playing around, I broke his collar bone. I think I was practicing a wrestling move I saw on TV. Maybe that is why I do not remember him in trouble. Guilt can do that to your memory. I remember Paul being a quiet, slightly overweight kid, ( it ran in our family), neither of which he is now. Paul is a fiercely passionate, complex man. He is quick to tell you when he feels you're wrong but will always be there to help out if you need someone. He has a great work ethic and an even better sense of humor. He has a laugh that makes you want to laugh with him. He is a big gift giver, not just on appropriate times but on any day. He might send you something in the mail that he thinks you would like or need, without even telling you he has sent it. When Phyllis and I started receiving Florida magazines in the mail, we knew they had to be from Paul and we were right.
Paul is proud of who he is and yet a humble man. He's very respectful yet quick to anger but just as quickly can forget it. I am very proud of the man Paul has become and proud to call him my brother and friend.
Bobby is 56 and as a young kid had to endure the taunts of the other young kids. He was born with what the doctors and family called a lazy eye. The young kids called it far worse names and it must have been difficult to be a child dealing with that. Bobby found strength in the need to deal with it plus his wonderful wife and two children. As a young man in his twenties, he and his partner, Doug opened a business on the Boston Fish Pier and turned it into one of the most successful businesses of its type in Boston. With having to run such a large operation, Bobby has become unwavering in his dealings with people yet he has always been there for family and friends with a job or more when they were in need. He has been very generous to all his family. I have watched him take himself from the boy who did not graduate high school to a man who owns a very successful business. I am proud of what he has accomplished professionally. He could be a model for young people.
Vinny is fifty-eight and has worked at my brother Bobby's business for many years. He is invaluable to Bobby in the business and to all of us in the family. As a young boy,Vinny raised rabbits, played the trumpet and was the best overall athlete of all the brothers. Vinny married at a young age and like many of us, even though it was not as successful, produced a beautiful daughter that he is very proud of and rightfully so. A few years ago Vinny married a women with three daughters and the two of them are very happy and very in love. Vinny taught me to treat people with Christian values; to accept people for what they are and find some good in them. He is a very peaceful, serene man, whose waters run deep. He would be the first to stand beside someone he loves, against anything.
Vinny and his wife, Susan.
Pete is sixty or sixty-one. I can never remember, although I do remember his birthdate is March 23rd.
Like many brothers, Pete and I loved each other growing up as we were throwing punches at each other.
As a kid, I remember Pete as a good athlete, who in the 70s bore a strong resemblance to George Harrison or maybe Serpico. He married his childhood sweetheart, a wonderful girl named Joyce.
They had three wonderful kids; twin boys and a lovely girl, Dayna. Much like our mother, we lost Joyce at way too early an age. It was a big loss for our family and an even bigger loss for Pete and the kids. They moved on with their lives, never forgetting Joyce but realizing that life moves on and that Joyce would be with them every second of every day. The kids are all very successful. Pete was doing ok but there was a hole in his life. He found a new love in a nurse named Susan. They married and she actually made him understand that their were places out there besides New Hampshire. They are very much in love and enjoy their lives together. Pete and Susan are currently in a tremendous fight, them against cancer. Pete was diagnosed with lung cancer recently and with Susan beside, behind and in front of him, they are waging the good, strong fight. They are armed with among other valuables, our prayers, our love, our compassion and our family's willingness to do whatever, whenever they need us. I know first hand that Pete is a fighter. (I think I still have bruises)
Pete and Susan
So there they are my Five Brothers. We have fought with and by each other through the years. We have not spoken to each other and kissed each other through the years. We are brothers and we best never forget that. We have always been there for each other and need to put any small (in the enormity of life) problems to the side when the call is made. We have to be the guardians at the gate for each of us. If not, we will all face a very unhappy mother someday: a mother who was always proud of her boys. We will need to insure she will be that way when we meet her yet again.
Our Family Then