My dad as a young boy (left) with his younger brother and my namesake, Uncle Richard (right), in the yard of their house on Brighton Avenue, Long Branch, N.J., circa 1949.
This is a screenshot of an old home movie made by my grandfather. Richard died in March 1963 at age 19 -- 6-1/2 years before I was born -- from surgery complications to address is worsening cerebral palsy.
My grandma, father, and uncle in their house on Brighton Avenue, Long Branch, N.J., early 1950s
Just because it's still so hilarious 45 years after the fact, this entry features some memorable fight dialogue tidbits between my paternal grandparents in the house at 368 Kirby Avenue, Long Branch, N.J., in which they and my dad and I lived in the 1970s (a house that has been renovated and transformed beyond recognition -- last two pics in this entry).
The pictures in this entry are mostly old, scanned family photos that I have previously posted over the years.
My dad, grandparents, and uncle, circa Christmas 1957
By this point, they were living in the house on Cleveland Avenue in Long Branch, N.J. My dad was about 16 and Richard was 14.
Keep in my mind my dad used to tape record these fights on those small cassette disks and make copies and send them to people including, once, my mom (his ex-wife). Alas, none of them survive. But I listened to them enough with my dad as a young child to remember the dialogue.
My dad in his wild days and my paternal grandparents and myself (at age 2), on July 2, 1972 in Long Branch, N.J.
The date on the back of the actual photograph lists it as July 2, 1972.
As for why they didn't get along at all, see this entry.
Most of these fights occurred between 1976 and 1979 -- and for those on the weekend, I was probably away visiting my maternal grandmother in South Amboy, N.J., or, in the summers of 1977 and 1979, visiting my mom and Ray in Belgium.
My grandma and myself on 4th birthday, 368 Kirby Avenue, Long Branch, N.J., November 26, 1973
Grandpa: "Like the othah day, ya sistah, Babe, invited us ovah and you said" [in a nasally, whiney, loud voice] "'Ooeehhhhh, THAT'S WON-DAH-FUL!!!'"
Grandma [in her gravelly Chesterfields smoker's voice]: "I SAID NO SUCH THING!! I SAID 'WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN??'!"
My grandparents, Lewis and Florence Todaro, in one of the later pictures I have of them together, circa 1985
Part 1 of 3 …
My dad and grandpa in the den measuring the length of the mantelpiece over the fireplace:
My dad chuckling: "Ehehehehe …"
Grandpa: "Why, you dirty sonofabitch, what are you on SOME KIND OF A GODDAMN LAUGHIN' SPREE!!!"
Yours truly next to one of the hydrangea bushes planted on either side of our house at 368 Kirby Avenue,
Long Branch, N.J., July 1974
Continued, part 2 of 3 …
Grandma in the "vestibule" that connected several rooms of the house: "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! GET IN THERE AND MEASURE THAT THING!!"
Grandma then poking down on the tiny triple point where met three pieces of linoleum flooring to include a giant one, a small one, and a teeny, tiny one, all due to the contractor family friend who had miscalculated the size: "Ya see that spot?? It'll never come away …"
Yours truly in the backyard sprinkler on a hot, droughty dry day, 368 Kirby Avenue, Long Branch, N.J.,
I vaguely remember this day -- and that bathing suit. I remember the weather was hot and dry.
Continued, part 3 of 3 …
Pressing down on that "pinch point" spot, she said, with the "she" referring to the wife of the contractor family friend: "Right there... That sonofabitch. She wouldn't want it in HER HOUSE like THAT, THAT ROTTEN BITCH. She oughta drop dead!"
Grandpa: "AAAAAAAIIIIHHHHHH, YOU MIS'ABLE BASTAHD, YOU!!!"
[Dad laughing hysterical. Tape clicks off.
My dad, me (at age 7), and our bullmastiff dog, Borky, circa 1977
My dad had injured his hand, as I recalled, in a karate contest. Oh, and God, I loved that dog.
Grandpa: I'M GONNA BEEEEEAAATTT THE SHIT OUT OF HER!!! I'M GONNA LEAVE HER. BUT BE'FAHW I leave her, I'm gonna BEEEEEAAATTT THE SHIT OUT OF HER!!"
Grandma [heavy smoker's voice]: "Yeah, eh, yeah, I'll call da cops on you!!"
Another home movie screenshot of my Uncle Richard on that long ago day circa 1949 in Long Branch, N.J.
Poor little guy had such trouble walking and talking -- much less taking care of himself -- and his condition only deteriorated as he got older. Grandma loved and cared for him dearly, but he never had a chance.
Grandma: "Well, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT THE HOUSE ON THE MARKET!!"
By that, she clearly meant that he could move out and she would just stay put, which was a bridge too far for him.
Grandpa: "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP, YOU STUPID SONOFABITCH!!"
Yours truly with my dad upon getting a new trainset in the Middlebrook Apartments, Ocean, N.J., circa 1974
I was living there with my mom while my dad had already moved out. It's possible this was in 1973 -- the year before my mom met Ray.
Grandma: "MOVE TO FLORIDA!! GO!! YOU BEEN MOVIN' TO FLORIDA FOR THIRTY YEARS!!"
Screenshot of a home movie of yours truly looking up at the sky, Vancourt Park, Long Branch, N.J., 1974
Grandpa: "RAAAHBERT!! BUY THAT HOUSE!!! I'LL LIVE WITH YA!! ANYTHING to GET RID of a SONOFA-STUPID-BITCH!!!"
Me [in a girl-like seven year old voice]: "GRANDPA, there's a BOY in catechism class who talks WAAAY LOUDER than I DO!!"
Screenshot / frame grab of a colorized home movie of my grandma and infant father, summer 1941,
Long Branch, N.J.
My grandfather was big on home movies all the way into the 1930s.
Grandpa [complaining about me one morning after an oatmeal-in-the-kitchen-versus-den incident]: "And you said, 'Dolly, do you wanna eat your oatmeal in he'eh OR in the'eh?' and he said, 'JUST BRING IT IN HEE'EH!!' The sonofabitch is AWDERIN' PEOPLE AROUND!!! YOU BETTAH NOT AWDAH ME AROUND!!"
368 Kirby Avenue, September 6, 2008
I was up in New Jersey with my dad on the occasion of his 50th high school reunion (see this entry from the early days of my blog).
This is the last picture I have of the house before it underwent the first of two renovations -- the second one of which left it a radically different house (see picture below). In the Sept 2008 picture, it looked pretty much exactly as it had when lived there in the 1970s -- to include the "T" window in the front door that represented our last name.
368 Kirby Avenue, Long Branch, N.J., 5:42 p.m.,
April 27, 2019
This was on another trip to New Jersey with my dad (see here) that may very well be the final one we will have taken together. I just don't see us going again together to New Jersey.
Interestingly, the yew bushes that were there in the 1970s were still there as of that picture in April 2019.