Riverpedia archive - 08/29/2021
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My paternal grandfather.
Came from Fossacesia, Italy. The Cuomos had long been tailors. 'Tony' broke with tradition to become a shoemaker,.
He emigrated to the US when he was 16. Possibly illegally. Definitely didn't come through Ellis Island, but rather Toronto to Buffalo, then Rochester, NY.
He served in the US army during world war II even though he was not a citizen. He was honorably discharged for some problem with his breathing. He was granted citizenship after his time in the army.
When I was a toddler, I call him "doot-doo" after the sound of his hammer, working on the shoes. And we all called him that thereafter.
His shop was in the front room of the their house, on Moran Street, Rochester New York.
In the mid 1970's, after my parents split up, he was assaulted in his shop. He eye was carved out and his throat was slit. Luckily my uncle Michael found him and his life was saved. He had a glass eye from then on.
His didn't speak much English (Italian being his native language) but he smiled a lot and radiated warmth.
( Last edited by TragicGurl at 2021-08-29T05:46:16Z)
My mom. Born May 8, 1947. Lived in Charlotte, North Carolina until she was 8, then Atlanta, Georgia. She spent a lot of time in very rural Alabama on her grandparents' farm. Her mom had grown up on a cotton farm, and her dad was first a chemist at an ice cream company, and then a minister. His natural inclination to a spiritual path made a deep impression on her.
In high school, she won the International Science Fair (in Girl's Biochemistry) in 1965 for a project on kudzu. 6th place in Georgia for a play she wrote. 3rd place at the Emory Barclay Forum for Southeastern US for a dramatic reading. (She was assigned Hawaii.)
Then she went to New College in Florida but dropped out after two years, along with 40% of her class. The 60's hit her hard, and it took her a while to find her own way through all the cultural upheaval.
She followed a band up north. After a few months as a hippy in the East Village of NYC, she ended up at the Rochester Zen Center. Her father died suddenly of a heart attack a few days later, she married Frank a few months later, and I was born the following year. My mother says that my birth and the birth of my brother a year later, changed her life completely forever. She eventually divorced Frank and was married to Steve Kitts from 1976 to 1989. Now she's married to my current step-dad, Norman Richey.
( Last edited by TragicGurl at 2021-08-29T04:25:39Z)
My dad. My parents divorced when I was about 4.
He was a jazz percussionist in NYC in the late 60s; and was the percussionist for Odyssey of Iska, a 1970 Blue Note Record released by saxophonist Wayne Shorter. He's also been onstage with me at two Weezer concerts - playing drums on "Back to the Shack" at the 2015 Burgerama Festival in Santa Ana, CA; and on "Beverly Hills" at the 2016 at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA.
Like his father, my father was violently assaulted in his 70's. In 2018, while I was in Denver on the Pixies tour. While coming home from work in the train station in downtown LA he was punched. Broken jaw. Hasn't been able to eat solid food since. Dramatic weight loss and cognitive decline.
( Last edited by TragicGurl at 2021-08-29T05:42:34Z)
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