Jan 23, 2020
My life was so crazy when I was a kid, and I had so many opportunities to learn things. I was very lucky living out in Long Island where I lived. I had the Italian side of my family that was also mixed with Irish, and the Irish-Italian that were in the brass business in Connecticut, and then on the other side, my father was from an old Swedish-German family, and they were involved in construction and steel and electricity and all that stuff. I had a lot of opportunities to see many different things.
Well what happened, when I was little, is that I grew up near a farm, and my uncle had a farm, so we always liked to farm. And then on that same side of the family, or my uncle’s farm, he was actually old German. But that was my aunts, my father’s sister’s husband that owned the farm. I was always interested. I always watched every little detail how the trucks worked. I ended up working even as a little kid hanging around at the farm stand, so everything became a business to me. It was how do you get the fertilizers? What kind of fertilizers do you use? What did they use before? I always had a question.
The same side of the family had a candy store and a little deli down the street, and I used to go to the deli and hang out there for hours. The reason I think they like me is that my mom was always harassing me about the nice clothes for Sunday and dressing up and it was awful. My shoes were tight and hard leather and I hated it, and so my grandmother would get me to the candy store and put candies around my neck that were like the sweets that would stain everything. It dripping down my clothes, all red and green and yellow, and you couldn’t even eat the things they were so terrible and they were.. Indian heads, they called them. She’d do this on purpose to stain my shirt. She would know, and I knew it too. So the more she put around me, the better. And then with all this candy around me, I’d go to the farm and my grandfather would set up the plow and the horse, because always asked about the plow and the horse. Let’s try it. Let’s see if I plow yet.
Here I am, four and a half years old. I got it rigged up to the plow, the two horses, then he’s telling me how to get the horses going and I go. Of course I can’t hold anything, and the furrows are too big for me to work over, and the plows, they get in, and I hold onto the rigging, and I don’t let go and I fall on my face and it drags me through the mud!