I was born in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in Brooklyn and that was a tremendous learning experience. Children who grow up in a city get two educations, one in school and one on the street. Street knowledge is very valuable, especially if you are going to live in New York.
My father met my mother on Bond Street in Red Hook (now Carroll Gardens), where she lived. My father lived on Clinton Street. My aunts (my father's two sisters) still live in the brownstone on Clinton Street that my grandfather bought when he arrived in this country from Italy, in the 1920's. I explored the Ellis Island website and found my grandfather's signature on the ship roster, a picture of the ship he arrived on and the name of his sponsor in America. I was baptized in Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen Parish, in Brooklyn, not far from where my parents met. We then moved to Lunar Park, Coney Island for the first two years of my life and then my aunt and uncle (with their two daughters) bought a two-family house in Old Mill Basin, Bklyn and they lived on one floor and my family lived on the other. That house on 52nd Street was always filled with family, friends, neighbors, good Italian food and stories, lots of interesting stories. My brother Arthur, my only sibling, was a little genius. Three years younger than me, my little brother, he was my playmate and friend. We were always very close. Arthur was very smart, always reading, he would become a forensic psychiatrist one day, with a private practice. When Arthur died, at the young age of 42, on the exact day as Princess Diana, I would take his death very hard. I lost my brother, my friend and my confidant, all on the same day. That is one of the reasons I have such a strong, deep faith. My faith is strong because I've gone through some very difficult times in my life, I've had to suffer loss and though it was difficult, my prayers (or sometimes people had to pray for me and carry me through), made a difference. The prayers helped me. Prayer makes a difference, that's not something I've read in a book (well, actually I have read that in many books) but more importantly it's something I've experienced for myself. I know how much prayer has helped me and others and it's something you have to experience to know it's real. I have a sign on my desk, which states, "Prayer Changes Things" and it does. That's the truth.