Toritto – A Life InPictures- #10

Our first home on Staten Island.  We purchased it before I was out of the service.

And so I spent the month of February 1966 with JoAnn, my wife of two plus years whom I had only lived with for perhaps 8months.  She had been living with her parents who had moved from Brooklyn to Staten Island when the Verrazano Bridge had opened.  Her sister and her husband and baby son lived next door.  She and I occupied a basement apartment in my in-law’s house.

In March I left again for Ft. Wolters, Texas, about a one hour plus bus ride outside of Dallas.  My plan had been to scout a place for us to live but it soon became apparent to me we were packing up to go somewhere – Vietnam.

I never went.  My mom died suddenly on April 1st.  My father was ill with emphysema and epilepsy and my younger brother Alfred had been drafted and was already in the war zone.  My father bitched to a local Congressman and I was reassigned to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn that August on “compassionate reassignment.”  I moved back into my in-laws house and my wife and I were finally together.  It had been two and a half years.  My unit went to Vietnam without me.

She had been wise enough to stay at home, work and save most of her salary and my allotment checks.  She wouldn’t feel like my wife until we had our own home.  We bought our first house before the year was out.  I was 24.

As an aside, this is a picture of our first house 50 years later.  We were two high school graduates making a combined $13 – 14,000 a year when I left the service.  This house cost us $24,500 or just less than twice our combined annual salaries.  Ten percent down and move in.  Today the value of this house within the city limits of New York is estimated by on-line realtor sites at an astonishing $725,000.  Quite a bit more than twice the combined annual income of two high school graduates.  THAT is what has happened to America.  It is where the dream has gone.  I feel sorry for the kids today.  It is no wonder so many are still living in their parents basements.

We bought a car; a 1968 Saab, three cylinder, two cycle, front wheel drive, 4 speed on the column with free wheeling capability.   Gas stations were astonished when they saw me put a quart of oil in with the gas with the snow tires mounted up front.  We couldn’t afford a Volkswagen!

We were 20 something DINKS – dual income, no kids.

We traveled – Vermont in Autumn and Winter.

Cruised to Bermuda

We partied.

The Olympia in Hamilton, Bermuda


JpAnn learned to drive and we bought a 2nd car (she never could drive a standard shift automobile) – a Peugeot 504, silver with a red interior.  She picked it out herself.

We furnished our home with fine furniture.  I still have the couches and the table.  It was re-upholstered while she still lived and is now blue.

Our bedroom in which we slept and loved all of our married lives.


And in 1972 we sold our Staten Island home and purchased a sprawling house in Lincroft, N. J.

Life was good from 1967 – 72.  We were the envy of all of our friends living in small apartments tending to the ever needy kids.  We had decent jobs, a lovely home, cars and time for each other.  We could spend rainy Sunday mornings sleeping in late and making love in the afternoon.

All that was to change on Holloween when she told me she was “late”.

On the day Richard Nixon was elected for a second term we found out we were having a child after almost nine years of marriage when nothing had ever happened.

See here:

It was to be the beginning of a decade of heart break.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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3 Responses to Toritto – A Life InPictures- #10

  1. beetleypete says:

    Seeing a story I already know, told this way in photos, is somehow much more poignant.
    If that is possible, given the outcome.
    You did have some great times to remember. At least there is that.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is such a great way to tell a story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. paolsoren says:

    The idea of young couples buying their dream home has totally burst here in Australia. There is a lot that runs parallel inthe US and Aust.

    Liked by 1 person

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