Toritto -A Life In Pictures – #11


Our Lincroft, New Jersey home

“And so they tell their family and friends; there is joy for them and good wishes. Those with screaming brats welcome the soon to be members of their perpetually exhausted club. Her parents look forward to another grandchild; her older sister and brother already have kids.

They invite his father to spend Christmas in their new home.  The news of the coming baby, announced over Christmas dinner, makes it his happiest holiday in decades.

Their world grows darker at 2 o’clock on a January, 1973  morning, when their phone rings. Poppa is dead, says his brother, Nick. His father is gone, at 56 years old.”

From “Sons”

A son is born, Daniel Jason,  on her 28th birthday, June 3rd.  He has a perforated colon, quickly lapses into sepsis and dies 9 days later.  I never took his picture.  I was going to but was afraid the flash would wake him.  Tomorrow I thought.  There will be plenty of time for pictures.

Our dream gone, she needs to be closer to her family and friends. We leave the dream house for Staten Island and try to begin anew.

We build a new home in Richmond town, one of the tonier areas of the island.

She had left her job to be a stay at home mom, at least for awhile.  Slowly in the company of her mom, sister and friends she began to smile again.   Getting back to “normal” was what we both wanted though we knew something had changed irrevocably.

And then she said it casually over coffee.

“Honey, can we have another baby?”  Gulp.

“Sweetie, I don’t know. I mean, it took us ten years to have the first one! Christ knows how old we will be before a second!”

“Well”, she continued, “the doctor said it was extremely unfortunate about Danny but there seems to be no reason we can’t try again. I would like to try again.”  Smile.

“This time we are going to do it scientifically!” She had a thermometer and an ovulation chart. “You darling are going to feel so very used!”.

And less than 2 years later she gave us another son.  Michael.

Four days old at home.

On his baptism day in front of our home.

When he still seemed well; but then he stopped smiling, 

We didn’t yet know.


After his baptism I went to Rome and Venice on a business trip.

By New Years Eve 1975 we would know.  Michael was terminally ill.  He was given 2 years to live.  He died in my arms 2 months short of his 10th birthday.

He never walked, sat up or said a word.  The girl I loved when she was still in high school, took to the prom and for whom I wanted nothing but happiness, cared for him until the day he died.

The couple who had everything in 1973 was in devastation by 1976.







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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11 Responses to Toritto -A Life In Pictures – #11

  1. Lara/Trace says:

    Frank, I know 1973 is a long time ago but was there ever a class action among parents concerning those vaccines? I am so sorry about Daniel, so sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toritto says:

      Lara – no one ever admitted his problem was a vaccine. The modern vaccine however is significantly changed from the type used back then. There was a diagnosis of Globoid Leukodystrophy, a rare genetic disorder but it was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The testing at the time was inconclusive. Children born with the disorder appear perfectly normal at birth but simply fail to develop. Its a long time ago. Today I am a contented man who wants for nothing. Regards from Florida.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. beetleypete says:

    Those hospital cards have such poignancy. It hurts to read them, knowing what happened later. At times, I wonder how you stand it, how you came out the other side. I can’t even imagine…
    This is a life in pictures indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    Oh my goodness, Frank. You are courageous to write this. Your readers (me) are filled to the brim. My heart goes out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s miraculous how much a heart can endure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cindy knoke says:

    I am so very sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Christy B says:

    By sharing your story here you are helping others ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  8. toritto says:

    Christy – thanks. Many pictures of Michael have never been seen even by my own children. After he passed my wife placed them in a separate album and put it away with some of his things. My oldest remembers him (she was 7 when he passed) but I doubt my youngest does. This is as much for them. Regards from Florida.


  9. GP Cox says:

    So sad. I’m sorry for yours and the world’s loss.

    Liked by 1 person

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