Throughout this book of memoirs, Ralph Fuccillo plays back the oh-so-many wonders of what it was to be a kid.
Yesterday, today, tomorrow, a lifetime.
Here's a selection of just a few of the wild and wilder chapters found in the book.
Ralph and his best friend John "Red" Regan fly to Hollywood, accost Joey Bishop, pray with Croatians, narrowly escape the Watts riots, buy the Yankees' President a hot dog, narrowly escape death at Disneyland, and get adopted by Professor Irwin Corey. And then the real fun begins!
An Italian Thanksgiving. It's all about the food. And family. But also the food. Ralph dresses like an Indian and blows $2.54 at E.J. Korvettes.
A lifelong fan of the New York Yankees, Ralph recalls every swing and stolen base, every shortstop and pitcher, every autograph and conversation with the Bronx Bombers he's had in the last six decades. Pepitone! DiMaggio! Even Tony Morante!
Ralph tenderly, and at times humorously, remembers loved ones who are gone but never forgotten.
Ralph buys a cheap suit and flies to Tokyo for his son's wedding. He's so hungry he eats a horse. And squid pizza. A beautiful wedding! Japanese spirits! Akira picks up the tab!
Of the many loves of Ralph's life, including family, food and the Yankees, travelling is near the top. He's been everywhere -- and rarely without incident. Follow along as he invades Sardinia, Budapest, Omaha, Istanbul, Tokyo, Tel-Aviv, Bosnia, Croatia, London, and on and on.
Remember being a kid?
Remember all the friends you had or wished you had? Remember marbles, making forts, baseball cards (when flipping them was a game and not an investment)? Remember hating girls, then all the times you couldn't keep them off your mind? Remember stories, naps, ice cream cones (Mister Softee), root beer floats, soda? Remember snooping around, spying on your brothers or sisters? Remember first loves, first colognes and perfumes, first love notes and first kisses? Remember your first baseball game, seeing your favorite major league team, getting autographs? Remember your first bank account, selling lemonade, talking someone into giving you something you liked that belonged to them?Remember daydreaming, cheating in grade school, playing Little League Baseball? Remember the first death of a member of your family and the first visit to a Funeral Home? Remember graduating from grade school and all the pomp and circumstance? Remember fun holidays and family times--Christmas break, bags and bags of Halloween Candy, summers off from school, going to the beach with friends? Remember school dances, your first drink at a very early age? Remember lying for the first time (not just fibbing), and really knowing right from wrong? Remember a conscience?
At almost 70 years young, I realize I have held on to being a kid my whole life--and what's wrong with that? Being a kid was not always easy, but continues to fill my life and world with fun, new adventures and keeps me younger, active and crazy as ever. Throughout the many years my experiences and relationships have been many and my hopes and dreams are still very much alive!
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Ralph Fuccillo started life as a kid in the Zerega Avenue neighborhood between Castle Hill and Westchester Square in the Bronx, New York.
He finished grade school at Santa Maria in 1962; graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in '66; attended various colleges in the City University of New York system; and earned a BA in Journalism from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska in 1972. He has worked in the newspaper advertising business for 42 years in Colorado, Washington and Oregon.
His colorful reminiscences of the local characters, both friends and family, and wild encounters with the famous and infamous from the Bronx and beyond provide a rich, humorous and endearing portrait of a man who truly believes "Once a Kid, Always a Kid." Ralph lives in Troutdale, Oregon with his lovely wife Jan. His children and grandchildren carry his adventurous spirit across the globe, from Tokyo to Dallas-Fort Worth to Brooklyn to Portland, OR.