I grew up in the steel-mill town of Mingo Junction, Ohio. My parents are Italian Immigrants and my Dad worked in the mill. I learned about music through listening to a.m. radio and the times we went to the Country Music Jamboree in Wheeling, W.Va., which is twenty miles down The Ohio River. The first concert I saw was Kitty Wells. My parents grew large vegetable gardens and an orchard, and made their own wine. As a kid, it was a place for idle summers and sandlot baseball, but as I grew older, it became a place to leave.
In our house where I grew up in Ohio we had two kitchens. My mom kept an upstairs kitchen that was reserved for holidays and special occasions. At Christmas time she used the extra oven to bake massive amounts of Italian cookies and panetonne (Italian sweet cake). In the basement we had our everyday kitchen that was open to the garage and had a 1956 Mercury parked a few feet from the dinner table. It sat there with it’s two conical bumper extensions aimed at my head. During dinner we could hear it creaking and moaning while the engine cooled off. This was our 1950’s version of the “great room.”