Tag Archives: nonfiction

Inheritance

Hello all! My new book is out and is called Inheritance. It’s a memoir of time I spent interviewing my grandfather about his life. I learned so much and highly recommend that everyone take the time to sit down and talk to their elders, before it’s too late. Read the description below.

It was published by the awesome guys over at WragsInk. I cannot thank them enough.

Here’s an excerpt:

My grandparents were always fun to be around. Even when I was little, they used to fight all the time.
    “Let me try some of that cake.”
    “You’ve had enough of the cake!”
    “I want some more!”
    “Fine. Someone pass him the cake.”
    This all transpired in loud voices, sometimes switching over to Italian that I can only assume was to disguise the cursing from our young ears. But the thing was, I always knew they loved each other. The bickering, the fighting, the complaining, it was all out of love. Not once as a child did I ever think it meant anything else. Only someone there could fully understand how we all knew. Maybe it was just something we inherited from our parents because they knew. Or, possibly, it was just something we felt in our guts.
    It’s funny, but every time I watch Seinfeld and the Costanzas, George’s parents, start fighting, I can’t help but think of my grandparents.
    They lived. Even as they became senior citizens, they were always out and enjoying life. They were in clubs, they went to dances, they attended weekly concerts on the boardwalk whenever there was one. They were always out visiting friends, going to dinners, enjoying themselves. I always looked up to them for that, and hoped that when I reached their age, I would be the same way.

I’ve also gotten an official Facebook page here. Please stop by and like it.

Here’s a description of the book as well:

On the day author Dennis Finocchiaro sat and started interviewing his grandfather for a graduate school project, he never knew how far into the past he would travel or the range of emotions he would feel. This is the story of Rosario “Charlie” Finocchiaro through the eyes of his grandson Dennis, throughout his childhood in 1920s Philadelphia to war in Italy all the way up to his retirement in Havertown; Inheritance introduces the reader to the life of an everyday man, a soldier, contractor and patriarch. Experience childhood in 1920s Philly, wartime Italy during World War II, the Jersey Shore throughout many decades, and contemporary suburban Philadelphia in a memoir that jumps through the last one hundred years and introduces the journey of a grandson getting to know his grandfather thanks to an assignment. Humor, romance and even a few bootleggers make this nonfiction account of one man’s life both heartwarming and informative. Travel through time with a grandson as he learns his family’s history, heritage, and ultimately, his greatest inheritance.

The End of Harry Potter

And so we waited.

The line wrapped almost totally around the fourteen-theater building, filled with wizards of the various houses, and even a few Dobby costumes as we anxiously waited to get in. The crowd was so insane, so large, that this small New Jersey town had police both riding bikes and walking around the crowds. One was even working for the theater.

“Theater twelve is opened now. Theater twelve,” the officer, in his blue uniform and shiny badge, was saying as he passed. We frantically looked at our tickers. Damn, we were theater nine.

And so as the officer passed the line, small groups of lucky twelves bolted from the line and ran, full speed, around the corner to the front doors. Some were smart, since we were so far behind the line, to run in the direction that was against the crowd, knowing that at the end of the line they were actually closer to the front doors if they took the other direction.

A guy walked by in a Scooby Doo costume,with a friend dressed as Mario. Me, my girlfriend and my sister were confused.

“Um,” my girlfriend said.

“Who knows.”

A young girl was annoying the shit out of us. Seriously, I’ve never wanted to smack someone more than at this moment.

“My life is going to end tonight. For real. It really is. I will want to die when this is all over. DIE. I’ve lived Harry Potter for my whole life, and tonight I will die.”

Someone in front of her was holding up a DVD player and showing part one, and I could not hear it over her shrill, constant voicing of how she would die tonight. So much for the entertainment of watching the DVD.

So time passes, this girl keeps talking about death, and they finally yell out nine, so we haul ass to the front. At the main doors, there is a clusterfuck of people trying to shove their way in; there is no method to this theater’s Harry Plan at all. Cops and ushers are trying to regain order, but to no avail. We’re shoved in between about a hundred people trying to get in while others whose theater has not been called have formed a wall, keeping us legitimate patrons out.

That’s when I realized that our fourth friend, who was stuck in traffic, would not be able to get her ticket from us.

“I have to wait out here for her” I yelled above the noise. “You guys get us seats!” I pushed my way to the back of this cluster as they continued to push forward. Then  waited for my phone to ring. She finally called about ten minutes later and I found her.

“They called our theater. We just have to push through this,” I said, pointing to the wall of people. Her eyes widened.

That’s when I noticed a girl with pink hair who seemed to know the trick. She stood out from the crowd and I could see her making her way through rather easily, and I said to my friend, “We need to follow her!”

I pushed my way through until I was behind her, and just as I caught up to the pink-haired girl, a path opened and she, her friend and the two of us poured through the crowd and easily made our way in.

The concession lines were small and we needed soda since the film was almost three hours and it was already midnight, so I called the others, who gave me drink orders and told us where they were sitting. A short while later and we were in the theater looking for them. My sister got up and waved, so we started to make our way. When I got to the row, I stopped. The annoying girl was sitting right next to us.

“Seriously?” I asked my girlfriend.

“She sat down after we did! It couldn’t be helped!”

And so I slumped into my seat and waited for the movie. It was a blast, the wait. I love the midnight show for two reasons. One, everyone is SO excited and acts nuts. Two, many dress up. It was intense.

“When I say Harry you say Potter!” a girl yelled.

“Harry!”

“POTTER!” the whole crowd yelled. It was cute.

During the actual film, which I loved, the obnoxious girl was crying the whole second half. Maybe crying isn’t the right word. Sobbing. Uncontrollably. To the point her mom said “Shut up!” to her. I wanted to clap.

After the film, everyone clapped, cheered and cried a bit. It was over. A big part of our lives had just ended, and there was nothing we could do but get in our cars, go home and dream of Harry, Hermoine and Ron. And Neville…let’s not forget Neville, who finally got to be the hero he deserved to be.

When a Tree Falls in My Yard My Heart Makes a Sound

As I look out my kitchen window, a vast emptiness consumes the view. The tree is gone.

I love my small property in suburban Philadelphia more than I can explain. Sure, I can’t stand the neighbors, the cramped street, the parking, but my house is another story entirely. I have (or should say had) four trees which shaded my house beautifully in the summer, keeping the heat at bay and my electric bills down.

And then there were three.

Storms claimed my lovely tree, an elm that has slowly deteriorated over the years. My neighbors were afraid it would fall on their homes, and during the last ice storm even I became concerned when the branches that fell at 5AM were so big that the sound rattled my whole house. So I gave in and the tree had to go.

I promised Mother Nature, myself, my close friends, my girlfriend and family, everyone really, that I would plant another. Nobody seems too concerned about it, but this tree, every tree means the world to me. So for now, as the ground is still frozen, I wait until the moment when I can finally plant another. And for now, when I look out any window facing the alley, I can feel that emptiness of the view, the lack of something, and even though I can see the beautiful blue sky that is out there today, I miss the branches, the leaves, the drooping arms of what was once a beautiful elm.

Sigh.

Peace and Love

“Peace and love!” I said loudly to my class when the clock struck noon. What can I say, I’m a huge Ringo fan!

“What are you doing?” someone asked.

“Ringo asked all of his fans to say that at noon, so I did. It’s his birthday.”

“You like Ringo Starr?” someone else asked.

“Of course! I have a bunch of his records.”

“Records? Like real records?”

“Yup. Plus I saw him last weekend in Atlantic City.”

Nobody responded. Finally, after a moment of silence longer than the one in before the pledge of allegiance, someone said, “Wow…I’m jealous.” Many people nodded.

I was surprised. I expected to be teased. Nope.

“Did he sing Beatles songs?”

“Yup.”

“No No Song?”

“Sadly, no. That was the one I wanted to hear the most.”

I had no idea so many people were fans!

“What was he like?”

“Well, he was quite lively, dancing around, really having fun up there, considering he’s seventy.”

“He’s seventy?!?” a few asked.

“Yup. Today is his 70th.”

A bunch of people start typing on their computers.

“Trust me guys, I’m right. I would know.”

Turns out they were Googling No No Song. Nice.

Happy Birthday, Ringo.

Turn Right, Ahead

“The GPS says to turn here!”

Sure enough, as I scoured the tree-lined side of the road for the turn this robot voice was now telling us about, I could not imagine why we would turn into the woods.

Suddenly as if out of nowhere, a small, wooden bridge appeared in the brush. It looked sturdy enough, but before I could reply either way she turned the wheel and we were on it.

“Um…this isn’t even a road!” Ahead lay nothing but dirt.

“The GPS says it is!”

“I know…but once on Office it told Michael to turn and he read it wrong and ended up driving into a lake.”

She looked at me.

“And I can’t swim.”

I looked up and noticed a rickety sign that said “Road Closed” and under that saw something about the word lake and freaked.

“It said lake, it said lake!”

“Relax!” she said laughing. To be honest, I was laughing too. How could a GPS even know this dirt road existed, let alone that it was closed? We were laughing too hard to even watch where we were going.

“Turn around!” I yelled between laughs.

“Where?” All of a sudden we were driving past a brand new house with a small clearing across from it.

“Really, here?” I asked. Why would anyone choose this spot to build a house?

She laughed more as she turned into the clearing to make a three-point turn. I had my camera out.

“I hope someone comes out!”

“Don’t you dare take a picture of people if they come out! Nobody even knows we’re here!”

“Come on. A house that nice, they’ll probably offer us fresh squeezed lemonade.”

“Do you see any lemon trees around here?”

She had a point, but still.

We laughed hysterically until we came back to the bridge, and all of a sudden the GPS righted itself and the robotic voice said, “Turn right, ahead.”

Christmas Memories (My First Nonfiction Post)

It’s Christmas, 1982, ’83, ’84, ’85, pick a year, any year.

Santa came and went, church is finally taken care of, the celebration with my mom’s side of the family is over, and we are now at my Pop-pop’s house, anxiously awaiting presents from Aunt Mary and Uncle Mike, two notorious over-spenders when it comes to us and holidays.

“Looks like Santa left something here for Dennis,” my Pop-pop would say.  “I wonder why he would leave it here.”   The first year, and possibly the second, it was pretty new and exciting.  After that, it became as predictable as the end of Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which was another part of our annual Christmas tradition.  But the first year, it was exciting to hear.  I could not help but think of how envious my sisters must have been.  I mean, come on, Santa had given me an extra present.

Pop-pop handed over the gift, and I looked at my parents with excitement.  I tore it open and lifted the lid to find…potatoes.

“Uh oh.  Looks like someone was bad this year!  Santa brought you potatoes!” my grandfather said.

That first year I was confused as hell.  Why would Santa bring me all those presents at home only to leave me something odd like potatoes at my grandparents’ house?  And if I knew anything about Christmas from all the movies and television specials, it was that bad kids got coal, not potatoes!  That was when I realized Pop-pop was laughing, and it was contagious.  Everyone started laughing.  And then I got it.  I was the victim of one of my Pop-pop’s pranks.  And I loved it.

So it became a part of Christmas.  Every year, I got potatoes.  And for some reason, even though we all expected it, every year we all laughed and laughed.  But the thing was, I did not even get to keep the potatoes.  He would say that they were his lunch for tomorrow.