Family lore

According to NPR today is the "National Day of Listening" in which people are encouraged to record stories from relatives about their lives or the past.

Nonny's house where my brothers grew up (post-renovations)
I thought instead of my usual blog, I'd share a story heard about my late (half-)brother Dino. Dino was bigger than life when he was alive, so you know he's almost a mythical figure now. I heard a story that I've confirmed with my Dad is true - at least mostly. I should also say that I know almost nothing about cars, classic, sports or otherwise. So if I am wrong about the details of cars or stamps or the like, please know I'm not trying to mislead...

Here is "How Dino leveraged a paper route into a Ferrari" (as told by cousin Robbie and now retold in my own words):

Can you guess which one is Dino?
Once upon a time (ca. late 1960s) my then-teenage brother had a paper route. Not just a paper route - THE paper route. Through a lucrative area of then-prosperous Elmira, New York. Back in the day, paper boys (almost exclusively) sold one another the rights to their routes. So after a few years of hitting the pavement daily, he sold his lucrative mini-business to another kid.

With that money, before he had a driver's license, he bought his first beat-up car. He then fixed that car up, and sold it. With the proceeds he bought the first car he could drive.

A Morgan. Not your typical car for a high school student!!! Who drives a Morgan to High School? Dino!

But the story doesn't stop there. At some point, when he was a kid, he and my brother, Ron, were in Siena, Italy visiting Nonno and Nonna (their grandparents) and Nonno (Grandpa) thought that boys should have a hobby, and he started them collecting stamps. They visited a little stamp shop and each of them purchased some stamps (and this is where the story has multiple versions, see below) which they brought back to America.

According to Robbie, Dino picked rare Vatican stamps that were worth a fortune ($40,000). Ron's stamps? "Not so much"***

So Dino sold the Morgan, sold the stamps and bought a Ferrari. How many teenagers in Elmira, New York (or anywhere?) had a Ferrari in the late 1960s? One.

Dino went on to fix up and sell Ferraris for a living. I never thought of Dino as the family's greatest Capitalist.

Add it to his long list of wonderful attributes. Wonder what he'd be doing today?



(My father tells this slightly differently: he says that Ron's stamps were also valuable. According to my Dad, Ron also had Vatican stamps (I heard that they were birds or flowers). These were in a safety deposit box that was ruined in a flood in 1972. My mom spent a lot of time trying to get insurance payment for these stamps, and apparently she got some money but not their true value. At any rate, not enough to buy a sports car.)

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