Wednesday, June 28, 2017

His name was Pierino

None of us can explain why our brains work the way they do, so you’ll understand when I tell you that I have no idea why I woke up this morning thinking about a person who was very famous when I was growing up.

After breakfast, I did some research, and learned a number of interesting facts about him. He was the 7th of 10 children born to a poor immigrant family in the early years of the 20th Century, but the first of the family who was born in America. Since his family spoke their native tongue at home, he did not start speaking English until he started school.

Although his father was a poor mill hand, he believed in the value of music for his children, and all of his children took music lessons, even though he could barely afford them. Because his family did not have a lot of money, young Pierino started working when he was 10 at a local barber shop for the princely sum of 50 cents a week.

When he was 14, his father became unable to work due to a heart condition. By this time, Pierino had acquired enough skills as a barber that he was able to open his own barber shop, In a very short period of time, he was doing well enough that he had to hire 2 additional barbers.

When he was 17, he met his future wife at a picnic, and fell immediately in love. By the time of his death, at the age of 84, he and his wife had been married for 65 years. Due the delight of my Catholic relatives, he was “a good Catholic boy”, and he managed to get through his entire life without a hint of scandal. For their silver anniversary, Pierino and his wife traveled to Rome to visit Pope Pius XII. While there, he was named a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and his wife was named Lady Commander.

At the age of 20, his musical training as a child paid off, and he was offered a singing position in a band. However, since the $28 he would make in a week was less than $125 he made as a barber, his wife could not afford to travel with him, However, his father encouraged him to pursue a singing career, which turned out to be very good advice, since his career spanned for close to 60 years. In addition to live performances, he also performed on the radio, on television, and in movies. He finally retired at the age of 82, after acquiring numerous awards, including three stars on the Holllywood Walk of Fame.

I won’t tell you his name, but if you click on the link shown below, you’ll be able to listen to his best known song. I guarantee you that it will stay in your head for the rest of the day - but I can’t explain why.

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