Sunday, May 1, 2016

Waxing Nostalgic

My step-mother. She’s religious. Over-the-top religious. Yet, despite her Christianity, she was the one who wouldn’t allow my father to have me over on a rainy evening. What’s that all about? She can talk up a religious storm, but when it comes to actually putting some Christ-like behavior in place, she turns away. She has been consistent through the years. I’ll give her credit for that. She doesn’t have an authentic Christian bone in her body.

Wow! That sounds bitter. It is and I guess I am. To my thinking, if you’re going to call yourself a Christian, at least put up an act.

Perhaps I am a little pissed off at my father. Maybe “pissed off” isn’t the right term. I have no respect for him. When I was a kid, I looked up to him. After he remarried things went down hill. His wife rules the roost and he does whatever she tells him.

I was married for twenty years. Some good. Some not so good. But, at least we had dialogue. We never argued. We discussed things and we each had our voice. It worked for the most part. At least for twenty … okay … maybe eighteen years, give or take.

I didn’t have any plans to write about marriage. I was going to write about last night, but nothing

much happened, save a lizard doing a dance. Alas, my entertainment. Cé la vie.

I hear a lot of guys complaining about their wives and vice versa. I wonder why they got married in the first place. Maybe it’s a guy thing or a human thing. I’m not sure, but it seems there’s an awful lot of animosity out there.

I had known the woman who would become my wife for a few years. Our first date was to New York City. Seriously.  We lived in Fort Lauderdale. I was a photographer and she was a model at the time. I called and asked if she’d like to go to the modeling agencies in the City. She said, “Sure,” and off we went. It was a good trip and she had a chance to meet my friends in Connecticut. We had a good time and the trip pretty much sealed our relationship.

Waxing nostalgic about marriage has me thinking about my life in general. People typically have all sorts of dreams as they grow up. I’m no different. When I was in my early teens, I wanted to be an airline pilot. I even took flying lessons for several years. Then, I was hooked by a Kodak Brownie
Camera. I wanted to be a photographer. I set up a darkroom in what once was the wine cellar in our basement. It worked great. Not a window in sight and the room was black as night. My photography obsession lead to art school and that, in time, lead to graphic design. I attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale when it was just starting up. Art school was a great, albeit strange, experience. The school was in the back of a Holiday Inn on Fort Lauderdale beach. I never quite understood the logic of putting a herd of horny art students in a Holiday Inn on the beach. But, alas, there I was.

When I got out of school I couldn’t find a job with a photography studio. So, I started freelancing. As luck would have it, I hustled and landed a cosmetics company as a client. I shot for them a lot. Ads, annual reports and the like. To be honest, it was more than a rush to see my work on the pages of Vogue, Cosmo, on billboards and on in-store displays. My wife worked for them, a bit, as a model. After all, we tried to keep it all in the family. As a matter of fact, it was her image on a store display that re-connected her with her estranged father.

Then I started Tortorella Design in 1986 or so. It was a graphic design firm doing all sorts of print and identity work. Our big client was Goodyear. You may have heard about them and their tires. I also did work for Volvo, Bridal Fair Magazine, Continental Tire, Mensa and some others. It was a lot of fun and lucrative.

But, as with most things in life, it went away in time. Now, here I am, homeless. It’s weird. You strive for your hopes and dreams. You reach some goals. Then, the hand of Fate whacks you across the face. Regrets? Yeah, I have a few. Boy, that brings a song to mind. My regrets are not planning better, not investing better and not asking more questions of the people who know a lot more than me.


  1. I don`t understand how you get homeless.
    Can you explain it better?

  2. Hi Sergio,
    I moved from Ohio to Florida and was living at my mother’s place. She has a rental apt in a retirement community. When the complex staff found out I was living there temporally, thanks to my sister, they wanted 2 grand per month above what my mother pays. When I couldn’t come up with that, they kicked me out. They had the police escort me out. I don’t know anybody else in Florida so I ended up living on the street. Does that answer things for you?