The Early Years….Rochester…Taiwan


My first memories are of my Grandparents house in Rochester, New York.  Their home was always full of warmth and love. My grandmother was a wife, mother, and homemaker first and foremost. I can remember her telling me that your husband was the center of your life and that everything else just spiraled out from that.

My Grandparents (on the Ciufo or paternal side) had six kids. My dad was the oldest and he was named after my grandfather. Then came my Aunt Kathy who was and is one of the biggest practical joker’s on the face of the Earth. Then Came my Uncle Jerry. He was born healthy but, when he was just an infant he developed an extremely high fever. By the time the doctor’s would listen to my grandmother that something was seriously wrong, his fever had caused brain damage. So he forever has the mind of a seven years old. Then came my Uncle Jim (who is also my godfather). And next was my Uncle Tom (who I had the biggest crush on growing up). And last but not least there was my Aunt Chris who is only nine years older than me.

I was the first grandchild for both sides of the family.

When I was around two years old, my dad was stationed in Taipei, Taiwan and so we moved there. My dad worked as an X-Ray tech. Even at that age I was precocious and went my own way. One time I wandered off and ended up on a dead end road. All that was at the end of that road were sugar cane fields. I just walked up to the door and knocked on it. I didn’t know the guy who answered the door but thank God he knew who I was. Well, he just packed me up in his van and drove me straight to the Naval Hospital where I was reunited and unharmed with my frantic parents.

From what I remember at that age, I really liked living in Taiwan. It’s amazing how children who don’t speak the same language can still understand one another.

My parents were good friends with a couple named the Marze’s. I went to preschool with their daughter Shannon. After we moved back to the states I didn’t see Shannon again until I was around 15 or 16. We are still friends today.

Public ParkTaiwan was very beautiful and the people there are very courteous. My parents had this friend named Kevin who was an artist. Kevin gave me my first motorcycle ride on the handle bars of his motorcycle when I was around three.

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