Richard and his twin Robert were born to parents Olivia Rosalie and Anthony Albert Lorenzo February 18, 1945, in Presbyterian Hospital in Newark NJ. (Birth certificates attachments) They had an older sister Joan Elizabeth.
Robert left for heaven after just 6 days. Among his heavenly duties are being Richard’s Guardian Angel. (Hospital pix)
During his first 3 years Richard struggled with several illnesses.
At age 2 Richard played on a tall snow mound during the Great 1947 blizzard. (picture of Richard on snow)
At age 3 ½, Richard and his sister Joan welcomed their new brother Jack, whom his parents named after neighbor Jackie Roehm, who later became a ground breaking heart surgeon (mention invention)
At age 4, Richard playfully stepped into a boiling hot pail of water while his mother was washing the floor. Olivia rescued him soothing, his painful burns.
Richard saw TV for the first time at age 5, watching programs featuring Arthur Godfrey, Rootie Kazootie, and Captain Video and his Video Rangers. He also heard “Too Fat Polka”, “If I’d Known You Were Coming I´d a Baked a Cake”, “Tell me a Story”, and “Two Front Teeth” on the radio, and his mother singing “Open the Door Richard” to him.
Richard remembers his sister Joan taking him to the movies often the first of which were The Caddy, House of Wax (which frightened him) and Three Coins in The Fountain.
Richard’s music interest was fueled playing Little Golden Records his mom bought at Grant´s, Woolworth´s & McCrory’s like “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” “Old MacDonald,” and “The Caissons Go Rolling Along.” It was also fueled by playing his older sister´s Rock ‘n’ Roll 45´s. He often followed her around her when she was playing them with her friends until she told mom to “take him away”. (pix of record)
Richard’s interest in listening to the radio grew precipitously around age 9, when he found 1010 WINS and has been listening (in spite of format changes) for decades. Good fortune occurred when Richard worked with or got to know several original voices he listened to as a child – Murray Kaufman, Stan Z Burns, Johnny Holliday, Bruce Morrow, Bob Garrity AND especially his idol and mentor Jack Lacy.
The Lacys spent time with Richard and his wife Margaret. Among Richard’s greatest radio memories were when Jack had free rein to say or play anything on the Relic Rack. Equally thrilling was involving Jack on WCBS FM’s RocknRoll Radio Greats Weekend. The ultimate thrill came unfortunately after Jack´s death when Agnes “gave” Richard Jack Lacy themes and personal radio tapes as she said “he knew you loved and admired his work and you helped keep him sane when he faced the winter of his career.” (AC of show)
Richard´s fondness for radio grew exponentially when he received a Silvertone portable radio for his confirmation in the 6th grade. After installing D batteries, he tuned to 1010 WINS and immediately heard Buddy Knox´s “Rock Your Little Baby to Sleep.” He quickly became passionate about Top 40 radio and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Dial twisting found: WINS, WMCA, WMGM, WNJR, WOV, WCBS and WRCA. (pix of Silva tone radio)
His record collecting began when his sister Joan bought “Party Doll” by Buddy Knox for herself and soon gave it to him. Decades later Richard shared story with Buddy Knox. (pix orig 45)
Richard often played games with his brother Jack like “Baseball initials” with mostly made up names like “toothbrush Larsen”. They even made up names for themselves. Jack was “Lou”, and Richard was “Jim.”
Richard loved listening to Les Keiter doing Giants baseball recreations during “Listen To Lacy” on WINS. A few games were on channel 13.
At age 7 Dad took Richard to two baseball games. They saw Ted Williams lead the Boston Red Sox and later Al Rosen lead the Cleveland Indians. Mom laughed when Richard told her dad made him limbo under the turnstile to save a token. For his birthday that year Richard got a pen knife which he carried everywhere including Cub Scout Den Meetings where mom was leader of Den 7 in Pack 48. Richard was momentarily confounded when his troop presented the play “Charley’s Aunt” and he was picked to play a female role. Yikes!
During 2nd grade his sister Joan was homebound with rheumatic fever. In an attempt to cheer her up little brother Richard bought her trinkets from Rausch´s candy store after school. Mom asked where he got the money. He ingeniously “lied” telling mom he meets a man who gives him money. Alarms rang and his dad asked his Uncle Dom to shadow him to school. Turns out, there was no “man” and Richard confessed that he took change from his mom´s purse.
Richard remembers a “duke it out” baseball game, his 1st ever at age 9 in the old 7 avenue vacant lot. He warmly harkens back to his friend Joey helping him hold a bat properly after kids laughed at his awkwardness at the plate.
Richard disliked his 5th grade teacher at St Rose´s Sister Virginia Margaret who belittled him. So much so that his parents transferred him to St John´s in Orange after he bought home a critical note from her saying Richard was doing 3rd grade work. Although he was apprehensive about changing school he adjusted successfully at new school. FYI, He never told his parents he skipped the bus and hitch hiked to school to save carfare to buy treats and records.
At age 13, when searching for chestnuts in October with friends on Peck Ave. see pictures(?)
Climbing over School Stadium high wall to see a HS football for free the same year.
A Voice of Music tape machine was a gift for Richard’s 16th birthday– Their singing/taping annoyingly with joey/Larry –“Queen of bobpbobp bop Hop” was tough on his parents. Years later, Richard learned that his father most of his paycheck for Voice of Music Reel machine. An immense sacrifice on his part. “THANKS DAD!” he says.
The orange/black painting of football helmets in the backyard with Joey, Larry & Bobby while listening to Braves v Yankees World Series game was messy and wild. see picture
A few years later Richard took his earnings from selling The Newark Evening news on the center aisle on Park Ave to purchase his first album treasure called ABC Paramount’s “A Million or More,” an oldies collection for just $2.99 at General Records on Orange Street in Newark.
There were many memories of 2nd Street in Newark and climbing the stairs to be with “grandma” Kefalas on the 3rd floor. She made the best Greek kora bides cookies ever. Richard’s sister Joan replicated “Grandma´s” recipe for decades (pix of 2nd st). She fondly called Richard “master calistedes” and other cute names.
Richard retains warm thoughts about his neighborhood friends on 9th St. There were sleepovers at Richie Foley´s that ostensibly were to watch Zacherle on TV 7 host old horror films. However, Richard often nodded out before the end of the 1st act. Fun times at the Foley house were better during the day spending time in the basement playing 45´s like Bird Dog, Poor Little Fool, etc. or debating new car models like the Chevy Impala.