It had long been a dream of mine, as a boy growing up in Turin, Italy, to come to America to be a country singer and a pilot, Italian accent and all. Talk about a mountain!
“You want to become a whaaat? A singer and a pilot? In America? Are you crazy?
A boy who wanted to sing. A boy who wanted to be a commercial pilot. One voice came from the heart, the other from the mind.
It was a preposterous dream that made a lot of people laugh. I had fallen victim of Hollywood and all the glamorous movies that occupied my Sunday afternoons: cowboys, flyboys, singers. I had fallen in love with the American Dream that, for me, was not to be attained in my own country, chastised, as I was, for having been born illegitimate.
The four years spent in a convent during grammar school had taught me resiliency, leadership, smarts, debate, and the nuns, with their unending Ave Marias, made sure I would know how to sing.
At twelve I was already working to support the house budget as a busboy: part-time during the school year, and full-time during summers. I hated being a busboy but that first part-time job, little did I know, would eventually open the doors to my dreams.