My brother was my hero. He was technically old enough to be my father (and I often told him that), he and Bobby took that role over when our dad died in April of 1972. Many of my friends that were boys were afraid of Richie, and I think he kind of liked that. Richie moved to Florida when I was 6th grade and I missed him terribly. I saw him sporadically but the best surprise I ever received was when he showed up for my high school graduation in June 1985! Then I went to college. All I had to do was cross the Florida border for spring break and he'd meet me anywhere I was!
In September of 1994, he and my other brother Bobby walked me down the aisle for my wedding. I thought I would pass out but they held me up! We danced to "someone to watch over me" and it was so appropriate since they had been watching over me since I was 5 years old.
He married Evelyn several months later in Febraury of 1995. They had rekindled an old romance at their 25 year high school reunion. I was so happy for my brother! My husband Roy and I were there for their wedding. It was so great. Who knew how short-lived it would be? On December 19, 1997, I got the worst phone call I've ever received. My poor brother Bobby, burdened with telling everyone the horrible news. He said "there was an accident and Richie is dead." What? What? I felt sick to my stomach. How could that be true? It's Richie! Teller of tall tales. Lover of all things big and small! Rescuer of any animal in need! Surely you must be mistaken!
I loved my brother so much and my heart aches to this day. He never met my daughter Kelly. Oh how he would have loved her! And her him!! I tell her many stories about him. We will see him someday in heaven because I know that he is there with my dad, uncle sal, uncle harold, aunt mary, aunt mary l., aunt lorraine, uncle johnny, and uncle ownie!
I miss all of you!