Sunapee, New Hampshire, was where I spent my summers as a kid. Driving up to Sunapee we'd go past Bellows Falls and Mom would say, "Bellows Falls? Fellow's Balls!" There was so much to my mother. Like the way she'd get me to eat my peas. "Whatever you do, do not eat those!" And I gave her a frog smile.

A few years later, say around 1961, when I'd call for my mother from the other side of the house, my mom would go, "Yo! Where are you? Where'd you go?" Now I wonder where she's gone. She was a beautiful Philadelphia Darby Creek country girl who came to the city to bring us up, let me have long hair in school, argued with the principals, drove us to our first club dates, and loved and nurtured me—the whoever I was and/or wanted to be.

In the '50s, it would take us seven hours to go from New York up to New Hampshire because in those days it was all on back roads (there were no highways). But the ride up to Sunapee was filled with fantastic roadside attractions. A giant stone Tyrannosaurus rex on the side of the road, wooden bears, Abdul's Big Boy, and the Doughnut Dip, with a huge concrete doughnut outside.

Trow-Rico, our summer resort in New Hampshire, was named after Trow Hill, a local landmark, and Tallarico, my father's name, just smushed together. It was a bed-and-breakfast summer place with lunch and dinner slash housekeeping cottages on 360 acres of nothing but woods and fields. It was my grandfather Giovanni Tallarico's dream when he came over from Italy in 1921 with four other brothers. Pasquale was the youngest, a child prodigy on the piano. Giovanni and Francesco played mandolins. Michael played guitar. They were a touring band in the 1920s—it's where I get my on-the-road DNA. I've seen brochures for the Tallarico Brothers—they performed in the giant classic hotels with huge ballrooms in places like Connecticut and Detroit. They went from New York by train to these hotels all over the country and played their type of music, to their type of people. Sound familiar?

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