Posted in Inspiration

Greetings From Asbury Park

I am thinking about Asbury Park, New Jersey. Not specifically this album, although it is one of my all-time favorite albums and dare I say one of the best rock and roll albums of all time. Certainly in the Top 100. This album, this artist, Bruce Springsteen, I’ll save for another Blog post. But let me just say I am blessed that I got to see him in concert at small clubs when he was first bursting onto the music scene. As Jon Landau wrote: “I saw my rock ‘n’ roll flash before my eyes. And I saw something else: I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me fee like I was hearing music for the very first time.” Truth.

Okay. Back to the theme. I am thinking about Asbury Park because of this photo I took years ago when I spent a day photographing on the boardwalk.

A few weeks ago I received this message: “Are you the Bruce Barone who took this photograph of Ducky’s? My uncle owned this and he recently passed away. Could I purchase a print from you? It would mean so much to me and my family.”

I wrote back: “I am so sorry for your loss. I would be happy to send you a print. Free.”

I sent her an 8 x 10 and received a hand-written thank you card from her a few days later:

“Thank You SO much for your generosity. Your beautiful act of kindness is greatly appreciated by me and my Uncle Ducky Fornicola family. Your work preserved his history and your actions honored his life of giving. Be well.”

I was speechless when I read this. Tears in my eyes. Isn’t this about love and giving? The Bible says:

“Give, and it will be given to you.” Luke 6:38

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

I recommend taking a minute to read Ducky’s obituary. Here is a man who gave and loved. A man who “made a difference in the lives of anyone he came across.”

Reading from The Asbury Park Press:

“Donald N. “Ducky” Fornicola, 85 beloved and respected, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend, passed away peacefully from prostate cancer at his home surrounded by family on May 30, 2020. He was born on May 22, 1935, in Neptune, N.J., and was the son of the late Theodore and Mary Fornicola.

“Ducky attended Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Grammar School and Asbury Park High School. He was a communicant of Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC Church in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

“He was the proprietor of Ducky’s Hot Dogs on the Asbury Boardwalk for 30 years and then employed with Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections Office. He employed many local youths who he later mentored throughout their endeavors. Ducky took great pride in his family and visited them daily. He enjoyed the successes of his children and assisted them in any way he could including managing Dino’s in Long Branch and the Grateful Deli in Loch Arbour.

“Ducky excelled at basketball throughout his life. His love of basketball led him to become the director of the Monmouth Ocean County Parochial Basketball League. He later formed the Mt. Carmel Men’s League and also the Allenhurst Summer Recreational Basketball League. His involvement in basketball allowed him to coach and inspire many young men with their accomplishments.

“Ducky also had a passion for golf. He was an above-average golfer playing at least weekly up until last fall; an avid Dallas Cowboys fan loved Dean Martin and the New York Yankees.

“His charisma and charm impacted the lives of many forever. He had a lasting impression on those that met him and made a difference in the lives of anyone he came across. Ducky went above and beyond in trying to help anyone he encountered, and his smile was contagious. He knew how to brighten your day and had enough personality to fill the room. Ducky was an inspiration to those around him…….

“He is survived by his wife who was his grade-school sweetheart married 64 years, Ursula (Aldarelli) Fornicola; his four children and their spouses Kristie Linington (Gary), Mary Kessler (Scott), Ursula Carkhuff (Chris), and Dino Fornicola (Caroline). Grandchildren, Ashley Linington Ludwig (Ryan), Joseph Linington, Kaitlyn Lougee (Michael), Donald Kessler, Austin Carkhuff, Myles Fornicola, Bryan Linington, and Kevin Coyle; his great-grandchildren, Asher and Addie Ludwig, Michael Lougee; his brothers, Theodore Fornicola, Robert Fornicola, and Fredrick Fornicola (Marie); his sister, Joan Aldarelli. His Sisters-In-Law Fran Giacone, Sister Christina Aldarelli, IHM; his Brother-In-Law Ralph Aldarelli and his life partner, Phillip Degenstein and many nieces, nephews and friends too many to mention.

“Thank you and we will miss you Ducky, Coach, Mentor, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Role Model, and Friend.”

What a Legacy!

Here is another photo from that day on the boardwalk:

And here’s a link to Springsteen on Broadway on Netflix. I highly recommend watching.

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