Spotlight: Franklin Troiso (herbie43)

By Sharon Brown (Sharon) on April 25, 2011

Everybody knows Herbie. We've known him for years and we've cried and celebrated right along with him through many family events, both his and our own. But I thought maybe there might be something yet to learn about this most caring, amicable family man. Let's take a look at what he has to say.

Sometimes when we contact our Cubit friends and ask them to be in our Spotlight, we get a lot of "Oh, I'm boring," or maybe "I just don't have time right now," and sometimes we get "Oh no, not me!" But when I asked Frank, bless his heart, this is what he said:  "It would be my pleasure."

What a sweetheart. I didn't have to grovel and beg! But the truth is Franklin and I have been friends for a long time. We met years ago in a forum calle2011-04-24/Sharran/3a7310d something like 'A Trip Down Memory Lane' where I learned we had grown up at the same time, though miles and miles apart. We remembered the same world events, the same music, the same movies. We had grown up with similar values.

So Frank, sharing your story is for sure my pleasure. Join me now and let's hear about the life of everybody's friend, herbie43, aka Franklin Troiso.


I was born on June 11th, 1943 to Frank and Grace Troiso. I have a brother, Ray, who is three years my senior and is a retired NYPD detective

I can only remember my father through the few pictures we have together because he was killed in action near the island of Okinawa. He was a fireman in the US Navy during WWII. Sadly he died just a month before the war ended.

As with most Italians families at that time, I grew up surrounded by family. We lived in my grandparents' six family house on Himrod Street in Brooklyn, New York and just about everyone in the house was related. Across the street were my aunts and uncles.

I grew up playing stick ball in the streets. There were usually three guys on each team. First was the
2011-04-24/Sharran/279d84pitcher, who also covered first and third base. The city streets were narrow, plus you had cars parked on each side so the playing field was only about 10 feet wide. You had a second baseman and then an outfielder. The batter used a wooden broom handle to hit the ball. We used to sneak brooms from our families and cut them off to play ball. They used to get so mad.

Another favorite game was skelzies. I have no idea how it got its name. We used chalk to draw a large square on the sidewalk. On each end of the square we drew small boxes. Then a line was drawn from each box to the center of the square where another small box was drawn. We used any kind of bottle cap we could get our hands on, from small soda caps to large mayonnaise caps and we used our fingers to shoot them into each box. You were allowed to shoot your cap into someone else’s to get him off the course. Whoever got to all the boxes and then the one in the center was declared the winner. 

My grandfather also bought a house in Far Rockaway right on Jamaica Bay. We thought it was deep in the country because it used to take us almost 2 hours to get there from where we lived. Today, it is about a 20 minute car ride. LOL. We spent many happy and carefree summers there doing nothing but swimming and fishing for snappers, eel and, of course, catching blue claw crabs

I lost my mother when I was 16 to a clogged aorta valve. Both my mom’s and dad’s families brought us up.

In 1962, at the age of 18 I joined the Navy. I was a radioman and was lucky enough to spend four years in Italy. While there, I got to travel quite a bit and visited England, Australia, Austria, Switzerland and France. I’ll never forget the first time I walked onto the grounds of the Vatican and saw mass in St Peter's church.

My wife, Debbie, (her real name is Geraldine) and I have known each other all our lives. She lived just a block from me. Both our parents were such good friends that her parents were best man and maid of honor for my parents and her mom and dad were my Godparen
2011-04-24/Sharran/3e002bts. We were married in 1968 and have two wonderful boys, Frank, who is 38 and Chris who is 36. Chris has been married for two years to Danielle and just had a baby girl, Ava.  Frank is going out with a wonderful girl and we are waiting for Josephine to become our second daughter in law.

Frank, you know, your positive outlook shines through your words. I didn't know you lost your parents so early in your life, how tragic and heartbreaking! But through it all, you seem to smile and move on.

Oh, I love a good 'love story'. In today's world, marrying your best friend and your first love is the exception, not always the rule. The wonder of it all is that you remain best friends and in love even after all these years. My hat's off to you and Deb.

I know you love gardening because I was the recipient of some wonderful tomato seeds a few years ago. In fact, that reminds me, I'm fresh out of a tomato, but I do remember just how tasty they were! Thanks, Frank. Now tell us how you became involved in gardening.  


I became interested in gardening when we bought our home in upstate New York in a town called Wappingers Falls. At first, like every first time gardener I planted way more than we could ever eat. My first garden had tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and just about every kind of bean. Later on I refined my garden to tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers and string beans. As I got older and the deer enjoyed my garden too much I decided to plant in containers on my deck. I now just grow tomatoes and ultra hot peppers.


Have you and Debbie traveled much over the years?

Most of my exotic traveling took place while in the Navy but Deb and I only travel to places that we can reach by car. We do not like to fly so we are limited to where we can go. Our favorite place in all the world is Ocean City, Maryland. We started going there as a family when the boys were just tots. We later went with our friends and now we travel as a family again with Frank and his girlfriend and Chris and Danielle. Another place we like to visit is Boston, Massachusetts,  where they have a wonderful Italian section and you can go whale watching during the summer.


Will you share with us the very best years of your life?


The best years of my
2011-04-24/Sharran/bd8744 life. I don’t even have to think about them. I say 'them' because there are at least five wonderful moments that I will never forget, starting with the day I married the girl who lived down the block from me. She is the most amazing and loving person I have ever known and she is also my very best friend. We are always together. In fact, our neighbors joke that when they see one of us in any store they automatically look for the other.

The second best thing was the birth of our two boys. Deb became pregnant twice but both times resulted in miscarriages. We were thinking about adopting when she became pregnant for the third time. She had to spend a lot of time in bed but we were blessed with our son Frank who was a few weeks premature and weighed 5 lbs. 13 oz. but otherwise healthy. Eighteen months later we were blessed with a second child. Chris was even more premature and came in weighing 5lbs. 3 oz. They were both so tiny when Deb put on their diapers the tapes met in the middle. Today they are both strapping young men over 6 feet tall.

Another great moment in our lives was the marriage of our son Chris to Danielle. I have never seen Chris so happy and that makes us happy.

Next came the birth of our first grandchild, Ava. She means the world2011-04-24/Sharran/e2502c to us and I am sure by now people here are getting tired of me showing her picture on just about every cubit I visit. LOL.

Those were all proud moments for me but an exciting and fun time in our lives has to be when my wife became an author. About three years ago, at the urging of our daughter in law, Debbie decided to write a cookbook.

It was a long process and sometimes a painful one but the day came when Cooking From The Heart became a reality. My son Frank told her, "Mom you were born to write this book." It is now available at as well as Barnes and Noble and most other book outlets. She also has her own website at


Sweet!! Still a love story!  And I never tire of seeing your beautiful little Ava, no matter what cubit she appears in!  What about hobbies, do you have a favorite?

I don’t have a lot of
2011-04-24/Sharran/89b363 hobbies but I love to garden and cook.


Ahhhhh, I should have known that! What are your plans for the future?


I will be retiring from the Postal Service on May 31st. Our son, Chris, is a federal correction officer in Massachusetts and has recently had a house built in Rutland. While the house was being built he asked us to move in with them. He said it would be a win-win situation. We could live there rent free and when Danielle went back to work (she is a transplant nurse) we could watch Ava. Even though it sounded good we still felt that four people living in a house, even though the house was big, wasn’t the best idea. One night he called up and asked us if we would be interested in converting the basement into an apartment so we can have our own place and still watch Ava. After thinking about it for a while and weighing the pros and cons, the pros won out and we said yes. Our nephew Frank has already framed out the basement into a bathroom, bedroom (with a ten foot closet), the kitchen and living room. Deb has already picked out the flooring, the kitchen cabinets, our new bedroom furniture and the colors all the rooms will be. My only contribution to this apartment is to pay the bills. LOL.2011-04-24/Sharran/972f7b

The one thing we will miss the most about the move is not seeing our son Frank as often as we do now. He calls his mom each and every day and goes out of his way to make her feel special whether it’s buying her a plate or ornament from the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” to buying her flowers when she is not feeling good. We will also miss very much all the friends we have made here and who have become a second family to us.

Our future is pretty much set. We will spend our days in a new town and a new state and with our new grand-daughter. I also look forward to starting a new container garden.


Just one last question, Frank, then I'll let you go. How did you ever choose the name 'herbie43"?  I'm going t2011-04-24/Sharran/51126fo assume the 43 refers to the year of your birth.


Sometimes I do dumb things like the time when I decided to mow the lawn instead of having my kids do it. I got on the riding mower (my boys didn't tell me the brakes did not work) and when I went to put it back into the garage the brakes did not stop me.  I hit the garage door and proceeded to not only crack the door but the mower went right up the front of it and turned over with me underneath it. My son, Frank, said that I reminded him of the Herbie character in the Christmas TV show The Misfits, where all the broken toys end up.


I don't really believe the term 'broken toy' will ever apply to you, dear Frank. You'll no doubt get right back up every time you find yourself down. Thank you so very much for this delightful peek into your life. It's a beautiful love story.


We wish you much joy and happiness in your new venture: retirement, a new state, a new home. Most of us do one thing at a time, but you and Deb are going to do it all at once. My very best wishes to you, my friend. May you always greet every sunrise with that smile of yours!


And thank you, readers, for joining us. Don't forget to browse over the photos to see their titles and click on them to enlarge. Join us again next week as we see who Nancy brings into the Spotlight. 


  I hope you've had a most beautiful Easter Sunday.




Related articles:
interview, life, people, spotlight

About Sharon Brown
I am a retired Art and Humanities teacher living in western Kentucky. I love writing and art with equal measure, but I also have a passion for nature and plants.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
I've wondered about the name, Herbie43 Aguane Apr 30, 2011 2:50 PM 39
To Herbie 43 pajonica Apr 26, 2011 5:53 PM 10
Thank You Sharon DebbieHerbie43 Apr 25, 2011 7:21 PM 1
Such a Nice Man nap Apr 25, 2011 7:09 PM 8
A wonderful life... MaryE Apr 25, 2011 7:01 PM 3
A Face for the Name CajuninKy Apr 25, 2011 7:00 PM 8
Best wishes PollyK Apr 25, 2011 8:20 AM 1

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