Nick Finamore is a retired AT&T Regional Vice President with a thirty-five-year career in engineering, computer systems, sales, and human resources.
Upon retirement, AT&T contracted with him for another twelve years as a loaned executive under three New Jersey governors to assist in improving state operations.
“Two Jersey Brothers,” Nick’s memoir with his brother Bob, describes many life-changing events and influences from his childhood in Haledon, New Jersey, experiences which gave rise to a number of challenging hobbies. He became a pilot and partner in a Piper Arrow airplane; a performing pianist; a sailboat enthusiast on Cape Cod waters; and a licensed ham radio operator.
Nick and his wife of fifty-eight years, Marie, live in Annandale, New Jersey. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Bob Finamore’s career in education spanned thirty-five years, during which he served as teacher, coach, driving instructor, and athletic director. An athlete from a very young age, he received many accolades, most notably MVP awards in high school, college, and a post-season bowl game. He has also been inducted by his high school, college, and local athletic association (Paterson Old Timers) into their Halls of Fame.
In “Two Jersey Brothers,” Bob’s memoir with his brother Nick, he recounts boyhood encounters with many famous sports names, including baseball’s “Joltin’” Joe DiMaggio and “The Sultan of Swat” Babe Ruth; champion middleweight boxer Vince Martinez; top PGA golfers Roberto DiVicenzo and Dr. Cary Middlecoff; NFL Los Angeles Rams head football coach Ray Malavasi; and more.
Following his graduation from Memphis State University, he was drafted by the New York Jets and afterwards served for two years in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict.
His wife, Shirley, passed away after forty-four years of marriage. He lives in Wayne, New Jersey and spends time with his daughter, son, and two grandchildren who live nearby.
What motivated you and your brother to write the book?
The prime motivation was for our grandchildren to understand the era we went through in our boyhood post WWII. Many of us talk about it all the time to research our ancestry and write it down.
We had two major influences that caused us to begin. I have a friend who is a Professor Emeritus from Drew University who has written 5 books on Criminal Justice and a book on his boyhood growing up in Brooklyn. We go out to breakfast on many occasions and I would tell him stories about my boyhood experiences and he would say to me, “Nick, you have to write it down. You need to write a book.”
Also, my brother’s daughter forced us to sit down in an hour session where she and her husband video and recorded my brother and I answering questions about our boyhood experiences. They then translated the audio into a word document that was the launching pad for us. It turned out to be 10 to 15 pages but was our starting point.
How long did it take and did you get help?
It took us about one year and half going back and forth with memories that we would both write about – some filling in the blank spaces of our recall to reconcile events. Lots of research on Ancestry.
We received help from and husband and wife company named Cape House publishing. For the most part Lorraine our editor did the heavy lifting of sequencing the topics. She did not change our writing dramatically. Also recommended bold typing my brothers stories for his voice. We then turned the document and photos to husband Bill who helped us format and publish on KDP.
What objectives did you hope to receive in publishing the book?
We wanted our grandchildren to understand the difference in our environment as opposed to today. One stories that drives this home is our playing in a large school field close to our home all day from early morning to sundown until our father would loudly whistle for us to come home to dinner. No adult supervision all day. We would play stickball, wallball, marbles and every game imaginable. When we were told we stunk at something, we would not quit but worked hard to improve. We learned many important values with these type of interactions.
What are the major chapters and topics and what do they cover?
One major chapter covers our parents taking us to stores in this one mile square town. We go into the barber shop where we heard our first blue language. Our mother took us to the poultry kill where she would pick out a white hen and they would cut off head in front of us. Fresh chicken for dinner. My father took me into a bar under age where I observed a player piano that influenced me in life events.
The other important chapter covers our work and dealings with funny customers in out father’s Belmont diner that he started in 1945. We had the plumber, painting artist, oil man, Dugan’s delivery driver, auto body all with funny stories and influences for us. We worked as short order cooks, peeled 100 pounds of potatoes, etc.
Did you research your family’s ancestry and what did you find? Any surprises?
We found that our grandfather had a step brother that passed three days after his first wife at the time of the 1918 Spanish Flu. On my father’s side, we discovered that a vision of the Immaculate Virgin Mary occurred with a dumb and deaf child in the year 1000 AD in his parents town of Fraine, Italy. A festival is held in June each year to celebrate the event.
Who did you choose to publish the book and why?
We chose KDP and once the document was finalized it took only 3 days to be on Amazon.com and selling for $12.95.
You published it in September 2020. Can you sum up some of the reactions you have received from readers since?
The general comment is that “you brought back many fond memories for us from that era.” After publication, we had many relatives and friends come to us with other stories.
Who are your role models?
My Uncle Al on my mothers side was a professional accordion player and he influenced me to become a musician at an early age. My parents are our dominant role models teaching us at the kitchen and dining room tables values of respect, hard work and discipline unlike today where we are influenced more by social media.
“We grew up without a lot, but we still managed to have fun times”, said Finamore. Those fun times included their boyhood encounters with many famous sports and entertainer names, including baseball’s “Joltin'” Joe DiMaggio and “The Sultan of Swat” Babe Ruth; champion middleweight boxer Vince Martinez; NFL Los Angeles Rams head football coach Ray Malavasi and Paterson’s own Lou Costello.
The most infamous event in Haledon’s history was the 1913 strike by silk mill laborers who demanded eight-hour shifts; better working conditions; and reduction of child labor at their plants in neighboring Paterson. The Botto House Museum in Haledon is dedicated to that movement, which lasted for nearly six months, and it is now a national landmark because of it.
Evelyn Hershey, education director of the American Labor Museum at the Botto House on Norwood Street, said the book relates stories of “people’s history.” “Instead of telling history of presidents, or kings, or corporate magnates,” Hershey said, “they’re telling history through recollections of ordinary, working people.”