I Grew Up Poor But Lived A Rich Life

Herbie J Pilato
6 min readJan 2, 2020

One Man’s Journey To Appreciation

I grew up during the 1960s and 1970s in the inner-city of Rochester, New York in a big Italian-American Catholic family. Both of my parents each had ten brothers and sisters and, as a result, every day was a party.

Sort of.

My father never made a lot of money, but we didn’t have a lot of bills. For a good portion of my childhood, we lived rent-free in the homestead of my mother’s family. It was a red-brick double house with a solid foundation of love. I lived on one side with my parents, Herbie and Frances Pilato, and my older sister Pam. Next door was my Aunt Elva Turri Easton, sister to my mom, her husband Carl Easton, and their daughter, my cousin Evie.

Numerous extended family members, neighbors, and friends were frequent visitors to “the house.”

Yep — our house was “the house,” the center of the family; the place where it all happened; where everyone we knew wanted to be.

It was a good life, even though my immediate family really had nothing of what this world calls secure. We were clean, and the house was spotless, but attaining, retaining, and saving money was always an issue.



Herbie J Pilato

Herbie J Pilato is a writer, producer, and TV personality whose books about life and pop culture include THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS.