A Day of Loss

Pete Fornatale–with apologies to whoever’s shot i borrowed.

If there’s any one thing that consumes me it’s a sense of loss–ongoing, ever-present, beyond my control.

Today was a day of loss. It began with news that a former neighbor, a woman I’ve known for more than 40 years, suddenly passed away. While we knew she had a few health problems none of us expected this.

Then this evening the news of Pete Fornatale’s passing came over the transom. Truth be told, I was never a fan as some were. I recognized the passion for the music, the distinct Bronx accent, the gentleness. But I never succumbed, who knows why. Back in the 70s my friend Tom lectured me on the differences between the free-form stations we had our choice of listening to. WNEW-FM, he declared, was notable for its sets based on extended themes.

Pete was the king of those themes.

As I’ve suggested, my journey doesn’t have a path back to a garden and so that late 60s ethos always grated on me. And yet I was a radio obsessive, sucking in as much music as I could whenever I could. Still am and still do. So, almost inevitably, the WNEW-FM crew–including Pete–were part of that journey. Which is why I find myself missing a long dormant part of my youth.  I find myself saddened by the loss of a fellow music lover with Bronx roots.

Death has been a companion–unwanted and unloved–since I was three. Yet death does serve a purpose: to remind us of the preciousness of life. So, for every song I ever heard Pete play that sparked a smile or a shout of joy from me or anybody else, here’s to life.

Get some rest, Pete, you did good.


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