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As a young teenager, my sister Bridget gave me an art set for my birthday and I immediately became hooked on art and the magic of creating something beautiful from a few tubes of paint and a white canvas. While I had no formal training in fine arts I did study commercial art for a couple of semesters in college. I was never really interested in a learned artistic ability because I was not creating for anyone other than myself and I was the best judge of whether it was appealing to me or not. For years I have been creating stories on my childhood and some of the wonderful experiences I had as a child. I wanted to be able to share that with my children so that they and their children could see a different side of life than they live today. I guess I really wanted them to know that life is not just material things but emotional things with respect being one of the most important things I have always tried to teach them. One day I picked up one of my grandchildren’s water color sets and started creating some of the Illustrations you see in my current book and video. I feel that the stories can be brought to life by showing them what it was like in order to draw them into the story. I want them to see that there are other things in life to appreciate and how fortunate our family is to be surrounded by loving parents, grand parents, aunts and uncles and lots of cousins. One of the side affects of creating the stories was that not only did my immediate family gain a lot from the book but others who had shared some of those years with me when I was young were touched by the stories and illustrations as well. I realized that this is something which many people are hungry for in trying to hold on to their own roots. It has been a very rewarding experience for myself and my wife as while putting it all together we found ourselves being transported back in time and found warm and wonderful thoughts from long ago when as young newly weds we would lay on our living room floor and play Italian Opera’s which I would translate into English as she wrote them down. We still have those hand scribbled notes today as treasured memories of a simpler life. I sincerely hope this book arouses the same warm and wonderful feelings for you as we invite you to read some of the stories which have molded my life. ~ Phil Bracco