Frank was born and raised in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He was the son of Italian immigrants who came through Ellis Island for a better life. When he was young, they opened Mary’s Restaurant pictured here. Their Napolitano dishes quickly became popular in the area so they moved closer to the beach in a space attached to the Palace amusements. When the war began, Frank was studying business at Rider College, but couldn’t stand by while his brothers and friends joined the fight. Before long, he was on a ship headed for Africa.
Raissa, the oldest of seven siblings, lived in Rome Italy in 1929. She took her position in the family very seriously and helped out as much as she could. Before the war began, she had an idyllic childhood. The family lived down the street from the Colosseum and back then, people could come and go as they pleased. She and her friends loved to play in the ancient arena, but when the war began, her carefree days were over. Instead, her time was spent helping her father find food for the family. especially during wartime. When Rome was finally liberated, she helped the family by selling cigarettes and postcards at the Colosseum.
When Frank met Raissa at the Colosseum, the connection was clear. But she was fifteen and it was more appropriate for them to be pen pals. They wrote to each other for eight years before he finally bought a ticket to sail to Italy. When he met the woman she became, he couldn’t believe his luck.
May 20, 1953
They wed within two weeks of seeing each other again. The ceremony took place at a church overlooking the Forum. These pictures show was a handsome couple they were.