Bobby and his Mom
My son Bobby Rydell, is a young recording artist who is fortunate enough to receive many fan letters. I am a housewife who customarily receives none. However, about the time that Bobby's record, "Wild One," reached the top of the charts, I did get a fan letter all my own. A Southern girls wrote, " Thank you for giving us Bobby. We enjoy him so much. And you must enjoy him even more than we do."
That letter really touched me. We do enjoy Bobby. It was a joy when he was born, April 26, 1942, and he has been a joy to all of us ever since. "All of us" is as close knit a family as you will find in South Philadelphia. My husband is Adrio Ridarelli, a foreman in a machine shop. I call him "Ott." His father, Tony, came from Italy, and so did my grandparents. My parents are Lena and Anthony Sapienza. We share with them a pleasant, two-story "row house" on Eleventh street. Considering the number of adoring adults who have always surrounded Bobby, he might well have become the most spoiled child in town.
Instead, he has a really sunny disposition. He wants other people to have a good time. Like my father, he always has a joke saved up. If either of them sits down to talk with you, you're laughing before you know it. Bobby gets his talent from both sides of the family. When I was a little girl, my father always played the lead in the variety shows the Italians put on in our community.
My husband, I think, is a frustrated entertainer. He wanted to be a singer, but his father insisted he study the violin. Ott rebelled and got such awful squeaks out of the instrument that his father finally smashed the violin over his knee and threw the pieces in the stove.