A Tribute to Frank "Frankie" Tortoriello- Posted to FB, less the links, July, 2019
I met Frank as a refugee from Newark NJ in 1972. He came to Springfield, MA after hitting the skids in NJ on the advice and good will of Joe Perez, and stayed with Joe for several months. We hit it off immediately, as he was one of the kindest, gentlest guys I had ever met.
We spent many hours talking about our personal lives, music, women...
He met & fell in love with a girl I knew from high school. She was also one of the kindest, accepting and caring women I had ever known, & I was ecstatic that they got together. They and another couple bought a large piece of land in NH and were planning to build on it.
The 3 of us (Frankie, Rosemary and I) rented a house together for several months in Springfield.
We had many weekend outings up at the NH property as a group- solitude, away from the city craziness.
I was there when the plan fell through and Frankie & Rose broke up, I was there when he met & married Alice- who turned out to be a very cruel person, and verbally abused Frankie regularly & held a strong disdain for all his old friends, I was there when he and a mutual friend opened a deli in a very high-end college town in MA, I was there when that deli became a success and was making money for Frankie & his soon-to-be growing family, I was there when Frankie came to work one morning to find the deli closed because financial shenanigans had taken place, not of his doing, I was there to celebrate the opening of the deli in Great Barrington, and to participate in his Deli-dollar plan, I was there to see him so happy that the Deli was a success and get the notoriety he deserved, I was there when Jared was born with a debilitating brain tumor and not expected to live 9 months, I was there when Jared's medical bills became so staggering (no insurance) that he went into insurmountable debt trying to keep his beloved son alive, I was there to share the mourning of Jared's death with him, which was the most devastating thing that ever happened to him, I was there when he decided to give up the deli after 20 + years & move to Costa Rica. I was there to pick him up at the bus stop and put him up, happily & without hesitation, on occasions that he was able to afford to come back & visit his friends & family in the states.
I was so happy to learn that someone had bought the hotel in Ojochal which is now Casa Tortuga and kept him on to oversee its reconstruction.
I visited Frankie four times while he was managing Reserva Playa Tortuga from his "office" at Casa Tortuga. He was always very generous and allowed me to stay as little or as long as I wanted, depending on the owner's (see below) schedule. Frankie & I, being naturists at heart, spent many an hour (LINK WARNING- SENIOR CITIZEN NUDITY) swiming naked in the pool. Oftentimes, we were joined by other uninhibited folks who were also staying or visiting there. He dearly loved that pool.
Do I claim to be Frankie's best friend ever- no, of course not- never. Frankie shared himself equally with everyone he knew, and got love & respect back from many (certainly not all) of them in return.
As you know, I was suspicious of Jannette's motives 10 minutes after I met her for the first time. I know Frankie's kindness & generosity could easily be taken advantage of.
Lastly, I shared his hatred for trump, republicans, and everything they stand for. I hate hypocrites, a sentiment also shared by him. A millionaire republican Doctor who brought his mistress to Casa Tortuga in between the times he took his family there, and who's mistress treated Frankie like a step-n-fetch it servant when the doctor had her there, is infuriating. Not just to me, but a number of people who knew and worked with Frankie during his time in CR, and who thumbed up that post and congratulated me in IMs for posting it, as well as held extreme resentment toward Jannette.