The last thing Rose (then) Ferentino needed as the school year wound down in late spring of 1985 was a son with a broken bone.
But that’s what she got.
It was Jude, at 10, the second oldest of her four boys. Maurice was 12 then and the twins, Jason and Jarrett, 7.
Rose’s husband and the boys’ father had died just a few months earlier, losing a courageous battle with cancer. Gary Ferentino was buried on what would have been his and Rose’s 15th wedding anniversary.
Everyday life was hard enough for this new widow with four sons. A medical emergency was almost too much to bear. Except that Rose had a friend in Dr. Tony Bruno.
Dr. Bruno, whose kids and her boys attended school together at the former St. Mary’s Assumption elementary school, operated an emergency medical clinic off Broad Street, Pittston, on the site of the current Pittston Memorial Library.
Rose, with the other three boys in tow, rushed Jude to the clinic and Dr. Bruno brought him right in and fixed him up with a brace that Rose said looked like a big pair of football shoulder pads. It’s what was needed for a broken clavicle.
Dr. Bruno said Jude could return to school and even go on the class trip the next day, but Rose saw a big problem. “How am I going to get a shirt over that contraption?”
“Put a man’s shirt on him,” Dr. Bruno suggested, momentarily forgetting there was no man in Rose’s household.
When she reminded him she had no men’s shirts, Dr. Bruno told her to collect the boys and come with him.
“He took us to his home, pulled about four shirts out of his own closet and gave them to me,” Rose recalls. “He literally gave us the shirts off his back.”
Rose was not comfortable with Jude going on that class trip but allowed it against her better judgment. Off he went in Dr. Bruno’s shirt.
Rose was vacationing in Florida when she learned of Dr. Bruno’s death last Sunday and called me first thing Monday morning to tell this story. “I know you like writing stories like this,” she said, “and I really would like people to hear about this side of Dr. Bruno.”
She knows me well.
It turns out I, as do many of us in Greater Pittston, have my own Dr. Bruno story, but nothing quite like Rose’s. Nearly 30 years ago, I carried in my 2-year-old son with a split lip and Dr. Bruno stitched him up so beautifully there was not even a hint of a scar when he healed.
Those months and years right after her husband’s death were difficult for Rose, but she raised her sons to be fine and successful citizens and loving fathers. Maurice, now 45, is a federal agent, who lives in Pittsburgh. He has a daughter, Marah, and a son, Michael. Jude, 43, lives in Pittston and is a pharmaceutical rep. He has a son, Jude Jr. Jason and Jarrett just turned 40. Both live in Greater Pittston. Jason is a director for a pharmaceutical company. He has two sons, Anthony and Paul. His wife is due to give birth to a daughter, Angelina, in March. Jarrett practices law and is an assistant district attorney. He has a son, Dominick, and a daughter, Victoria.
Rose is retired as managing director for Prudential Insurance. She and husband Charlie Grimes, who played a large role in raising the boys, will note their 29th wedding anniversary in May.
I could not help asking what became of Dr. Bruno’s shirts.
“He told us to keep them,” she said. “He didn’t think twice about it. That’s just how he was.”
Dr. Bruno also was the father of four children: Jenifir Bruno, M.D., Anthony Bruno II, M.D., Michael Bruno, M.D., and attorney Jason Bruno. He had five grandchildren. Dr. Bruno was laid to rest in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Carverton. His loss is felt throughout all of Greater Pittston.
Ed Ackerman writes The Optimist every week. Look for his blogs online during the week at pittstonprogress.com.