I find it remarkable for someone who enjoys travel as much as I do, (My wife and I have visited many of the major cities on the European and North American continents.) that I have spent most of my living in New York City or its immediate suburbs. I was born in The Bronx, raised in a small community called Malba in Queens, educated at Adelphi University in Garden City on Long Island and New York University in Manhattan, and since my marriage, I have worked and lived in Huntington, and now in Smithtown, once again on Long Island. With the exception of my father, who was a dental technician, all his family excelled within the music profession. My paternal grandfather was a composer and conductor, my uncle was a philharmonic violinist, his son/my first cousin was a professor of music at the University of Georgia, and both my aunts were professional opera singers, My mother's father and grandfather were both barbers from a time when being a barber meant more than just cutting hair. So you see, I was predestined, if there is such a determination, to be a member of a barbershop quartet or something like that.
At the age of seven, I began the study of music with the piano as my instrument. My studies continued, forever it seemed, and I eventually studied at the Juilliard School of Music. In my early teens, the concert stage beckoned and I took part in concerts at many concert halls including, Steinway Hall, Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, and of course Juilliard Recital Hall. Also, in high school, I had a small Jazz band that played at local dances. For a time it seemed that I would be a concert pianist or would follow some form of musical endeavor, but destiny had other ideas for my future, and music would only be a source of personal enjoyment and not my chosen profession.
Although I was raised in Malba, I spent summers in Southampton and East Hampton on Long Island. It was here on the beaches and waterways of eastern Long Island, that my love for the great outdoors first began. Although I spent my nights reading the classics, I spent my days: boating, swimming, fishing, diving, and sailing; generally doing everything and nothing and simply enjoying life as only a carefree youth can. I was in, on, under, and around water for most of the day. The experience was worthwhile as well as pure fun, as years later, I was a crew member of the racing sloop, The Contessa, which raced, and sometimes won, yacht club regattas throughout the Long Island Sound. I was a member of the swimming team at Bayside High School and at Adelphi University. I won my letter as a member of the collegiate swimming team. I swam backstroke and occasionally freestyle on the first undefeated team in any sport that Adelphi University ever had.
At Adelphi University I matriculated as a pre-med major since I had decided to become a dentist, but indeed, l owe much more to Adelphi. It was there that I met the love of my life, a combination of beauty and intelligence, the vivacious Corbina Theresa Loscalzo. Corby and I married in 1959 and have two beautiful daughters, Gina Maria and Lisa Anne. We have one grandson, Gino, and twin granddaughters, Gabrielle and Juliette. These blessings from heaven, consume our life with love as only grandchildren can.
After receiving my Bachelor of Art degree from Adelphi in 1958, I entered New York University, College of Dentistry. Four years later a new chapter, nay, a veritable new book of life, opened for me. 1962 was a very important year. I received my doctorate in dentistry, passed the New York State Boards and the National Boards, granting me the necessary license to practice, purchased a home, built an office onto that home, started a practice and, oh yes, Corby gave birth to our first child. That was also the year that New York University asked me to stay on and teach Operative Dentistry, which I did two days a week for three years.
Over the years, my practice grew and expanded causing me to enlarge my office space on two occasions. When the Hunt brothers of Texas pushed the value of silver to $54.00 an ounce, dentists scrambled to salvage this precious metal, even reclaiming it from used X-ray solutions. I worked with a simple idea using weights and baffle devices and eventually invented and patented a system of separating and salvaging the precious metal from the oral debris during regular dental treatments. I called the system the Value-Vac, but alas, when the system was ready for marketing, silver dropped to $4.00 an ounce and dentists lost interest. The years of my dental practice were good to me and I'm quite proud of the success I had in establishing a large well-respected practice in the township of Huntington.
During those early years, I began the hobby of breeding and raising quality German Shepherd Dogs. I established a functional kennel (registered as Eichenholz Kennels), which kept me quite busy. Many show dogs were imported from Germany for breeding and we traveled about the eastern states showing these magnificent animals and their progeny. I was president of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Long Island for many years and did much to promote the breed.
(Editor's Note: Gene Ligotli is a member of the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association, and the Suffolk County Dental Society. He is the founder and past president of the Upper Bay Civic Association in his previous Huntington community. Ligotti was a recipient of the Community Leader of America Award for 1969 and is a fellow of the Suffolk Academy of Medicine. He is a member of Chi Sigma College Fraternity, Xi Psi Phi National Dental Fraternity, and was co-founder of a chapter of Xi Psi Phi at Stony Brook University, Dr. Eugene F. Ligotti is listed in: Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in America. He is also a Trustee Emeritus of the Huntington Historical Society. Dr. Ligotti is presently the clinical director of Health Star Dental Services.)
January of 1986 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a debilitating disease for which there is no known cure. Four years later, I could no longer practice my expertise; the profession for which I was highly trained. So with the most lucrative years of the practice now unavailable to me, I sold my practice and retired from dentistry. New medications offer hope for the future and I remain optimistic. In 1998 I underwent surgery to replace my left elbow, which was hopelessly degenerated and extremely painful. Since then, both my feet have been reconstructed as well. I am pleased to say. as I slowly become bionic, that I am doing quite well. The sports that I had enjoyed; skiing, tennis, and more recently golf, are now but memories as is the piano, which I cannot play with the same agility and fervor I once had. I'm still an avid reader and an opera aficionado. My wife and I maintained season opera seats for a great many years.
How did I begin to write? Well, I always enjoyed writing and all of my friends will tell you that I have a mouth, the gift of gab, etc. Although I started to write a monthly column, The Distal Surface, for the Suffolk County Journal of Dentistry, it was my wife, Corby, who suggested that I begin to write in earnest. I began writing children's stories after taking a couple of courses at the Institute of Children's Literature in Connecticut.
In 1992 we purchased a second home in Windham, New York as a place to come to; where we could perhaps metaphorically draw the covers over our head and hide from the world. But, instead, we were able to throw off the depression of restless confusion and find release and freedom in the simple beauty of an easier life of an easier time. My wife and I anticipate each and every visit to our mountain home as a chance to renew ourselves, to step back and rest, to take a deep breath of clean fresh mountain air with enthusiasm and vigor.
I started writing for Guide Magazine when an article was accepted for the December 1992 issue. After that, I was asked to join the staff as a regular. I wrote a monthly column for Guide Magazine as a freelance writer for many years.
As of today. I have written and published a trilogy of novels of American Revolutionary History, nine mystery suspense thrillers, and one historical biography. I still enjoy writing for children and have written numerous children's stories, some of which are illustrated, under the pen name, Papa Tuesday.
The novel for young adults, The Youngest Patriot, has also been written as a screenplay and it originally was placed under option contract with Paramount Pictures and now is held by a Hollywood producer. One can only hope. I have also completed a screenplay comedy titled, I Do. I Do. At present, I am enjoying the challenge of researching and outlining other books which are within me to write.