Rochester Archives - StoryCorps

After 82 Years, A Grandfather Inspires His Grandson To Live Full Of Honesty And Love

When Jeffrey Perri was growing up in Rochester, New York, his grandfather, Tony Perri, came out to him as gay. Jeffrey was only 9 years old. Years later, Jeffrey also came out, and what was already a close relationship became something even more meaningful for both of them.

They originally came to StoryCorps to reflect on their stories and relationship in 2009

Tony had remained friends with Jeffrey’s grandmother, Shirley Perri, after they divorced, and Tony went on to have two more long term relationships. These men were “uncles” to Jeffrey, and Tony modeled loving relationships throughout Jeffrey’s childhood.

Now, in 2022, Jeffrey and Tony returned to StoryCorps to reflect on their shared connection — and Tony’s feelings about aging and family.

 

Top Photo:
Jeffrey Perri and Tony Perri on May 7th, 2022 at a family wedding. Courtesy of Jeffery Perri. (L) 
Jeffrey Perri and Tony Perri at their StoryCorps interview in Rochester, NY on July 11, 2009. By Jeremy Helton for StoryCorps. (R)

Originally aired July 22, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

John Curtis and John Wikiera

Homecoming_Dec1998John Curtis and his husband, David Wikiera (pictured at left), have two sons. The couple adopted their first child, also named John, from Vietnam when he was a baby.

At StoryCorps, John and his son, 11-year-old John, talk about the boy’s hopes for the future, and the father’s desire to be a parent.

Originally aired April 12, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above: John and David arrive home from Vietnam with baby John in 1998. Photo courtesy of John Curtis.

Mala Fernando and Ashanthi Gajaweera

Mala Fernando (left) talks with her daughter, Ashanthi Gajaweera, about her marriage to Ashanthi’s father when she was 22 years old and still living in Sri Lanka, and finding love once again after his death.

Originally aired November 13, 2009, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Jeffrey Perri and Tony Perri

When Tony Perri was 17 years old he went to confession and told his priest that he was attracted to men. After that he didn’t tell anyone else about his feelings for another 17 years until he told his wife, Shirley. At StoryCorps Tony talks with his grandson Jeffrey about coming out, and Jeffrey talks about his own coming out experience.

Originally aired September 18, 2009, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Bob Panara and Greg Livadas

When Bob Panara was 10 years old, he became deaf. He tells his friend Greg Livadas about his father arranging for him to meet his childhood hero—Babe Ruth—in the hope that the shock would help his hearing return, and what Brooks Robinson later did to become his idol.

Originally aired July 31, 2009, on NPR’s Morning Edition.