The Rigano family lived just north of New York City in New Rochelle. There were five siblings: Denise, Phil, Lola, Adele, and Robbie, who grew up in a loving home in the 1960s. But Robbie held a special place in their hearts. 

Left to Right: Phil Rigano school portrait at age 6; Adele, Rob, and Phil Rigano in the 1960s; Lola, Rob, and Denise Rigano on a family vacation to Lake George, NY in 1971. Photos courtesy of Lola Rigano. 

Robbie is developmentally disabled, and from a young age was known for getting into sticky situations.  He was especially drawn to cars, which led to a number of what his brother Phil described as “shenanigans.”

Phil and Rob Rigano during a visit to California in 2014. Photo courtesy of Phil Rigano.

In 2006 Phil brought Robbie to record a conversation together when theStoryCorps Mobile Tour stopped nearby.  Knowing Robbie’s love of cars, Phil knew he’d get a kick out of recording in the iconic Airstream trailer. He came back 17 years later to reflect on that first recording.

Rob Rigano at his job at the Department of Public Works for the City of Larchmont in 1987. Photo courtesy of Lola Rigano.


Top Photo: Rob and Phil Rigano at their StoryCorps interview in San Diego, California on February 11, 2006. By Piya Kochhar for StoryCorps.

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.

Originally aired December 8, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.