#767: She Knows by Bobby Darin
Walden Robert Cassotto was born in the Bronx in May, 1936. His mother, born in November 1917, was pregnant with him when she was only sixteen, giving birth to him when she was seventeen. In the 1930’s, being a pregnant teenager was very improper. So she gave birth and was introduced to her son as his older “sister.” In order for the deceit to be pulled off, young Robert was raised by his grandmother, Polly, who he understood was his mother. And he understood that his “mother” had given birth at a later stage in life. His “mother” was a showgirl in her earlier days and so not the “grandmother type.” So the ruse was successful. It was not until 1968, when he was 32 years of age, that he discovered that his older sister, Giovannina Cassotto, was actually his mother. In his childhood, Robert learned to play piano, drums and guitar. According to his biographies, Walden Robert Cassotto suffered from rheumatic fever as a child. Bobby’s real sister, Vivienne, said years later, “my earliest memory of Bobby as a child was about his rheumatic fever. We couldn’t walk on the floor because just walking across the floor would put him in agony. I remember Bobby crying and screaming and my father having to pick him up and carry him to the bathroom, he was in so much pain. I remember being told all my life, “Bobby’s sickly. You have to be careful, and you have to protect him.” Between the ages of eight and thirteen, Bobby had four illnesses with rheumatic fever. Each one damaging his heart muscle more severely than the previous illness.
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