Long-lost Bronx siblings meet for first time

Tommy Goldberg, of Fordham Road, always knew that he had a half-brother out in California. But he had never met him, and could never figure out how to contact him. Now, at last, he and his sister Lisa have met their long-lost brother, David Domenichini.

“My father never spoke about it that much,” said Tommy. “We assumed he was really sad and regretful about not being there for him. But I went to my sister 30 years ago and asked her, ‘How can we find our brother?’”

Tommy said that David, who is 47, is his half-brother from before their biological father met Tommy’s mom. She left their father and went to California, where she took up with a new man that David was raised by and considers to be his dad.

Meanwhile, the boys’ biological father stayed in the Bronx, met a new woman and had three children with her: Tommy, 41, Lisa, 42, and their other brother Jeffrey, 43, who has not yet been involved in the reunion process with David.

Tommy said that he and Lisa always knew about David, but had no idea how to reach him, since they didn’t even know his last name. Their father was no longer in contact with David’s mother.

David, on the other hand, never knew about the siblings. His mother did reveal to him when he was 10 that his biological father was a guy named Marvin Goldberg in the Bronx, but she did not mention any siblings, and she told him the man was probably dead.

In fact, Marvin raised his three children and lived in the Bronx his whole life, working for a time at Martone Bros. photography in Morris Park.

Tommy confirmed that in the early years, Marvin was an alcoholic with a heroin addiction, and had abused David’s mother, which is why she left.

Five years ago, Lisa was dying to meet their brother and posted an ad to genealogy.com. Her ad explained all she knew: Marvin Goldberg, her father, had a child named David with his first wife, whose last name was Woods. She asked: “If you know anything about a David Goldberg or a Darlene Melody Woods/Goldberg who resided in the Bronx and/or around New York City, please let me know!”

Years passed, and Tommy and Lisa never thought anything would come from the ad. Then, David saw it. But the email address Lisa had used with the ad was outdated, and so David had to do some research of his own. He ended up emailing Lisa through an old Myspace account.

“He kind of found us, in a way, because he found the ad,” said Tommy. “It was very weird and I guess you could say fateful. We had been looking for him for 30 years.”

Lisa made plans to fly out to California, where David lives in a suburb of San Francisco. Tommy was hesitant. “I wasn’t going to go at first. I thought hey, I’m going to be more patient, get to know him over the phone.’ But he wanted to have a big party, and even his mom was going to be there, my father’s first wife. I thought wow, that’s something I need to go.”

But he did not go. At least, not with Lisa.

“Lisa came and I hung out with her for a couple days,” said David. “And three days into my trip I open the door and there’s Tommy.”

Tommy had surprised both of them — Lisa did not know he would be coming either.

“It was phenomenal,” she recalled. “Tommy showed up and Dave’s wife said that all three of us were beaming.”

David feels lucky to have acquired two new siblings. “He and Lisa are so great,” he said, “and you never know how these things are going to go. Tommy is a real sensitive kind of guy, and I think he’s enjoyed this as much I have.”

“It’s like coming home to the end of a maze after 42 years,” said Lisa. “The puzzle has been solved. And he really looks like us, it’s incredible.”

The three all said that they plan to spend more time together, even though they live across the country from each other. The next chance will be in late November, when Tommy will be flying to southern California for business, but will drive a couple hours to meet up with David, who will also have to drive a while. The two are meeting halfway. “In our second conversation about a month ago, the San Francisco Giants were playing the Mets in interleague, which doesn’t happen often, so he and I bet a beer on it and the Giants took 3 of 4 games,” David explained.

“I’m really looking forward to that beer.”

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