Tony Nicosia is a familiar presence in Chico. He describes himself as a "community activist." "I still give good massages," he says, "and get rid of headaches and sore hands, feet, and backs. I have also worked for the American Red Cross at the Neighborhood Church, and I helped the people who evacuated from the Paradise and Concow fires. I gave them food and water and helped out feeding and watering their animals. This year I helped again with Bidwell Park cleanup and I worked on the projects around Horseshoe Lake and Chico Creek." He is also involved with various environmental groups as well as the Chico Peace and Justice Center, which helped him get his life story into print.
"Dreaming of Wolves" ($15 in paperback from Tony Wolf Productions) by Anthony David Nicosia is available at Lyon Books in Chico as well as the Chico Peace and Justice Center, where newsletter editor Steve Tchudi helped shape the manuscript. The short chapters are reminiscences of a life studded by misfortune. "I was married two times," Nicosia says, "and both turned out tragically. The first was my wife, Cathy, and my two children" who were all killed in an automobile accident. "Then there was Christy, who died of cancer. I was a good husband and a loving dad, and I think of those two women a lot."
Nicosia himself "had two motor vehicle accidents in the past ten years, and I still have memory problems. There are many wonderful men and women who are my friends. I appreciate all the people who knew of my head injury and memory loss and were very understanding as to why I have had a hard time remembering them." He faced a difficult childhood in Pennsylvania. His parents divorced and he came down with rheumatic fever. In the hospital he developed an interest in wildlife, especially wolves. "They really take care of family--if a mother wolf dies, other members of the pack will take over the cubs."
He served in Vietnam, returning home to hostility and discrimination. In the mid-1970s he wound up at Chico State University. He faced cancer, brought on, he says, by exposure to Agent Orange.
Yet Nicosia survives--and guess what? "I am still dreaming of wolves."