Have you ever met a mobster – quora gas 4 less redding ca

Oh, yes! I have to dig back into “Miscellaneous” chapters of My Adventurous Life for this one, as no other experience compares. Yes I’ve met a mobster. In fact, a whole family of them, and more! Not just any family… but one of the families. One of the famous ones, who have been running things for decades, since the old country. You’ve heard of them.

Now for obvious reasons (pretty much the same reasons that I don’t poke a sleeping bear with a stick), I’m going to remain intentionally vague with names and locations. And respectful. But it all happened several years ago… when I met a girl (if I had a nickle for every time a guy’s bizarre story started that way…). Well, she seemed nice enough. After some time, we moved in together. And eventually I ended up meeting her family. Specifically… her sister. My girlfriend introduced her, with her last name. “This is my sister, Jane Doe”. In the back of my mind, I knew I’d heard the name Doe before. But I didn’t really make any connection, consciously.

Months passed, and eventually my girlfriend said we were invited over to her sister’s house for dinner. Okay, cool. But then, before we left, she told me “Make sure you don’t bring up anything about ‘the family business’” (she actually used air-quotes).

So there I was, going to meet the mafia, and have dinner with a whole bunch of them. It suddenly made buying the right wine, for a dinner gift, much more important. Her sister had married Frankie Doe Jr.! So, Frank, Frankie Jr. and most of the rest of my dinner party were familiar to me because they were The Freaking Mob. And they were also all characters in a fairly famous Hollywood movie! I could tell you which actors portrayed each of them. But if I did that… I’d have to kill ya. Frank Sr’s father was currently in Federal prison, for the events depicted in that famous movie, and Frank Sr. took over the business. Actually, I don’t even know if the father was alive any more, but he was sent to prison for a long time. Well… this was going to be interesting.

So we went to dinner. I met everyone. Granted, everyone was cool. It’s not like I expected everyone to have an ice-pick in their jacket pocket and machine guns stacked in the umbrella holder, upon entry. They were relatively normal. Very ethnic. The conversation… some was ambiguous, yet I think I could tell what they were talking about. Sort of. I could have heard some references about “mob stuff”. Or it could have been my imagination, fueled by the circumstances.

It was everything I expected, and more. Friends of the family came from all over the country. So many black overcoats, black lace and sunglasses, you could have fashioned a solar eclipse out of them all. Well over a hundred people came to pay their respect. Maybe two hundred.

First was the church ceremony, in a big, Gothic, echoing, Roman Catholic church. And the flowers; so many flowers with cards; the big expensive kind. It mixed with the incense, and perfumed the heavy air. One after another, black-clad people came up to the pulpit and told stories about Frank Doe, their patriarch. They went way back to when he was a kid, in the heyday of the family business. There were even a few jabs at the cops, that got some laughs. It was fascinating, listening to all this. And when I say pay their respect… I mean respect! In the end… it was everyone’s very strong opinion that Frank Doe Sr. was a very good man, a family man, a loving man.

After the bizarre church ceremony, it was off to the limos to drive to the cemetery. I put a flag on my vehicle and got into the procession. And what a procession! License plates from Florida, from Arizona, from Nevada, Wisconsin, California, Canada, New Jersey, and of course, from New York. I don’t know, but it coulda been a mile long.

In time, we got to the cemetery. By the time everyone was gathered around the burial site, the people had at least doubled. There were visitors from rival families there, as well. Every one of them could have come from Central Casting at MGM or 20th Century Fox. It was a living cliche` of mobsters. I looked at the various faces, and now wondered how many of these people knew the whereabouts of 55 gallon drums of acid. I wondered how many of the bulges under the coats were pistols. I gotta believe that there was a Federal agent or two in the group, just because… well, it seemed like a gathering they couldn’t refuse! I wondered what the sum total of violence, racketeering, hits, money laundering, drugs, prison bars and spaghetti was, among all these people paying their last respects to Frank Doe, Sr. These weren’t gangstas… these were gangsters. Old School. And then, just for the hell of it… it started to drizzle, for that extra ambiance. Perfecto! Although, that didn’t make anyone take off their sunglasses. I pretty much kept a low profile, soaking it all in.

Anyway… Frankie Jr. was now in charge. From what I gathered, the real cliche` aspects of this mobster family went under the dirt, with Frank Sr. Frankie Jr. was of the latest generation. He had a successful career that was on the up and up. So, that funeral may have been one of the last great gatherings of the classic mobsters from all over the country. Frank Doe was one of the last of the “real deal”. I can’t say that it wasn’t exciting… it was! It was all perfect and just like you’d imagine.

I was a child of six, seven, and eight for most of the time I knew Uncle Mo’, but it was when I was nine years old, on a rainy summer morning in 1947, on the shore of Lake St. Clair near Detroit, when I was ushered from childhood into adulthood.

Uncle Mo’ lived in a big brick house, befitting a rich and powerful man, and now and then my dad would take me along to see him. Mo’s sister, Jewel, was my mother’s near neighbor and closest friend. Jewel was afflicted with a strange and melancholy problem: She laughed uncontrollably whenever she saw even a trace of blood.

It was well known in Detroit that Uncle Mo’ was somehow connected with The Purple Gang, a loose, vicious confederation of mostly immigrant-family Jewish “businessmen” who were known as “bootleggers” during the years of Prohibition. They ran alcoholic liquids nicknamed “Bronfman”, after the well known Jewish whiskey makers from Winnipeg, Manitoba. They used a fleet of boats to cross the mile-wide Detroit River from distillery-rich Canada.

In Detroit, Uncle Mo’s name was spoken in private circles with soberness and some mild degree of trepidation. He was indeed “a gangster,” a “mobster,” “a drug dealer” (alcohol), yet his reputation was also of a man whose “word was his bond,” and he was trusted by even the “hot-headed” young Italians and Irish to “sign off” on the executions of rats, snitches, and nut cases.

People went in, closed the door, duly prepared themselves, and sat down on the commode ~ whereupon from a speaker over the sink mirror The Star Spangled Banner by the University of Michigan Marching Band began to play, and, naturally, people felt obliged to stand up as they did at Tiger baseball games.

“To grow up you must first learn and understand the rules, and know who makes them, and know what actually happens if you break them. Promises are the rules you make for yourself. If you break your promises, including your promises not to break your promises, then there is going to be a punishment that you can’t cry your way out of. If the break is bad enough, you have killed yourself and it doesn’t matter who does the execution. Don’t make a lot of promises, no matter who wants you to. Just make the promises you know you will keep. Learn what all the rules are and don’t break the rules unless you have to, but if you use your brains you shouldn’t have to.”