I was in middle school when I met my first Mob Wife. She was the Mother of my classmate. Our families attended the same church, the same summer day camp and employed the same Refuse company(which incidentally was owned by my friend’s Father.) When I was a Freshman in High School we were invited to the Mob Wife's home for a Christmas Eve celebration. My mother insisted that my sister and I wear matching red velvet dresses and black patent leather heels. My brothers wore matching Leisure suits. My Father said we looked “sharp”.
The glamorous and very buxom Hostess greeted us at the front door and led my brothers to the meatballs and the antipasto and my Father was whisked downstairs to the finished basement.
Before I could grab a plate, my friend dragged me into her bedroom to listen to the new Bee Gee’s 8 track.
Jive Talkin’ was playing when I innocently asked her, "Hey,why are all the Men at your party wearing white shark tooth necklaces around their neck?"
"It’s an Italian horn, all the guys in my Dad’s club wear them.” she replied. “Duh”.
That night while driving home, I asked my Dad why he stayed down in the basement all night.
"Lou is a client of mine and he wanted me to meet some guys in his club."
"Dad?" I whispered to him behind the drivers seat.
¨"Yes, honey?" looking at me through the rear view mirror.
¨"Are you gonna start wearing necklaces and v- neck sweaters?”
I was constantly apologizing for my litany of questions, because my Grandmother insisted that my Walter Winchell persona was not becoming of a young lady.
I didn’t apologize years later when I asked my Mother during Spring Break some pointed questions regarding my Father’s associations.
"Mom?" I said in my college voice. "Yes honey?"¨
"Did Daddy sell insurance to the Mob?"
She gave me that "are you out of your mind look."
My first wedding was planned by a young woman that struggled with undiagnosed ADD and severe procrastination. This woman just happened to be the Bride to Be. The woman who was in charge of executing my "unplanned" wedding plans that I was repeatedly asked to fax, threatened to quit every week. She was only a few years older than me and could not understand how the details of my wedding day were not the number one priority in my life. My explanations never seemed to quell her disgust.
“The dress maker at Bridal Fantasy thinks I should add padding in some critical places, so I have to go for all these extra fittings.”
She didn’t give a rats ass about my lame attempt to design my own dress, she just kept threatening to quit when I wasn’t being the dutiful Martha Stewart Bride. One morning while I was at work day dreaming about my honeymoon she called to ask if I was registered anywhere.
Very assuringly I responded, “Of course, I am.”¨
“Great” she said. “Where?”¨
“Rhode Island” I said.¨
“Where?” exhaling loudly.
Confused, I said, “Rhode Island"again.
“No, no, no! Which stores in Rhode Island?" she stammered.
“I didn't get my drivers license in a store.” I yelled.
The phone dropped to the floor. “Hello?” Click.
She threatened to quit again because of my lack of follow through with the menus, the ice sculptures and the dreaded seating arrangements. Mastering the seating plan required some background research. This was before google transparency existed. I sat my fiancé down and went over the list name by name and this is when I discovered that his best friend was a former loan shark and we would have to seat him with two other guys that had similar backgrounds. My mind instantly flashed to my deceased Grandfather, former Chief of Police who fought crime his entire adult life and now his eldest Granddaughter was about to invite three Mobsters to her wedding.
All three of them showed. I later learned that each one of them had a knife strapped inside their socks and one was even carrying a gun. The one carrying a gun escorted a Ginger Rogers look a like as his guest, who was not his Mob Wife. I had met his wife at his 50th Birthday party and she was very Motherly, except for the x-rated cleavage she displayed. I was ordered to burn any pictures of him and Ginger taken at the reception.
A year later, the same guy who ordered me to destroy the evidence of his infidelity invited my husband and I to his son’s wedding in Brooklyn. It was held at one of the largest wedding halls I have ever set foot in. The guests mingled and drank in the Palace Court then dined in the Crystal dining room. The food just kept coming. Just before the entrees were served, the Father of the groom made an announcement that he flew in a special band for the reception. Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge appeared on stage and began singing “16 Candles.” My Mother would have passed out. I was only twenty four years old, but I knew what legends they were.
As the band played on, I felt a confident tap on my shoulder. A husky man in a tuxedo asked me if I would do him the pleasure of dancing with him. I looked over at my husband. He smiled and nodded yes. The stranger took my hand and we walked over to the dance floor. Everyone at my table, including my husband stared over at us with no expression. Maybe it was fear I saw on their faces, but at the time I had no idea what was going on. I looked across the dance floor and spotted a woman in a very gold dress and remarkably tall hair looking straight at me. Undoubtedly the face of an angry Mob Wife. My dancing partner distracted me by asking me questions about my family and where I was from and what I was doing with my life. He was impressed that I put myself through college and that I loved my family. I asked him what he did for a living as the band started singing “Worst that could happen.” He was in the Insurance business. I enthusiastically replied, “So is my Dad!” He winked and whispered in my ear in a seriously frightening tone,“I can assure you that if you ever need anything, you can call me and if anybody and I mean anybody gives you a hard time, you call me, understand?” I looked straight at him and said, “Thank you, I do and I will.”
On the drive back into Manhattan my husband told me that the man I was dancing with was one of the most notorious gangsters on the East Coast. “Why did you let me dance with him?” “Nothing was going to happen to you?” he said with a bemused expression. I looked over at my husband and said, “He was actually very polite and told me if I ever needed him I should call him and he would be there for me.”
1992, the year my daughter was born, a certain Man decided to cooperate with the FBI and his confession brought down many Members of the Shark Tooth Club. The Family has never been the same. According to all sources, The Mob Wives are alive and kickin'.