When I was in sixth grade, a relative of mine who shall go nameless was sentenced to some time in a fed pen on RICO charges. The teacher (also of Italian descent) shut me up rather quickly during current events. "You watch too much television," she told me. "There is no Mafia." But I knew better.
The relative had taught me how to keep his books. His "books" was actually a ledger with pages of names of who owed him money and how much they had paid off. His friends (the people who owed him money) all had funny one word nicknames. I was a quiet child. And yeah, it felt good to be taught how to do something as grown up as "keeping the books."
Relative had also showed me his money press. I was suitable impressed. Somehow he must have sensed that I would keep quiet about it. I did. I told no one. Not even my parents.
After his stint in prison, relative relocated. Later on, someone else claimed to me that he was dead. Thus started hours of research. I found his name in some of the popular press mob books. I found no record of his death.
I don't believe he is dead. I believe he is in the Witness Protection Program, probably living on a ranch in Wyoming or Montana with a bunch of horses, forced to wear ten gallon hats and flannel shirts, and cursing every event that led him there.
If you are reading this my unnamed relative, know that I remember you with affection and that I love you.
sapphoq on life