So I’m 13 and a couple times a week my mom asks me to go to the cleaners to pick up my dad’s suits. It was only a few blocks away. It was your basic cleaners owned by a local guy, a Jewish guy, and his wife. This, however, is my little Italian neighborhood, nothing is basic.
It’s the fourth of July, I got some fireworks, everyone in the neighborhood does, some have more than anyone could have imagined, but this is my little Italian neighborhood.
My buddy asks me to ask my parents if we can make a long distance call aka known as a toll call back in the day. Hey. moron are you f…. N crazy? No s…… d, you ask your parents. My parents, no f…… N way. Wait Sal, I got an idear. What is it? I have an idear, just shut the f… K up, moron.
So Tony comes home from work, a macho mechanic, gold chains hangin from his neck, partially lost in his bare-chested hair. Hey Ton, you Tawkin to me moron. Shut the f…. K up. Sorry Tony… Hey Morin you deaf, shut the f….. K up!!!!
I’ll tell you about the cleaners last, the fourth was crazy, so many fireworks it was impassable for cars, so the cops blocked our block, they didn’t bother us, they never bothered us, the older guys made sure of that. By nights end there were trees on fire, the pavement was a foot deep in fireworks debris. It was 3 in the mornin and I didn’t think it would ever end. That was my little Italian neighborhood.
So we walked a few blocks to the supermarket where the phone booth is. Hey, moron who you Callin? Member Petie, he moved upstate, yeah, yeah, I member. How’s he doin? What’s the number. I picked up the phone a pay phone remember, dialed the number and pressed 0. The operator answered, and I said a collect call, but I said to bill to my home phone, but I didn’t have a home phone, but I gave her the number to call. The phone rang, it was the adjacent pay phone, I dropped the phone and answered the other pay phone. Hello…. This is the operator, would you accept a call to be billed to you? Yeah, operator I do… Thank you. I ran back to the other pay phone and the phone on the other end rang, and then answered…. PETIE how you doin? I successfully billed a pay phone for a collect call!!! Crazy, huh, not in my little Italian neighborhood.
Oh, the cleaners, I found out decades later was a front for money laundering, prostitution, drugs, and God knows what else.
The John Gotti Story
That is my little Italian neighborhood. You gotta problem with dat.
The Movie Goodfellas was loosely based on. The book a true story