I Know the Name was Daddy's Doing

Judy Tomaini Rock

 

 


I know the name was Daddy's doing, just so they would be reminded who the money came from, and to pay it back, which never happened. But it didn't surprise him as the brothers were takers and Daddy was a giver. I think it was before he and Mother met, and was in business for years, till the big bottlers took over the area. I remember the cream soda, and can taste it again, in the memory that flashes through my empty head, when the file cabinet in there is opened. They would always bring a few case down when they were headed to Miami to party with the "bosses" from NYC. The Long Branch bunch was in with the "mob" big time. Which was another reason Daddy didn't want to be around them. Slim was a country western singer, and pretty good at it. He always sang in the bars around LB, and some in NYC. We had a recording of him singing on a wire. That was a long time ago, way back before tape. And a photo of him in the restaurant singing.

 


My uncle John, who was in prison, serving time for a robbery/murder that went wrong, when Daddy took Mother to meet him the first time. He was an arsonist, as was Slim & Sonny his son. The other son of Slim, Gary was a cop. Kind of funny in a way. He was a good cop, if you discounted the super young, barley in their teens, like 12 and 13 year old girls, he kept company with, and he was always accommodating, by blocking certain roads, that the fire trucks would be using to get to the house that had just been set on fire, his Mother Ruth, was also the first female cop in N.J. Slim had a Japanese girlfriend, he kept in an apartment in LB, not far from his house, where he and his wife shared air space. Sonny was a fence, in the demolition business, and sold over stock from wholesalers. He had a huge warehouse full of (stolen?) stuff. Any time he did a fire or whatever, he would pick out the valuable stuff, and move it to the warehouse, before the fire was started. No one ever got to buy anything out of there, it was where he kept his little trophies from his jobs. And scattered among the architectural salvage that he did sell. They would even scope out old people that were terminal, but with old money. He would take them in and take care of them, and getting them to will everything to him. Then if they didn't die fast enough to suit him, they would just happen to lose their footing on the stairs or fall in a pond full of Ice. Sure don't understand how Daddy came from that blood.


John got out of prison and Daddy gave him a job at the camp, where he eventually had a heart attack, and died.


 Joseph was more high-class than most of them, and was City Commissioner. He was high on the list of the better brothers, and only a little crooked. He died in his 40's of a stroke. He had while driving his car. He swerved and missed some people walking on the sidewalk, where he ended up crashing into a building. And died before they could get him any help. He had two sons, Joe jr. and Eddie.


Since I was adopted, the feelings Eddie and I had for each other, the first time we met, was a wild fire out of control. Mother knew, and gave us her blessings, as he was her favorite nephew. She taught him how to cook and bake when he was a little boy. His eyesight was always real bad, and he wore coke bottle glasses. His older brother also had very bad eye problems. In the days before the death of my dad, Eddie came from LB to pick up Patti and I, to drive us up north. Patty was only a little girl, and was staying with Aunt Peg, Eddies Mom. He took me up to Boston a few days later. I stayed with Mother, while daddy was being tested for what ever was causing his brain problems. We were there a month. And like everything else in our family, where minor things become a major drama. We were living on the same street, the Boston Strangler was doing his dirty work. We were right in the middle of it. But didn't find out till we were back home, and read it in the paper. We were not afraid to walk down the street late at night, to go to an all night diner, where he was stopping in for coffee, when he would do his dirty deeds. I am sure now, our work here was not done, and that is why we were spared. Eddie and I never married, but remained close for the rest of our lives. Even giving Tina away when she married Alexzanders dad. He died May of 2004, from complications from diabetes. And a stroke. He was very loved, and will always be remembered as my Eddie. He even surprised me one day by telling Tina the story of us being in love, and that we almost married. So much water under the bridge, since those days of summer in 1962'


Ernest was the big gambler, that lived by the rule, that if his wife was on the nest, she wouldn't mess around. Which she didn't and would never think of it. They were my cousins, but it has been many moons since I last saw them. I did hear that two of them were drug addicts and died of AIDS. One was a Jockey, and raced at Monmouth Park where his Dad Ernest, made and lost millions in fixed races. Not hard when your kid is the jockey. He was real small. The opposite end of the spectrum. There were 2 girls, and I think a couple more boys were in that family too.


Army, the baby, lived on Long Island. He divorced his wife and several kids, and took up with a girl who went to the school where he was head coach for the football team. He had played Pro Football for the NY Giant's, what else. That was in 38' I think. He also did some time as a pro wrestler, The Mad Russian and some other masked worker. He had a Alumni ring, shaped like a stadium and covered in diamonds. That is what I thought was real neat. Just like the Super Bowl rings. A real conversation piece. He was a good guy, and only did a few little things wrong, but when he did, or was planning to, he got spooked by the tiny little voice in his heart, that told him it was tabu and not to get involved. So he didn't. I admired him for that, so many times it would be so easy for him to slip over the line, but nope not him. Daddy was a better business man than the others, as he could make his living, save a little, and do it the honest way. Uncle Army coached high school and even up till the time he died, dyed his beautiful silver curly hair black, thinking it would make him look younger, when in fact, it looked like a very old man, with dyed black hair. He died of cancer, a few years ago too.


Louise was the only girl in the family of guys. She was the baby sister, and they all looked after her when her Mom died. She was 12 when my parents got married. So they looked after her too. She had been spoiled rotten, by all the brothers, and was a real brat, and finely went to live with an elderly aunt. It was good for both of them. Aunt Delphine was able to look after her like a mom, and Louise could keep her company. It worked out real well for all the players. And who would have guessed that Louise would be, the knock on the door, a few years later. to hand over the little brother, that I only had for 3 years. Louise always had a weight problem, as did her youngest child Marie Adell. But she wouldn't admit it. She, through her eyes saw both of them as glamour girls. Boy did she get a wrong number. She was very coarse featured, with blue black hair, and a deep voice. Because she was so heavy, she walked like a man, even in dresses. Most un-lady like all the time. A guy in drag, was the best description of her. She was used to having the brothers put her in her place, and would argue with every one else. So she got booted out of the nest sooner than the others. Her other younger son spent a lot of time in prison, after being found guilty, of molesting a child under 12. So even though he was only half Tomaini, he followed the same paths to oblivion. When I started this memory, I was lost...   No idea what I had to deal with. And when the thoughts started appearing, so did the snippets of information, from past visits and talks with Mother. Me the one who can't remember what I opened the refrigerator for, am remembering all the last conversations from the past. And by documenting them, the memories will live on....

 

Image

1-Side of bottle box from Little Giant Beverage Co.

 

2007 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights Reserved

Published with the permission of Judy Tomaini Rock


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