When you were turning 13 how much did you know about the kids you were best friends with at school?
I remember 1973 for lots or reasons. It was the year that my father took me around the world and let me see places most kids would never ever get to visit, Saigon, Phnom Pehn, Vientiane (Laos), Bangkok, Chang Mai (Thailand), The Taj Mahal (India), a cow standing on a taxi in Old Delhi, India, a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem (never went to another after that, and I was 13), the Wailing Wall, Tehran (Iran), Rome, London, Tokyo, Honolulu. WHAT A SUMMER!
Before the summer I learned how to smoke for the first time. Two kids who went to Francis W Parker in Chicago were smoking cigarettes outside one of the emergency exit doors to the school. The younger of the two brothers was in my class (at least through April 14, 1973). He introduced me to his brother who taught me that smoking was the thing to do. Kids do stupid things when in the wrong groups. The two brothers were “Vito” and “Disto” DeStefano.
On the 14th of April 1973 they left school early and never returned. I heard later than their dad was apparently the victim of a mob assassination in his driveway. I guess the sons were taken out of school for safety or some reason relative to their dad’s murder. What I did not know until just last week when I decided to do a little memory research on Wikipedia, is that their father was the infamous Mobster, Sam “Mad Sam” DeStefano (September 13, 1909 — April 14, 1973), an American gangster who became one of the Chicago Outfit‘s most notorious loan sharks and sociopathic killers. In all, the DeStefanos had six children, four sons and two daughters. Am I glad all they did was teach me how to smoke. Thank God they did not invite me over to play after school.
I have never seen or spoken to the brothers since the day they left school. I can’t remember if we had a cigarette that day or not. I can only hope they have had a wonderful life following that tragic day.
- Chicago trial promises peek inside modern-day mob (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- ‘Large Guy’ convicted in Chicago racketeering case (seattletimes.nwsource.com)