The Passing of a Legend

Not Tony Volpe. (Al Aumuller, World Telegram staff photographer.)

Whenever a horrific story about gangland violence hits the news, my mother laments the passing of Connecticut’s mafia. It would seem that good ol’ Mom rather admired the way Italians ran off the smaller gangs, mostly managed not to kill innocent people, and had some sort of deranged code of honor. Of course, that didn’t mean she didn’t jump at the first chance she had to stop bartending for Tony Volpe back when I was just a wee little baby. (How many people do you know that can say their mothers used them as an excuse to stop working for a mobster? Not many, I bet.)

Anyway, my mother is a crier so I’m hoping she didn’t see the story in today’s Courant about Tony Volpe’s death. He was 78 and had been living quietly in West Hartford for years…no doubt lamenting the mess that Hartford has become thanks to unruly gang violence. I mean, if the movies have taught me anything, it’s that mobsters are quite often very lovable (I’m thinking King Benny in Sleepers). I mean, does anyone really care when professional criminals discretely kill other professional criminals? (Or if they take control of our garbage collection?) No, we mostly care when some poor kid on his bike gets caught up in the crossfire. Thanks a lot, FBI.

So, Mr. Volpe, know that my mother will miss you for her own slightly misguided reasons.