- Posted April 12, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
'60s family photos
Fuzzy, Taffy, and Me
At my Bar Mitzvah, February 1, 1969. Fuzzy is what you think he is...a bookmaker. He was the most famous bookmaker in Cleveland. Taffy was his girlfriend. I lived the life of a kid where scenes from The Godfather, A Bronx Tale, and Casino were just everyday life for me.
Meanwhile Fuzzy had a heart of gold. For my 8th birthday my father took me downtown and we saw Fuzzy. Finding out it was my birthday he took out brand new 50 $1 bills and said "here kid...happy birthday." That was in 1964 and $50 was like $5,000 to me at the time.
I later heard from my mother, who shared the same dentist as Fuzzy, that he would ask the dentist to show him his book of money owed. Any name he recognized as being Lebanese (which he was) he would pay the dentist in cash and tell him not to say who did it.
One time he was going into the hospital and handed over a big garbage bag to my father..."to hold in case anything happens to me". When my father brought the bag home my mother asked him to open it "just to see what was inside". My father replied in a way that Robert De Niro could appreciate- "are you crazy?". He never opened it and gave it back a few days later. And somehow I think Fuzzy knew he wouldn't.
Those were great days. In many ways there was a lot more honor, class, and truthfulness by those guys taking $20 on a horse than most of the 'respected' businessmen you see today.