One time while traveling in China with Mr Wong, my intermediary and interpreter, we left my hotel, a small dinky thing with rooms that were unbelieveable. Each room had open grill work near the ceiling of it’s sidewalls that opened to the rooms on either side, so you could actually hear the persons in their rooms talking and laughing. It was like sharing your room with them with high sounding Chinese conversations and laughter, but worst of all, was the smell of smoke from their chinese cigarettes that flowed through into my room like air conditioning. After years of travel in Asia, I was used to unbelievable things happening, especially in China, so, I accepted it and made sure to be out of the room as much as possible. Off we went, but not realizing that I would need my passport, I left it in my room for safe keeping, as once before my passport disappeared in Thailand. another story for another time!
Well, we traveled to our first manufacturer to check on a small order I had placed with them on my earlier visit two months before. Naturally, in those early years, China knew nothing about quality, so there was no quality control and the product was very poorly made, so I rejected it all, and proceeded to show them why. The manager, like all government run factories, was an pompous ex-high ranking soldier, saw what was wrong and promised to remake all and send new samples to my Hong Kong office for approval. Naturally I was frustrated and upset because I had promised the customer who had given me this order a prompt delivery. With this in mind, I was frustrated and my temper was raw, but we had a much bigger manufacturer to inspect, in a town in a different district from where we were ( after 45 years, I can’t remember the exact name of the town). At the time, I didn’t realize that when you traveled from one district to another you had to show your passport, or other papers before you could enter, as this was the way the central government kept control of all their people, keeping towns into districts to separate them from each other and keep them under control, by having comparatively small groups of people seperate. So after three hour a driving very slowly to go the forty miles to our next stop, I was even more frustrated as while on the road the people had the right of way and didn’t move from the road, so you had to travel at bike or walking speed, cars were new on the scene and didn’t count, it was one car trying to get by thousands of people on the road. When we finally arrived at the entrance to the city where our manufacturer was, there was a road block and we were all asked to get out of the Mercedes to be inspected. There was soldiers with machine guns at their chests standing across the road. Out we came and each of us were asked for our papers. When the officer in charge came to me, I said through Mr Wong, my interpreter, I had left my passport in my hotel. Naturally he couldn’t speak English and I could not speak Cantonese Chinese, so Mr Wong explained who I was, and I’m sure he said, to placate the officer, that I was a stupid American and didn’t know about the Law. The soldier shook his head and said to Wong that I could not go any further and must go back. Wong translated to me leaving out whatever was rude, saying the law was that you had to show legal papers to enter and leave from one district to another, and that we had to go back because of my not having papers. I asked him if he could go and he replied that all 3 of them in the car was allowed in. I then walked straight into the soldiers that was in the middle of the road and tried to brush past one, when he stuck the machine gun into my stomach. I looked him in the eye, head to head, and pointed to my round eyes and said “I’m an American and don’t need to follow Chinese rules”. It was a stalemate and the officer came over yelling at me, but I pushed through and dared them. Nothing happened, as the officer realized it would be a big mistake to stop or hurt an American,as it would turn major incident, so he told his men to stand down, and I went through with the car eventually following me. I won’t ever forget how really stupid I was, because as the years went by I saw things that went on in China that were unbelieveable: Men hanging from trees with a sign telling of what they had done, usually something very minor, but illegal, like selling rice over the government required price. WOW!!!
By the way, a little story about when China began building highways throughout the cities, connecting them all! It’s funny, but true on how things existed in China in the 70’s.
It’s called “The car wash” look for it. It’s coming as another White Knight Adventure.

The American Way

What about The American Way? It was a Washing Machine Company, and one of the newest in business. A friend, Peter Virgilio, and I decided to go into business together. I was 21, and very self-confident and impressionable, especially since my father had 5 businesses going at that time, and I guess it rubbed off. So, although I never had worked on Washing machines, except for our own at home, I felt it would be great to try, especially since Peter who was a little older than me, had worked  for a washing machine company called Frigidaire, so between us, we figured we could handle anything that came along. We looked for a little store nearby that we could rent, and sure enough one was available across Mosholu Parkway on the main retail street called Rochambeau Ave. It was a good location as it was in a Jewish section who mainly lived in high rise apartment buildings, where residents had washing machines. So, we called our new little company “THE AMERICAN WAY WASHING MACHINE COMPANY.

As yet, dryers had not been invented and washing machines were simply a round tub on 4 legs having a wringer inside and on top edge was a swinging arm that rotated horizontally and in the arm was 2 revolving 12″ hard rubber rollers that squeezed out water as you placed the wet cloths just washed, through them. That was the total that the washing machine did, but it was a lot better than using what my mom used all her life, and that was a framed board that has ribs running horizontally across it. Where a women placed the wet cloths from the sink water onto it and rubbed them vertically onto the board till the dirt was forced out of them. Afterwards, the cloths were rinsed and rung by hand till most of the water was out of them. Then onto the cloths line out the back window to dry in the sun, that is, if you were lucky enough to have a large on open space for the sun to enter. Most building at that time were 10 to 20 feet apart and sunlight never really entered there. Actually, the higher up you were the better chances the cloths had to dry, especially since the cloths line from apartment above you, dripped leaking water from their drying cloths. So, the new washing machines were a big jump forward for women, yes, still needing cloths lines but less drying time.


Back to our new adventure! Now after we set up our shop  with the few tools we both had, and painted a big sign saying “The American Way Washing machine Co. placed it high above our store front window. I next painted a sign on the glass window telling we could repair any make washing machine and charge by the hour, I then found out that Peter could only fix machines he had learned how to fix on his last job, but could not manage any others. So, I was the fixer upper on those, which turned out to be most. However, it was fun to take them apart and learn as I worked, figuring out the how and why, each part worked. Once started, we managed to barely pay for the rent and electric bills, but heck we were still living at home and needed nothing more to live on. I now bought a 1947 -2 door Pontiac that had a perfect


trunk for carrying a machine, from Mr Brutto, my father and our families closest friend, so I could easily transport a machine back to our store and then figure out how to repair it. One of my first customers was a woman who lived on Belmont Ave in the Bronx and was the wife of the man who sold me my 1937 DeSoto. Tony (Cher’aze) Guerrero. He was a character and one to watch and learn, but his wife was charm herself, and her name was Carmella. She kind of knew that I was lost with her machine, but she patiently said for me not worry and take my time, I did and finally found the problem, which was that the machine needed a new water pump. I told her I’d return with a new one in a day or so. She said sit down and have a cup of coffee, and we talked. She was so different than Tony, and showed class in every way and but warm to talk to. At the time, I didn’t have any association with women other than my Mother and two sisters. She made me relax and I liked her for it. I came back the next day with a replacement pump, and  told her it was a used part we had in stock. I finished repairing the machine and it worked perfectly again. She asked me how much? I  said no charge as she was like family. She refused to accept it and said please you must charge me or else I won’t call you again if it breaks again.What could I do? I charged her $15.00 for both the part and my service. Boom! she paid it gladly and became my friend for life, as whenever we met at family get together’s, we would meet and chat happily.A few years later, My sister Elizabeth would marry Tony’s brother Dominick, who became a true brother to me, and the Love of our whole family.

Our business grew a little, but it wasn’t enough for two partners, so I told Peter that he could take over completely, as I was going to work for my families trucking company, and I did. Pete eventually closed the store and began driving a NYC taxi at night. We kept in touch and “hung” out with our other 205 St friends by going to dances in Yonkers, where I met Barbara Peters. Peter didn’t like her, and I couldn’t understand why, but much later after many years, I heard he was gay and wanted to keep our relationship. His close friend, Joe Ragusa, and he had a long and strong relationship from growing up together on Villa Ave, the main Italian section in the area. His reasons for our partnership may have been different than what I thought. Crazy thing was Joe Ragusa was a quasi-famous local strong man, I can remember seeing him at a local restaurant showing his strength, by having two men sitting on a table where he would get under it and raise it till it was over his head…Strong!!. Yes! that he thought he was god’s gift. One time he pulled a loaded garbage truck with his teeth and at another time held a man driving a mini motor cycle on a circular platform on his back and arms, as the man drove round and round.

I did go to work at Bianco Bros, and this was my second time, as I was there when I was 13, working along with my father and his brothers. Actually I learned to drive a truck at that time, as small as I was then, just under 5′. I’ve written some stories about working with two of my uncles, Joey, and Tony that were part of my loving to drive and being part of a wonderful family. At the younger age I would get up with my father at 3;00 am and he would have his coffee that he shared with me, It was a concoction that contain day old black coffee with a shot of Dewars scotch with very little sugar. After I drank a slug, It would hit me…POW!, but what good it did do was to keep me warm in the half hour drive to the 33rd St railroad yards (Now the sight of the New York Coliseum which will be closed). Once there, we would meet up with my Uncles, Al, Mickey, Joey, Tony, and two hired helpers. The routine never changed, as my father had a pair of wire cutters to snap the special Federally controlled seal put on when they closed the freight car. This seal my father kept to bring back to the wholesaler we were bringing the beef to, as it showed that the beef inside was according to the “Bill of Laden”. The door were swung open and a blast of freezing cold air would come shooting out into our faces.. in the summer it was great, but the winter…! Then the first truck was backed so that one side of the back portion was directly  in front of the opened door. at that side inside the truck were rails connected to the ceiling, that allowed rolling hooks to move along them easily with the load of 3 to 4 hundred pounds of beef. On the other side in the back were all the hooks necessary to fill the truck with beef. that would be hind quarters and Fore quarters. look inside for thr hooks we used.


Fore Quarter           Hind Quarter

 My Father the oldest, and in charge of all that went on, would stand along side of the rail end with an empty hook positioned to be able to hook the beef either a hind of Fore- quarter. Now came the hard part each brother would then grab at the quarter of beef and swing it on his shoulder. He would then come to my father who would place the hook into the beef, at the leg end for the hind, and in the center of the breast for the fore-quarter. it didn’t take long for me to learn and then do what each brother did. I learned that it was not the weight that counted, but how you handled the quarter. big muscles were not the key, but using your bone structure properly making them meet each other like a steel bar, to handle the weight. It usually took 3 trucks to empty one railroad car and sometimes we had 2 to unload, so it was just about 6 am when we would then drive to 14th St to the wholesaler. There each truck was backed into a place that had a railing that would meet the trucks railing. It was then an easy job to connect a special rail between the two and begin to simply roll all the beef onto it and into the cooler of the wholesaler. After finishing, was the fun part, as we all would come around a steel barrel that had a large fire going. flame and smoke would spew out along with fire bright sparks flying into the night sky. Now everyone was laughing, telling joke a stories, with my uncle Tony in the lead. He was the funniest and all would laugh, but what was best to watch my father as he would be there with a slightest smile that made every brother love him even more, not to mention my feelings. It was at this time I would become an acrobat, where I would take a roller hook, grab onto it and              “RIDE THE RAILS” with everyone watching and laughing. I would fly down the rails just  as the beef had done, with the men working there knowing to close certain switches allowing me to go from retailer to retailer. I’d do it a few times but always waiting till “They arrived”. who were “They”.. well it was the royal NYPD mounted police.. five of them. They came for the comradely, and our fresh coffee and donuts. they’d arrive and place the horses bridles onto the side view mirrors of out trucks. they did this every day and most of all on Fridays.. why you’d ask? For their share of all the meat that fell off the trucks as we delivered it. The brothers were not trough yet, as now each had a truck to load and deliver to the A&P warehouses to unload and come back thereafter finally ending their day at 3 to 4 o’clock. and again doing the same thing the next day and the next…

When I came back in my 20’s, I was now doing everything that my uncles did and then some, as I would take a second load after they as  were finished, with my father waiting for me so we both could go home to the Bronx. After a few years of this I made enough to buy a brand new Two-tone green Mercury Hard Top  for $3500, as my mom saved every penny I made till the day I needed it. At the time, I was going pretty steady with Barbra Peters, did so till we were married in May of 1957.




She was Wonder Woman, and she was my mother


it won’t finish till I’m no longer here

 As I was pondering on how to begin this history of my wonderful mother, I began to realize that in order to tell my memory of it, I was actually going to tell about my life growing up. All my formative years were controlled by my “DOING” things for her, no, not really for her personally, but to make things better for our family and home. I loved every second of it, but better still it made me who I am today. 

My first memory is me sitting under a metal kitchen table, looking at the table legs and my Moms as well. I could walk, but was hiding because my mother was trying to give me medicine which I later learned was Castor Oil. I knew what that tasted like and certainly wasn’t going to take it again. I had a very, very bad ear ache, just one of the many I would have for the rest of my life. There was someone else in the room, but I could not see him, as he was in a very high chair, which really was mine. I was crying because he was in my chair and eating from a spoon my mom was feeding him with. How did I know? Cause I would sneak out a little and watch. I didn’t like him because he used to bite my toes when my mom would carry me around in a little sack tied in front of her. Oh, by the way, at the time, I had double pneumonia and no one was allowed to touch me. That’s all I remember of that occasion, but my mom was there making me get better, and no fooling around!

Because of that sickness, I was kinda spoiled and my Aunt Angie, who at the time was very beautiful, thin, and had a husband, Uncle Frank Pici, that I later found out was a bum, and left her in the lurch. She would come up to the fifth floor daily, where we lived, to play with me. She had no children and treated me like her own. She would take me down to her apartment on the third floor on the other side of the floor from my Grandparents, near the bathroom for that floor.  She would let me crawl around on her floor, and it was fun because the house had a different smell than our house, which always smelled of food, while hers smelled like candy. She would keep me for hours so that my mom could cope with all the other kids, to make the meals, clean the house, then to come down to my grandmothers to cook for all her in-laws. She would come get me when she was done, wipe my running nose and carry me up to have our meal. No, nothing special for me, cause after she ran out of mothers milk, I had to be a big boy and eat what everybody else ate. Who was everybody else you ask? Well, there was my father, who never talked, then my big sister Elizabeth who was 4 and a half years older then me, then my sister Jeanie who was three years older than me, and finally my spoiled brat brother who was one and a half years older than me. At this phase I was about three years old, and actually very bright, at least I thought I was. All us kids slept in one bed, in a very tiny room that just fit the bed. You had to crawl out over the back to go into the kitchen, which was after we passed through my parent’s room which was not much bigger than ours. The kitchen was the center of all that went on in our house. It was where we did everything. Wash, bathed, ate, homework, played games, cried but no one listened, and most importantly kept warm. Why you might ask? Well, we had no heat or hot water in our little home, and get this; you had to walk to the other side of the building to be able to go to the bath room. You couldn’t go unless all the kids would. Why? Cause it was scary. We had fun there only because we wanted to forget the boogeyman that was just around the corner; so we used to listen to each person who went to into the little stall that we all had to use, one at a time. It had no lights and had a big box high up with a long chain that I couldn’t reach and a bowl that was also too high for me. If anyone made any sound we would all scream and laugh, saying “We heard you toot”. Actually, we were scared because it was dark, cold, and we always heard noises, they turned out to be the pigeons on the roof in a coop, which was just above our heads. When we were all finished and made everyone pay the price for making even little squeak, by laughing and “you made a noise… Ha Ha Ha“., we would head back to go to bed. Our mom was ready with hot bricks. each wrapped in a towel and we each got one to put at our feet, and off to bed we’d go. Giggling and saying who would sleep where. The kitchen was heated by a kerosene stove that smelled awful, and on top of it, she heated everything from water for our baths, all our meals, fresh bread, and those red bricks.  The bigger girls had the top of the bed and Al and my self would be on the bottom. When our cousins would come and stay overnight with us, we’d have to make room for two more, Maryann and Elizabeth Abbot. It was always so much fun, cause we knew the next day we would all go downstairs to Grandma and Grandpa’s to have a big feast. Best of all, Grandpa would line us up and ask us each, to do something to get the nickel that he held out to us. Starting with the oldest first, he would ask our name. Here you must remember, he only spoke Italian and we all knew what he said, but we were never allowed repeat it! No Italian for this new generation! So starting with my sister Elizabeth, she being at the front on the line, would announce who she was and do something to please my grandfather. She was bold and brazen and didn’t let anyone including him to scare her. This certainly was not true for the rest of us. Next was my sister Jeanie, who would be crying cause she didn’t want to do it, but she knew she had to, so she would begin crying and singing at the same time. “Billy Boy, Billy Boy, where are you going”. “Billy Boy, Billy boy, can I come too?” All this as she cried. Then everyone would clap and laugh. Please remember that everyone would be there. All 9 children of my Grandparents, with all their kids, or about 29 people all together… Oh, I forgot, we always had Uncle Tom and Uncle Mike there as well, as they were my Grandfathers close batchler friends from Italy, who he sponsored and brought to America. Uncle Tom was a skinny little man with a big black mustache, who had a crazy giggle, while Uncle Mike was a tall thin reserved man who dressed impeccably, wearing fancy arm garters and was our family bootlegger, looked the part. They both were a part of our everyday family lives, sharing our meals, and we all called them Uncle.

So, next was Cousin Maryann, and when she came to the front of the line and it was her turn, she went up to him. He would ask her name, and she would say Maryann Abbott. He would stop her! Say “You are not a Bianco?“ Then tell her to go to the back of the line. He did the same with the next person, who was Cousin Elisabeth, her sister. Then came my brother Al, well, he was the inheritor of all that was Bianco, so he was allowed to do nothing, just smile, and get his nickel. Please remember here, that a nickel was a lot of money in those days, as people only earned $25.00 for 48 hour a week. Now it was my turn, I was next and came in front of Grandpa, and he would say, “You take this money and go to the coffee store and buy me De’ Noble cigars, and with the change buy candy.”  Next came my sister Marie, who was just a baby, but the most beautiful little girl you ever saw, my Mom was considering putting her in a beauty contest. He would give her a nickel and a kiss, which smelled of wine and cigars. Most of the other kids, Cousin Al, Betty, Neil , little Neil, were either not born yet, or too little to participate, but later they too would be in the line. That would end the session and all the men would sit down and play cards. Please realize that this was done every Sunday, no matter were his children lived. Sunday was the family all together day.

However, it was my mother who did all the cooking and baking. Wanna know what we had for Sunday meals? Well, first course was always soup. My mom would start very early in the morning by sending us all off to church for the 7 am mass. then she would go down to the third floor and begin cooking. The soup, which was usually Stracciatella soup, which was beating raw eggs (as in  scrambled) pouring them into a boiling hot spinach broth that had loads of garlic. Next she would prepare her tomato sauce, which would take a few hours; her meatballs were made with all kinds of spices and browned separately, then held till the sauce was boiling and thickening steadily, then add them, but many always disappeared in the waiting process. She had  previously prepared  “braciole”, by taking flank or skirt steaks by laying them flat on the board splitting their thickness with the grain  to be able to put on each all her special ingredients. They were chunks of garlic, finely cut cilantro, or parsley, and freshly  grated  imported Parmesan cheese. She would then roll up each halved flank steak, tie it from a roll of “saved” string which always hung above, then cut each in half crosswise. These were then slightly browned in a frying pan then fin ally added to the sauce at the same time as the meatballs to blend in their flavors to make the sauce thick and flavorful. Besides the brachole, she always added sausages, pork chops and veal.

The next course was always some kind of roast beef that actually became the main course after the pasta and sauce meat. If everybody in the family was there for the meal, there was always and roasted chicken as a “filler”. Please remember that meat was always in abundance, cause our family was in the trucking business, called Bianco Bros., delivering meat to wholesalers and butchers. For some crazy reason, as my Uncles delivered the meat, there was always some pieces that would kinda fall off the truck by accident, and you couldn’t throw away good food Along with the meat, there was always some cooked vegetables. I must point out here, my mother who was a great cook and pastry maker, usually cooked the veggies too long, but hey, so what! Directly after the meat course, came a salad to allow everyone to digest their meal. Nuts and fruit were then served along with tons of laughter as well as everybody teasing of each other for one reason or another. At this point the Chestnuts would be in the oven, forgotten. Yes, every time! The men would sit back down and begin to play cards after the women cleared up, with my Mom running the show. 

On weekdays, she would wake us up at six am, make us dress for school, then send us off to mass without breakfast so we could all receive communion, thereafter, return home to eat and then finally off to school. We all went to St Patrick’s school which was around the corner from our building.

St Patricks

The church, St Patrick’s Old Cathedral, was directly across from us and it was just steps away. It was done within a half hour. We did have two barriers to cross every morning, and they were our going down four flights of stairs to the last level which had “Bums” that slept on the stairs going down to the ground level. Amazingly, we had no problem with them, in fact we got to know most, and found out about how they wound up there. One guy was really very intelligent and liked to talk to us. It seems they all were sober that early in the morning and didn’t start drinking until they left. The reason they used our building as a place to sleep, was that they were chased by the Police in the area where all the bars were, Third Ave, just three block west of us. Some went to a little park, some went to “Jersey Alley”, and some found buildings like ours to sleep in. At times, when we walked on Third Ave in the afternoon, we would see drunks sleeping inside the columns of the “ell”, an elevated train track going North and South on Manhattan Island that traveled up and down Third Ave. Many were killed by cars when they fell asleep and lost their grip on the ell pillar and just flopped into the street where cars were zooming by. Every so often a “paddy wagon” would cruise by and pick up all the drunks, take them to a deserted place and dump them there. You would think we were frightened of all this, but we knew we were safe on Mulberry St, cause every adult acted as our parent and kept watch over us and thought nothing of it to yell at us or threaten us by making an attempt at a swing, mainly to just frighten us to listen and be good. My mother knew it was safe on our street and never worried for our safety, as long as we stayed on our street. When we were home from school and would play downstairs in front of building, she would look out our window and check on us. We had someone watching full time over us as well, and it was my Grandmother, who looked out her third floor window most of the day. She and her neighbors, all doing the same, would whistle to each other and then talk in Italian and laugh and laugh. She loved to laugh and every time we’d visit her, which was at least three times a day, she never stopped laughing. She was big, I mean big… six feet tall and at least 300 pounds, all of it shaking as she laughed. Because my Mom was an “In-law” she treated her as most mother-in-laws treated their sons wives. She always made my mother subservient to all of her family, but my Mother took it. If they ever did it front of my oldest sister Elizabeth, she would yell at them and say how wonderful my mother was and how she did everything for them. After a while, none of my Aunts, or my grandmother would dare to say anything in front of my sister.

My mother never bought “ready-made” anything, as she did it all herself. Every few days she would make bread that was better than any store bought stuff. She would finish the bread and then make macaroni… Gnocchi, linguine, shells, which we called “Bobbies noses”, manicotti, ravioli, and with the little dough that was left over , she fried E’ Zeppa-la, which was extra bread dough pieces dropped into very hot vegetable oil. She’d take it out after it was crispy brown, then shake powered sugar over them. Many times she would stick mozzarella bits into the fresh dough, or her homemade jam, or even little fish, into the middle before she dropped it into the oil.

It was fun to help her, as she would sing as she worked. She loved to sing and did so all of her life. I have audios of her singing when she was 95. Somewhere in this story, I’ll have her singing away. While she sang she would take a large round board about three foot in diameter and place it on our metal table with a towel in between. Her rolling pin was a three foot solid wood bar of about two inches thick and she was be able to do wonders with it. When making macaroni, she would roll out the dough till it was paper thin and nearly the size to the round 3foot diameter board, then put the rolling pin down in the center, and lay one half over it. She would then pick up the dough and be able to place it over a cord tied across two places. this allowed the dough to dry. When it was dry, she would again pick it up, put it back on the board, and cut it into the different shapes of macaroni she had planned to make that day. All our meals were fresh like the pasta she made every few days. All our vegetables were from jars that she previously canned; everything from eggplants, to string beans, all our fruit was from jars that she canned, which included peaches, pears, apple sauce, but mainly tomatoes. Tomatoes were the most important, and she would have us all help to cut, clean, crush, squeeze them, then into the jars and caps we washed, with new rubbers washers that finally sealed the jars. We’d help her when she poured the cooked boiling hot tomatoes into the waiting jars. Hot! Hot! Hot! It was wonderful to help but more to watch her being so happy with all of us around her. She would sing the same songs over and over. ( “You can’t be true dear… there’s nothing more to say”) She lived for us, but she lived for my father even more, and used our fear of him to frighten us to be good. I was usually the guy who got into trouble, as I wanted to try everything and wound up being more in the way than anything else.

This ends my first attempt at this writing, and I’m amazed at how much comes back as I write. It’s 11:00 Pm on January 3rd, 2012. A lot more to come, as I’m only about 8 years old and my mom now began to teach me to be me, by making me do all the things that needed to be done, my father came home after working 15 hours every day… exhausted. 

It’s now May 4, 2012, and I’ve just edited it again with a few changes that my memory recalled as I reread this.

Now it’s 12/30/2014, after a terrible year of first finding I had an Ascending aortic aneurism, then Cancer, an Ileostomy procedure after the cancer operation (wearing a bag outside my stomach) while my intestines healed from the surgery, and finally the big event! A Triple by-pass from heart failure.

Rereading the above makes me realize how wonderful our lives were growing up with a mother who lived only for her Children, what God created women for. Life has changed as now women want to be independent, making their children second to their own desires.

 Its now Oct 30th 2015 and again I’ve slightly edited it and now will continue on growing up with my Mom guiding me.

As well as canning each year for all the family to share and then some, my Mother would take all her children to Harvey’s Lake in Pennsylvania, where she grew up. My father would drive us there through the most beautiful country, The Delaware Water Gap and it‘s Indian head mountain, beneath it a famous hot dog stand called “Johnnies Hot Dogs” where we would stop each time for a long awaited pee, then onto Yatesville, Penn. He would stay overnight and then back to work in New York. We would fit right in with my Mother’s family in Yatesville, Pa. who consisted of her older sister Aunt Mary, her husband Ralph Rossi, there 4 sons, Freddie, Carmen, Anthony, and Louis; her two brothers, one, Louis Fabrizio who owned a coal mine, and his younger brother, Anthony, neither had any children at this time. There was two younger sisters, Alice and her husband, James,with two sons, Vince and Armando and a daughter, Lillian; and finally,  Aunt Florence, divorced, with one son, Vincent. who we called Vincy-boy

We had been coming here for as long as I can remember, and after two weeks we all would travel on to Harvey’s lake, where there was a beautiful house that was actually on the lake and it was owned, by Uncle Louis. We would settle in and all the boys slept in one room and the girls in another. Thereafter each day was a wonder, as we did all the things boys do… swim underwater, row our boat, and fish, and fish, and fish, as it became our mainstay, along with all the jars of canning that came from the big garden in Yatesville, as my moms sister and her Mom always canned everything they grew. The two women who stayed were my Mom and Aunt Alice, both two peas in a pod! Freddie and Carmen were a little older and they would “pin” in the local bowling alley, and as each of us got older over the years, we would wind up doing the same thing. The camaraderie among the boys was great each protecting the others, and the girls did the same, except they had to pitch in at mealtime… Hey! Boy will be boys with no time left to help out after a terrific day at doing everything, best of all. GETTING INTO TROUBLE!!! As for Little Vincy-boy, being very small and young, would just love to fish all day in one place,,, so it was easy for us to watch him on that same bank along the lake. Being that the house was on the water, the front porch was actually in it, so you could dive from the porch directly into the water. One day my brother Al decided to try to dive, but he picked a place that was somewhat shallow and he dove straight down, instead of  straight out allowing him to enter the water at an angle. So sure enough, he landed directly on his head, boom, out like a light. We all jumped in to help him and dragged him to the edge of the water, he was very heavy since he was unconscious, and a little fat. Out he came, but with blood running down his head. Somebody ran for my Mom who was screaming as she ran to us. She held him in her arms as he awoke crying. Sure enough, he had a big cut on his scalp but that was all, so we all looked at each other and started to tease him. Yah yah!- Yah yah!- Yah! Yah! What a ding dong! It turns out Al always did a belly-flop and always hurt his stomach, but this time he went straight down and boom, that was using his head! Ha, Ha-Ha !!! Sometimes My Mom and Aunt Alice would run out of food, and they would toast their homemade bread and put sugar on it, and that was our food. I never learned where they got money in the first place, but they managed somehow.

When the summer ended and we had to go back to school, my father was there to bring us home. He always drove the same way each time and it was through the small cities of New Jersey… Boring but more importantly we had to hold “it” in till we got to Delaware Water Gap and finally “Johnny’s Hot Dogs”. My mother was smart enough to keep us quiet by saying as all mother’s would say. “It’s just around the corner”, or, “Just a little further over the next hill” and we all would say, “Oh Mom”!!!!


Where was I ???

Oh Heck… Where was I? No! Not where am I? But “was” not “am”, and it’s about where I fell asleep. I’m sure it’s happened to everyone at one time or another! Your reading something very interesting and next thing you know you fall asleep and when you awake, you now need to find your place. What could be worse than that? Well in today’s world, how about your listening to an ebook and you eventually fall asleep… now this is a real problem, cause it could be many, many chapters that you’ve missed, or worse still the ebook comes to an end. Looking to find the place where you remember you listened to before you fell asleep is a real bummer. It’s a problem of the future, cause a lot of what’s offered today, is in the “clouds “.

So, I’ve come up with a product to solve the one where falling asleep when listening to an “E”book. Whatever gadget your using to listen, has the same problem, there is no other connection to you other than the earphones and the sound coming out. It will continue to send out that sound of the person reading whatever you’re listening to no matter what your condition. One solution is to hire a baby sitter to sit there watching you, till you fall asleep, and then proceed to wake you, or press the “II” to stop it. Another more private way would be for you buy a “Where was I” device to let you sleep peacefully, but it stops where you fell asleep… and no problem arising again, having to say… “Hey, where was I?

I’ve found a company that makes a product they use for another purpose,that will also solve my need, but I

need an agreement from them to produce it only for me and not market it themselves, as  they actually produce the item now but sell it only as a part to other companies, for other uses. With that accomplished, I now have begun selling it. To who you might ask? well, the largest ebook seller is Audible .com, and it is now a division of Amazon, now the largest retailer in the world. Small world isn’t it? OH! Where was I? sorry! I plan to sell the idea to them as a complete package, thereafter with an added very small percentage for my input. That should solve the retail end.



My Bianco family and how it started in America…

In order to get a true feel of where my father came from and how he lived, I will need to touch on his parents.  They both were unique in that they did not fit the term Immigrant. My Grandfather was a man that drove himself forward as soon as he arrived here in lower Manhattan in the year 1894. He was single, strong, and very smart. He immediately found work in a large fish market, called Fulton Fish Market  and after a while, saw that he could fill a need for people who lived in buildings on Mulberry St, where he lived, all of which had many floors. If they wanted fish, they had to plan to shop for it separately as it was sold only in the one area near the river. So, he bought a “push” cart and began buying “end of the day” fish at low prices, as he bought them from his old bosses knowing what they paid for each particular fish. He would start very early every morning and begin his route on Mulberry Street at Canal St, mainly because all the people living there were Italian emigrants who spoke no English. He would walk along yelling OH Pesh!! OH Pesh, and as he pushed, a bell hanging on a wire across his cart would ring and ring, with the bounce of his pace. People came and bought, more and more, as they learned that his fish was fresh, his prices were fair, and mainly because he gave them credit, trusting them to pay when they didn’t have the money at the time he came by. I don’t know how much he earned, but it must have been substantial, because he was able to save enough to travel back to Italy after only 5 years, and then as an American Citizen, to marry and return with his new wife to continue his business and begin a family. His wife, a giant of a woman for an Italian of her time, was from a family called Belloise, who were associated with his family living on the hillsides of Vesuvius Mountain, which has little towns along it’s base, and one called Avellino, was where they lived. Both families were notorious for being “Robin hood type bandits” on the local highways going through the mountains heading North and South. I believe, but am not sure; a bandit called Il Tremilyre was his grandfather, whose name was Salvatore Bianco. This Salvatore was also famous for his flirtatious ways as he walked through the towns, with his shotgun on his shoulder, acting pompously being the warden for the local Baron’s land.

When Aniello arrived back in New York with is new wife in early 1901, she was very close to having their first child. In September of that year, she did and it was a boy, who one day, would be my father, Salvatore Anthony Bianco, the first of nine living children of my Grandparents. There were one or two babies that didn’t make it in between, at least that is what Aunt Millie, their youngest daughter, told me. It was very common in those days that babies were lost to disease, or some other malady, so parents just accepted it, even though they were very sad at their loss. When my father was born, he was treated like a little god. As in all Italian families, the first son would inherit all from his father to carry on the name and traditions. So, from the start, he was spoiled and got whatever he wished. What was very different about my Grandfather was that he told everyone who spoke English, to speak only American English to his son. Yes, his children were to understand Italian, but English was to be spoken in and around them, and this was very surprising as he only spoke Italian. Thereafter, every 18 months or so, another child was born to them. Next to come along was a daughter, named Louisa, then another, Aniello, and another, Angelina, and another, Anthonio, and another, Michelle, and another, Josepeh, and another, Rafaella, and another, Amelia, and finally that was it, and just enough! It took fourteen years to accomplish this and all the other boys learned fast that they were always beholding to Salvatore. One time, many years later in the mid forties, when I was 10, while working with my Uncles, Michelle, or Mickey, told me that my father got everything and all the other sons could do was watch and envy him.

Salvatore was sent to Kindergarten at age 5 and his teacher was a Miss Speirer. She was wonderful with Children, as I can attest to, as I too, was taught by her when I too was only five. The school was around the corner on Prince Street, between Mulberry and Mott, and was called St Patrick’s School. It was the school set up by it’s church that was located around the corner on Mulberry St between Prince and Houston Sts, it was called St Patrick’s Old Cathedral. A Newer, Bigger, and more famous Cathedral, also called St Patrick’s, was built in Mid-town on Fifth Ave and 39th St. very much later, where a Cardinal was in residence who was called Cardinal Spellman. After his death, a very large High School was built in his honor called Cardinal Spellman. At any rate, and no matter what, our church was wonderful, beautiful and had catacombs beneath it. Completely surrounding it was a very old Cemetery that dated back to the earliest days of when Manhattan was just beginning under British rule. In that cemetery there was an actual Prince who was buried there just after the church was founded. He had a tall column as his grave headstone that way went above the height of the 12 foot red brick walls surrounding the church. From Our Grandparents window, you could see the cemetery and the obelisk elegantly standing with a head shaped dome with a royal crown slanted on it, and a stone shaped scarf around its neck, with a crest showing his royal heritage. This grave was why the street directly along side it was named Prince Street.

The school was run by Sisters of Charity nuns, who lived in a small house built for them along side of the school. They had habits that were all black with long robes that touched the ground, with a cape surrounding their shoulders. Their scull cap hats covered their heads completely, with no hair showing as it was probably cut very short. The hat was actually a bonnet with a serrated brim that encircled their face from one side of the chin to the other in a fan affect that had a bow that hung down over the robe in front. At their waist, was a heavy twisted rope of the same color knotted in front with long tasseled tails, and hanging from it was their rosary beads. As I recall the wonderful memories of my childhood, they were gentle, loving and were called Sisters. I still remember my 4th grade teacher who was funny and kind who constantly pushed her finger under her bonnet scratching an eternal itch. Her name was Sister Sicilia, a woman of Irish decent who we all loved, that had charming ways to make us children react. Hey wait, this is about my father and not me, but this only shows that we experienced the same things while growing up.

I really don’t know too much about how he grew up, but it must have been wonderful for him as he received anything he could wish for. When he finished St Patrick’s, he went to a high school called La Salle run by French Christian brothers, and coincidently, I went to a High School called De La Salle having teachers, from the same order, French Christian Brothers. I don’t know how his marks were, but I do know he was a wiz at math. I can remember him running his finger down a column of numbers, as fast as a ball dropping to the floor, and then simply call out the correct addition. Wow!

He never finished High school as he was needed in his father’s business, as it was growing very fast. Now Grandpa had many strings of horses to pull his wagons and as each son was old enough, he was brought into the business,

after learning how to handle a team of horses, Grandpa would buy another string and wagon for that son. The horses were kept in a stable which was few streets south down on Mulberry St., near Grand Street, which had four floors and a ramp going from floor to floor. It’s still there today, but is now a garage with an elevator., It was after my father left Bianco Bros, and after few years, their business failed for lack of direction, so his brothers rented this garage and operated it for many years until each retired.

After their days work, all the boys had to stable the horses, and clean the stalls to be ready for the next days work, but when they returned home, they found their mother ready with a meal fit for kings. This is a good place to stop and describe her, to start with, I remember her as being a giant in my young eyes. She was nearly six foot tall and weighed about three hundred pounds, all of it loaded with laughter, always a gigantic smile on her face and bellowing laughter, while she leaned out their third floor window to watch the world go by, then to gossip with her neighbors across the street, all doing the same, and leaning out their windows. Now my grandfather was by comparison, just about five foot tall, rounded but not fat, who ran his home like his business, with a stern hand. That is, except for my father, who could do no wrong, and after he left high school he began working with his father full time, learning ways to improve it. One thing was to move slowly into more trucking of meat for their local butchers and bananas for fruit wholesalers. When he was 20, he began going to Broadway nightly, dressed in a fine tuxedo, custom made to fit him perfectly. That same Tux, I gave to my son Michael, who may still have it, he was the only one thin enough among us, to be able to fit into it. At one time I too wore it, that is, when I was in my 20’s to my fourties. My father would buy tickets for a particular show playing that night, and would attend, but I don’t know if he brought a woman along. It was at this time he began smoking those same cigars his father smoked. He saved all his playbills from the shows he attended, and when we were young, we would look at them in awe. My God! He saw Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, and “The George White Follies” to mention only a few that I can now recall. We kept these play bills, but somewhere over time they were lost. My dad had it made, but his brothers didn’t appreciate the fact that he got to do everything, and they could only dream. One day his father told him he wanted to go to the place that sold cars. So, my father took him to a dealer that sold Duisenberg cars.

1920 Duesenberg

While in the showroom, my grandfather showed my father the car he wanted, my father then went to the salesman, told him that they wanted that particular car and how much was it. The salesman laughed and said to forget it as they couldn’t afford to buy that car as it was just too expensive, thinking to himself as he looked at them… “Greeseballs, just low class Italians”. My father said to him again, “How much?” The salesman, laughing, then told him with a sneer the huge price. My father turned told his father the price, who then gave him cash for the total amount. The salesman couldn’t believe it and said that the car was a show room sample. My father said do you want to sell that car or not and then showed him the cash. Well, they drove away with that car. As it turned out that car became the turning point in my father life. I don’t know exactly when, but one day my father, along with some of his friends, took a long ride to upstate New York. They brought along with them, bootleg whiskey made by our famous “Uncle Mike”, that turned out to be either too powerful, or just very bad. All aboard passed it around as they traveled north, it was so strong and powerful that it affected everyone, and most importantly, my father, who was driving. I’m assuming that he was knocked senseless by the drink, so much so, that he crashed the car into a bridge wall along side of the highway. Again, I’m not exactly sure, but I believe at least one of his friends aboard was seriously maimed, or killed. This event changed my father’s outlook on life… no more the gay blade… no more being spoiled…and definitely no more bootleg wiskey!

After a while, still working with his family, when he was about 24, his father told him to go out again with cash, and buy another string of horses and a new wagon as well, business was getting even bigger, with more sons coming of age. My father took the cash and came back with a 1919 Cabover Mack truck, which had wooden wheels, hard rubber tires, and a Cab body that had two open sides, no doors or signals, with just a seat, steering wheel and a curved roof. On top of the cab was a metal catch-all to hold a canvas cover. However, it did have a new thing just invented, a horn that went ROOGAH, ROOGAH, when you pushed down hard on the horns top. When he arrived home with the truck, his father went ballistic; he couldn’t believe his son and favorite would disobey him. He cursed at him for buying something that had to maintained, that no body knew how to drive, that needed this stuff called gasoline to run, and where to buy it. He yelled “The horses only ate their oats and hay which they had plenty of, not this new expensive gasoline.”

Soccer?? What is soccer?

In the early 70s, I had set up a scouting program for our area in Scarsdale called Greenacres. It was so successful that before long I was asked to set up scouting in two other areas. It was fun doing but I realized that most young boys had no real sport to play other than football and baseball, and yes, basketball. The boys had to have certain talents to play those three sports and most boys didn’t fit the bill, as only the very best were chosen out of all who tried out, leaving over 70% of the boys in the town with no real sport to play. That is why scouting became so important but it was not enough for boys needing a sport.

One day I was approached by a parent of a new scout who like myself wanted to be more involved helping the boys, and wondered if we could set up a soccer team. I had no idea of what the game of soccer was, and so asked about it. He told me it was sort of like football, but not so aggressive or dangerous. after he explained how the game was played and how it wasn’t important how big or Athletic the boys were, but rather it could be played by all with only the will to be on a team, and just have fun kicking a ball. I said, wow that sounds great as both my sons had absolutely no interests in the sports available. So, we made plans to start with him doing the teaching and me the organizing. It worked and as we moved forward with our plan, it grew. However,most everyone here in America had no idea of what the game of soccer was, and it was only because this parent who was from England where it is was very big, as well as it was all over the world. The reason the English neighbor thought it was a good game for all the young kids who weren’t good at baseball or football, as there was another  and different sport to play just for fun.

I agreed and we two began in our local school district at Greenacres. We started by visiting with the gym teacher who thought it was a great idea and knew the sport slightly, so he promised to allow us to show up at his classes. at the first meeting we asked the boys if they would like a game of fun where they would not have to learn anything, but just kick a ball. Now we had another problem to overcome and that was I had no idea about how to play the game. Baseball, yes, football, yes, but soccer, no way. so, we asked all the boys to ask their fathers if they knew how to play soccer, or if they would like to help us to teach and play soccer. Low and behold a father showed up at the next meeting in the gym class and he said he played semi-pro soccer in Brazil when he was young and would love to coach a team, and even to the parents who could learn to become coaches. so now we had a start and proceeded to go to the local parent association which controlled all area activities and ran all that went on in the district, and it was called The Greenacres Association. It was run by the males of the families owning homes in the district who were voted into office every three years, with meeting every month. So we went to the next meeting for their approval to allow the soccer games to be played in the school yard when Football or baseball weren’t being played, which was just before twilight when we were able  to start to play. And so it Began, and began it did with over 60 players wanting to learn. Wow! Wow! when we started it was just a big learning curve, but found the boys were having fun, more fun, than they imagined, and they didn’t have to train, or do anything but run and play at kicking a ball. after a year of soccer, we had 3 teams of ascending ages from Greenacres, and after we advised the other districts of our success, they asked for help in setting up a team of their own, so we began bringing each of the other teams to play against each other, and before long Scarsdale had 24 teams and nearly 400 players, 24 coaches, and 48 assistants with me running the program as chairman and head coach. I found that it wasn’t always fun doing the job, as every so often I had to fire a coach due to his either favoring is son, or making it more important to win using only the best players, leaving others not so good to sit out the whole game. So, all I did was travel from game to game each weekend asking the right question of the boys sitting on the bench and how much they got to play. It seemed to work as I was continually voted back into office each season, and before long Soccer was the major sport in Scarsdale, with soccer fields built in each district. However, my sons were always most important in my mind, and as they were growing up, we found things we did together from soccer, to skying, to motorcycling, to playing serious racquetball, and finally to watch them move out into their world, and begin conquering it in their own special way. So far, all three has surpassed my wildest dreams!


When the Catholic church was too strict!

All my young life I was very involved with religion, because my mother started all her children into being devout catholic’s. So, as I grew up religion was an important part of my life, and it controlled how I thought and acted. When I married I was 26, and a virgin, and most of my friends called me “The Saint”,and for a good reason. If I heard any friend curse, I would go over to him and punch him out. If he fought back, I would continue to beat him up, no matter how big he was, cause I had something always going for me… I was left handed and did things in the opposite way everyone else did, and so giving me a big advantage. So, I was the Saint, and actually respected for it. out of 12 boys living on my block, I was the only one who went to Catholic school, all the others went to public school. As we grew up they would one at a time, find a girl and be gone from the pack, till I was alone. Being married changed things fast, as I had a son 10 months later. and then another a year after that. As they grew up, I became very involved with what they did, always pushing them in the correct direction. So, sports were important, but not as much as camaraderie with their friends, and the Boy Scouts was the way. It was also very important that they became good Catholics, and I made certain that it happened by my example, making sure they saw in me a faith that was strong and true.When they were in their teens, I kept the pace and became involved in the CCD program at our local church. They didn’t go to Catholic school because their mother was against it, thinking that Scarsdale schools offered more, as then the boys would be mingling with a higher class people, so I agreed only to keep the peace. Actually mybboys didn’t like going there and said so! When they were old enough, I enrolled them into after school classes at (CCD)Confraternity of Christian Doctrine at our local church. In order to be involved and actually wanting to help, I joined, and started teaching the boys of my sons age, in the CCD program. Because I was very involved in many sports and Scouting, most boys knew me as “Mr Bianco” or, in many cases other than my sons, “Dad”. My classes in CCD were different than all the others, as I believed that to get the boys to keep being interested at that age to continue to follow our religion, I had to make them want to, not because they had to. My technique was different than what was followed by the priests and other CCD teachers. I started each class by sitting my boys in front of a basketball basket, and me standing in front of them. First I would have to quiet them down, cause they knew soon they be playing, and then begin the class, by saying out very very, loud… Who am I ? They all would yell as one.., You are Mr, Bianco!!! I would then yell again… And what do I believe? Their answer again loud and in unison was… You believe in God. We’d all clap and laugh and then I’d begin. No. not with the catechisms books that were supposed to be used by all, including me. I’d start with saying I believe in the Catholic Church and what it stands for. Then continue to tell how they should follow the 10 commandments and what each stood for. Not all at one time, but one for that day that I would expand on, telling them how I would and how I did act. This would go on for about a half hour and then I would say out loud”LET’S PLAY BASKETBALL”  and that’s what we’d do! They learned two things…One about God, and the other how to have fun doing it. One day as I began my class at CCD, and without knowing, a priest was watching without us noticing him. We began in the same way and did so till we reached my beginning to talk about our religion. He came out of hiding and said out loud “STOP”. I turned and smilingly said hello Father Murphy. He came up to me and asked “What are you doing+? I replied, ” Teaching them about God and how our religion worked”. He said where are the catechism books and why aren’t they reading them and reciting them out loud? I said because I taught in a different and better way, as I knew what would work on boys their age whose thoughts at this time in their lives was not about religion. By making it fun, they learned at the same time. Being furious he said, “not in his school” and said that I would no longer be teaching CCD in his church. I couldn’t believe it, but he had control, so I turned to the boys and “It was fun wasn’t it”! They all yelled “YES MR BIANCO”. I never went back to that church or any other for that matter after that. My religion is just as strong, but it’s directed to a one on one with God Directly, a much better and surer way to true faith. I naturally told my sons they could either go or not go to CCD classes after that. I began to put more of my efforts into scouting in our town of Scarsdale, which by the way, held it’s meetings at the local protestant church!

As a foot note: As we now can all see, the Catholic church has fallen to a secondary level among Catholics’. It no longer can be strict, parishioners are moving away because of it. Even the Pope has lost his control and stature! Why? It’s my case millions times over!


We made eye contact as he passed me!

I can’t remember the exact year, maybe 1988, I went for a fast visit to Las Vegas, as I did many times. However, I never once gambled. I always felt that in the end you will lose, but more importantly only foolish people gambled. It felt good to be able to go there and not be swayed. However, I did like the stars who performed there. The Sand’s was where I always stayed, because my brother Al had a connection there and it helped a little. One time I went with my brother Al as he was trying to do some kind of business there, and I was passing through from Hong Kong. I always made certain that when traveling to and from Hong Kong I would lay over in Fresno. Always stay at my sister Jeanie’s home and enjoyed all her kids growing up.

This one time in Las Vegas, as I was milling through the crowd in the Sands casino just passing time while Al met someone on business. It was amazing to watch everyone trying their best to beat the system. It’s a sickness that just gets worse the more you gamble. I decided to go to the bar for a Manhattan, the cocktail I always drank, but stirred, not shaken. As I walked through the many gamblers, just moving around people standing around. A man came straight at me expecting me to move aside. I naturally didn’t and we came face to face and He glared at me, like I had to jump out of the way and when I recognized who he was, I smiled and bowed and waved him pass. The meeting changed my opinion of him completely. Who was he you might ask? Well he was Frank Sinatra. From then on for some reason I felt he wasn’t that happy-go-lucky guy he appeares to be on stage. Yes, his style of singing was the best, and I grew up with his singing always in the background of my life, making it a happier one, but from then on out, He lost the glow of who he was for me.

I was wanted by the CIA, no not for something bad I did, but for my help

It was sometime in the early 70’s when my business was established and all my five offices were producing different products for my customers. I was now producing all my artificial flower in Thailand, as they were now producing my flowers in polyester plastic using the same process as in their Thai silk making cloths and accessories. I had a partner there whose family owned a lot of land in southern Thailand, in the province of Chung Mai, where they had a large lumber company in neighboring Malaysia. Their connections in Bangkok with two large flower manufacturers gave me control over what they produced. They were the Charoensub family and their oldest man asked me to buy two very special Bulls from America for their ranch along the southern coast of Thailand. When I did, they didn’t know how to repay me. Their help with the flower manufacturers was enough, but every time I arrived in Bangkok, they would meet me at the plane and drive me to my hotel. I had a suite there and guess who it was used by most of the time? Do you remember James Michener, the famous author of many books telling of the history of how many areas of America were established, from the time of only indians till settlers and so on. At any rate at that time he was the most popular author, and my partners there made sure I always had his suite, that is, when he wasn’t there, the shame was, I never got to meet him in all my time there.

I don’t remember if I’ve ever written about my being asked to wear a neck scarf from the time I was eighteen till the present day as a Bianco Family Tradition and because I did, I always would stop by a very famous store in Bangkok called Jim Thompson’s, who produced Thai Silk scarves and the like, and it still exists today, except expanded to a chain throughout Asia and America. Their products were very expensive, but beautifully handmade, in fact I still have a few that I still wear.

Jim Thompson scarves

These Thai silk scarves I bought in 1977, that I still wear every day!

It was at this time that Jim Thompson, the owner, disappeared into the jungles of Malaysia. There were many Thai expeditions going into Malaysia to help search for him, as he was liked by all the Thai people in Bangkok, and it was then that I was approached by members of the CIA. They asked me if I would discreetly join in the search and report back to them, but I couldn’t let anyone know why and where I was going. I asked them…why me? They explained that because of my frequent travels throughout Asia, it gave me legitimacy to go to Malaysia and secretly search for Jim Thomson, He explained that Mr Thompson was working undercover for the CIA  to investigate what was happening with the guerrilla warfare going on from Malaysia into Vietnam, as it was creating major problems for our troops there. In fact if Jim Thompson wasn’t found, would I consider working for them to replace him.

A side note here because you may be too young and not know too much about the Vietnam War:

The Vietnam War was fought between North Vietnam and its communist allies, along with the Viet Cong gorillas, who operated throughout South Vietnam, against the South Viet Namese government and its principal ally, the United States. The conflict was also part of a larger regional battle between communism against democracy throughout all of the South Pacific and Indochina, that was primarily fueled by the Soviet Union and China on one side and the United States on the other. It began in 1954 and didn’t end until 1975. with the United States and it’s Allies being forced out.

So, with their help I organized a group using my partners and their people, to form a legitimate search. The crazy thing was when I would go into the jungle with my group, I had to be dressed in a suit and tie. Seems crazy now but it solved the problem of my moving about as I always did normally, only now I could be in a jungle. Now you would think that “Hey! This is a jungle! Are you crazy in a business suit you have to be really hot! But I wasn’t as I was more concerned at what I was trying to accomplish to worry about a little heat. After three days of looking everywhere and going nowhere, the hunt was stopped. I finished my business in Thailand and left for Hong Kong and back to just being a businessman. Jim Thompson was never heard from ever again, but his name and business still exists today, with his home and belonging maintained awaiting his return.