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Gus Winkeler was earning a high place in Al Capone’s esteem. He spent much time at the syndicate office, and had won the gang leader’s confidence . His name was beginning to assume a prominent place in that roster of names identified with the operations of the vast underworld empire fostered by Public Enemy Number One. His rise had been rapid, for his recommendations had been written in the records of a dozen crimes in the Midwest. Naturally, those who had been in Capone’s employ longer than Gus resented his eminence. This was particularly true of the Italian element, termed “Dagoes” by my husband. The Dagoes rarely ever participated in the “dirty” work of the syndicate, although most of them qualified as expert planners. They felt they were entitled to more consideration than Gus, possibly due to the tie of blood between them and their leader. However, Gus worked hard for his advancement. He watched his grammar, tried to correct his manners, improved his garb, and in all respects tried to appear as genteel as any man in legitimate business. He musthavesucceeded,forthepapersinChicagodescribedhimasbearing the appearance of a prosperous State Street broker. In all his self education he was striving for one thing—the time when he would have some business of his own that would enable him to meet and mingle with the people he had always envied. When Gus told me in August that he was going up near St. Joseph, Michigan,tomeetsomefriendslivingthereandhaveafewgamesofgolf, 20 The Car Cr ash 124 The Car Crash 125 I was not in the least surprised, for he would often make trips that would bring him in contact with those who might help him later in business. He promised to return in time to help me celebrate my birthday August 10. Somehow, when the time arrived for him to leave I did not say goodbye as casually as I usually did. I had an inexplicable feeling that something was wrong, and when he had driven away I returned to my room in tears. During the week I had no appetite, no desire to go out or have visitors, and although the maid tempted me with my favorite dishes, I remained in that state until I was nearly ill. I even declined to read the papers. On Friday, August 7, 1931, about four o’clock in the morning, a Doberman Pincher which I still own, started running from one end of the house to the other, sniffing and whining. I thought the dog was sick, and in spite of the earliness of the hour, took her out for a walk. But she was hard to handle, and kept cringing against my knee. My week long apprehensions were verified in the black headline: WINKELER DYING, DOCTORS SAY The coffee cup dropped to the table and spilled into my lap as I screamed: “Oh, My God, he can’t die.” Neighbors upstairs heard my screams and ran down to investigate. They asked if there was anything they could do, but I was so dazed by shock I could think of nothing but to go to Lefty Louie Campagna. The neighbors took me. When I ran into his house Lefty look at me calmly saying: “What are you crying about? Just find out about Gus? Hell, we knew that last Wednesday.” “But no one told me,” I sobbed. “What was the use,” was the callous reply, “you can’t see him.” Anger stilled by sobs. “The Hell I can’t,” I said closing my teeth. “I’d like to see the man who can keep me away from my husband.” “Calm yourself,” he answered, “we’ve got orders to keep you away from that hospital.” I looked at him a moment in stony silence, then wheeled and walked out of the house, where my friends were in their car. 126 al capone and his american boys I requested that they take me to Joe Bergl’s garage at 3348 Cermak Road. I knew that Bergl was a personal friend of Gus’ and that if anyone would help me he would. I wanted to go to St. Joseph where Gus was, critically injured in an auto accident. Bergl agreed to take me, but before leaving I attempted to telephone Al Capone. Frankie Reo answered and repeated what Lefty Louie already had said: “If you go up there you’ll go to jail,” he added. “But if you do go, see Attorney Charles W. Gore at St. Joseph before...


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MARC Record
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