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41 6 Work, Courtship, and Marriage Guido Campi, my future father-in-law, lived with his family at 57 Oakwood Street, next door to Uncle Mingo, who lived at 61 Oakwood with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Virginia. We were working on a small house trailer that we planned to sleep in during the duck season. That day Virginia Campi happened to walk by. Uncle Freddy knew her and introduced me to this beauti­ ful young girl. After a brief conversation with us, she walked up the street to her home. I said to Freddy, “What a nice looking gal!” “That was Guido Campi’s daughter,” he responded. “She is too young for you, so forget about her.” In time that all changed. A few years later, I happened by Uncle Mingo’s home during the hunting season. I spotted Guido Campi, whom I’d gotten to know through the garbage business. His garage door was open, and he was picking ducks with his daughter Virginia . I thought to myself, “If I ever get married, she would be the ideal wife.” A few weeks later, I was again at Uncle Mingo’s house, and Virginia came over to visit Mingo’s daughter. I told Virginia that I had two tickets to the movie Around the World in Eighty Days and asked if she would like to go with me. To my surprise, she agreed to go, even though she had a boyfriend who had just joined the Army. His plan was to marry Virginia when she was eighteen, after he returned from the service. I assumed that she was bored waiting for her boyfriend to come home, but for whatever reason she agreed to go out with me. I was twenty-one; Virginia, sixteen. She told me later that she had brought money with her to take a cab home if I got out of order. That was fifty-nine years ago, but let me add with my tongue firmly in cheek that “she has not picked a duck since then.” Funny how fast things change after a ring is on the finger, but I would not trade her for reasons you shall read. After working for Sunset Scavenger Company for a year and demonstrating that I had the physical and mental ability to become 42 Work, Courtship, and Marriage a shareholder (a Boss Scavenger), I was allowed to purchase a share in 1954 and was assigned to Truck 27 in the Fillmore District. Some years later, when my future father-in-law Guido was president of the Sanitary Truck Drivers Teamster’s Union Local 350, we attended a ten-dollar-a-plate dinner at the Fairmont Hotel honoring James “Jimmy” Hoffa—I actually shook hands with him. After the event was over, Guido and I stopped for a couple of adult beverages, as scavengers usually did. When we came home to Oakwood Street, it was pouring rain. I was boarding with Uncle Mingo in a room over the old stables at 61 Oakwood Street, next door to Guido. While Guido and I were sitting in the car, discussing adult beverages and the fact that both of us had to go to work in five hours in the pouring rain, I found enough courage to pop the question. “Guido, I would like permission to marry your daughter.” His response was simple: “Ma and I figured that out already, and I respect your decision to ask me first. But let me add this: If you are marrying my daughter for my money, forget about it because I have none. People who have money don’t spend it. I spend my money, and I don’t have any because of that.” He added, “I have a roof on my house, food on the table, and no one trying to take it away from me. What else does a man need in his life?” I responded that it was never my intent to go after his money, and he agreed to accept me as his pending son-in-law. At 4 am, with heavy heads from booze and cigarettes, Guido and I left to work in the garbage business. He walked to his route, and I drove to the company, picked up my truck, and drove to my route in the still-pouring rain. After many years had passed, I realized and respected what a profound philosophical and simple logistical response that was. Simply put, money should not be the goal of any...


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MARC Record
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