She was gorgeous, he was cocky. She was a cheerleader, he was a baseball player. She was the rich daughter of a mafia man, he was the middle class son of a cop. He told his friends the first day he saw her that he would marry her. They fell in love.
Months into their courtship, during that transition place where marriage is being discussed but the question hasn’t actually been asked, the truth about my grandfather’s “profession” came out.
My dad’s uncle, also a cop, had been one of several officers assigned to the surveillance of a mafia man suspecting of, among other things, stealing 25 cases of government eggs (that’s eggs as in chicken and they were, in fact, property of the United States Government.) During the surveillance, a young man kept coming into and out of the mafia man’s home, and no one had any idea who he was. Until my dad’s uncle recognized… you guessed it… my dad. Without alerting anyone to the identity of the up-till-now unknown young man, he got on a flight to meet with my paternal grandfather, case file in hand.
My dad’s uncle informed his brother (my grandfather) that his son had been seen going in and out of the home of a mafia man (my other grandfather) who was under surveillance and suspected of, among other things, the theft of 25 cases of government eggs. He demanded to know what my dad’s relationship with this man was. My paternal grandfather informed his brother that his son (my dad) was dating the mafia man’s daughter (my mother) and he immediately went to have a talk with his son. He sat his son down with the case file, filled with pages of alleged crimes my maternal grandfather was suspected of committing, and had but one question for my dad:
“How does he treat you?”
My dad answered “he treats me like a son.”
My paternal grandfather (the cop) then informed my maternal grandfather (the mafia man) that the feds were after him and it was decided that my parents would marry quickly, so that my maternal grandfather could be in attendance. Immediately after the wedding, he went into hiding.
He was eventually caught, his home tear-gassed and his hiding spot discovered behind a false wall. He was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Both of my grandfathers have passed away now, but I grew up hearing that story. Of a shotgun wedding and a cop who tipped off a mafia man and kept him free for just long enough to witness his first daughter’s marriage before he was caught and convicted of, among other things, the theft of 25 cases of government eggs.