Hello, I am 33 year old, Union Tradesman/Engineer/Writer/Entrepreneur, with a wife and 3 kids ages 15, 11, and 8. I have a story to tell about myself, and My Life. This story is a good one, so get comfy. It wasn’t easy living it, but it was interesting. I know some people can relate, but thank God, that most can’t, and don’t want too anyway, for that matter. The best part is what I’ve learned from all the mistakes that I’ve made over the years.
Let me go back to when I was a kid. The shit I’ve seen growing up in North St. Louis and Decatur IL has been crazy. All of my trials and tribulations definitely would have broken the weak hearted. I was one of a handful of white kids in the whole elementary school and it was brutal. I was jumped and beat up, on a regular basis. Just for being the white boy. It couldn’t just be one on one. No, in the hood, kids love, a good jumping. The more kids you could get, to beat up one kid, the better. You learn to fight quick, in that environment, or you get your ass handed to you, regularly, until you figure it out.
A crazy thing, that happened to me when I was 6 was, my brother and I lost our virginity’s to a black girl named “Jane Doe”. She was a couple of years older than me and was in my brothers class. “Jane Doe”, was DTF. She made us go down on her and have sex with her just like we were adults. She also loved, to do the same to us. Our grandma used to catch us and scream at us to stop. But we wouldn’t. This happened multiple times. She was, and I know she still has to be, a hottie. I didn’t know it then, but she must have been abused, because she knew way to much about sex, for an 8 or 9 year old. And taught us everything she new, God love her. Out of all the bad parts of my childhood that I can remember, this wasn’t so bad. One lasting effect of this is, I want screw my wife like 3 times a day, 4 on Saturdays, poor girl.
In Jr. High I moved to Decatur IL, and met a group of guys that taught me
Some skills, how to be a street entrepreneur and go get what you want cause no ones giving it to you . My Guys and I sold dope and smoked weed all day. We called it grinding.
I did this during seventh grade and didn’t go to school for 4 months of eighth grade. I would take the letters sent home in the mail, and act like I was at school everyday.
Eventually the police came looking for me. After four months of walking to the bus stop and then continuing on to the block or wherever my guys were parlaying, the police came-a-knockin. It was a very interesting time for me.
Decatur IL let me hone the art of hustling and street fighting. My buddies would go to every length possible to let you know, if you were a punk or not. We would fight each other at the drop of a hat, but only until the loser gave up. We were even quicker, to fight anyone that we didn’t know, or like.
One of our favorite things to do, was to go around punching each other in the nuts, or chest, when you weren’t expecting it. Or knocking each other out, by sneaking up behind somebody and applying the sleeper hold, like a fucking Ninja.
This was all funny, until a guy had a seizure and needed stitches from a sleeper hold gone bad. It happened at a packed pizza joint by the high school. He didn’t get laid down right, he got dropped on his head, and started convulsing. First they were all laughing, then they were all running away, nobody wanted to get implicated.
We also loved giving ourselves Tattoo’s, by lighting, lighters until the point they were red hot, and then Ninja style, leave a nice “A” shaped burn on each other. Hopefully in the most noticeable spot possible. I got my one guy in the back of the neck. He is black so it was a nice big pink scar of an “A” on his neck for a while.
I can’t tell you how many wrestling and slap boxing matches I was in with my pals. We would shoot dice for push-ups and sets of bench presses.
I used to fight one of my toughest pals all the time, and get my ass whipped, but I wouldn’t give up, I would keep coming back for more. When I finally had enough that day, I would vent my anger of losing, on the pal, who’s ass, I could whip. This environment, is a brutal way to learn lessons that, can’t be taught, these kind of lessons have to be experienced, to learn them.
If I could change anything it would be, “the not applying my talents” back then. Just a little bit of hard work, in your teenage and early twenties, can go a long way, later in life.
It all came to a head eventually, and I finally had to lay in the bed I had made for myself. I got locked up for 4 days in juvenile detention. The Prosecutor wanted me to do a year. But they ended up putting me into lock down in these million dollar cottages, way out in the sticks, in St. James Missouri. It was a juvenile detention for ages 4-21, called Boys and Girls Town,
I got out of juvenile detention because my old man convinced the judge Boys town was the way to go. After six months of some discipline, taking care of horses, some very unneeded lessons in juvenile restrainment, a 100 mile horse ride(during which I got laid) to the arch in downtown St. Louis, and some self evaluations, I was released against their wishes. Apparently our insurance carrier knew better. And the court said ok also.
I moved back to St. Lou and at 14 years old in 1994, I went to work as a dishwasher/pizza maker, and also went back to school. After, some minor, and some major, details later, At 16 in 1996, I got kicked out of Lutheran North high school because I got caught with an ounce of pot on campus. Thank God I sold a dime out of it, because that made it a dime bag short of a felony, which meant, a year unsupervised probation. I got my GED a couple of months later, and started my short lived college career.
At 16 years old I was enrolled in the fall semester at Florissant Valley Community College. But working, selling drugs, getting pussy, and the eventual meeting of my Wife took precedent. She got pregnant and I had my first kid 5 days before my 18th birthday in October of 1998.
I didn’t forget to tell you all the stories of selling dope, or about the robberies of dope dealers, being robbed by dope dealers, being shot at, or other crazy but interesting stuff I can’t talk about here. It was pure mayhem from 1992 to 1998. Those stories are for a different time. And I will tell them one day, with the name’s of the innocent protected of course.
Most of my old associates that weren’t smart enough to get out of the game, are either locked up or killed, some are surviving, if you can call it that. Some made it, and are doing great, but not many. Some are doing, Ghetto Fabulous and loving life! What My guys and I saw as a minors, would shock an Iraq/Afghanistan vet, let alone an average everyday square.
Thank God I figured this shit out, young enough, to make a difference, in the lives that I am responsible for, that’s all I can say. These stories were valuable lessons, that only living your life this way, can teach you. I can’t change them and don’t think I would if I could, so I might as well learn from them and apply that knowledge.
The only solid things in my life have been my Family and my Union. It’s been a crazy life that I’ve lived these past 15 years, since my first job with local 1. It was on the Federal Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. I got a real job at 18 because, I just had my first kid, and I had to be a good Father. Thankfully my Father has been a member of the St. Louis Pipecover’s Union, since the sixties, Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local # 1 St. Louis MO. I have, and I will always protect my Wife and Children, and my Union, until the day I die.
My grandfather’s name was Jasper Palazzolo. His relatives, are Listed in the book “Gangs of St. Louis, Men of Respect” by Daniel Waugh. It was a time when, Men carried a certain amount of class, with them, and took care of Business like robber barons of the street. Those Men, made the trade Unions in St. Louis, and Men like them did the same all over America. Those Men, knew how to operate, they just didn’t know how to share. If you can’t take care of your Brother Members for our own common good, your not going to last very long, in my world anyway. I know it can be done, with everyone’s interests taken care of, and no loss of class, or morals.
I was working in Chicago for almost a year before they laid me off. Thank God, I was ready to come home. Don’t get me wrong Chicago is a great town, and the Brother members of local 17 treated me great, like I was at home.
While I was up there, I got to learn more about some of the guys that my family did business with in the past. Alphonse Palazzolo, was not a force to be reckoned with, in his day. It took a death squad to kill him, not one, but several men ambushed and murdered the man that was feared by many on the mean streets of North St. Louis. He was the reason people paid the protection money, shop owners and business men were scared shitless of Palazzolo. Just think if he would of used all of that energy, in a positive way to unite his brothers to do some good, for all instead of one.
The shit I’ve seen and heard up in ChIraq, would shock the hell out of you. My family story aside, that town is a war zone, with lots of money to be made. There is an UnGodly amount of honest and illicit, money to be made up there, but, they can have it, for now…..
I will be just fine honing my craft and making some of that, ton of honest money, that’s begging you to come and get it, right here in good old St. Lou. And besides, who can afford to make a bunch of illicit money now-a-days, when there’s so much honest money screaming to be had by everyone?
I could get into a lot more about what’s going on with me now. But I don’t want to bore you. I have become a square with a purpose, to show my kids what hard work and perseverance can get you, and how to find what it is, that they were put on this Earth to do. It’s a tough thing to learn about yourself and I’m up to the task of helping them find their path.
I wouldn’t go back to my life before 2008 for any amount of money in the world. My kids deserve better than me waisting my God given Talents. And I don’t plan on letting them down.
They deserve to have that voice in their ears, telling them all the possibilities, that are available to them in this world, as long as they do it right. They deserve to have someone, showing them what bad can, and will happen, if they do it, the wrong way. Someone has to show them what greatness, can come from them, with very little effort, just doing what they love to do.
I have to be the one that shows them the beauty that this world has to offer. How great life can be if it’s done right. It’s not as hard as I thought it was, back then. When they say, I wish I would of known then, what I know now. They aren’t lying. With just a little bit of work, now, you can do, or be anything you want to be, for the rest of your life. You won’t have to struggle, and feel like you’ve waisted your talent anymore. It’s never to late, ladies and Gentlemen, keep striving to Live, Love, Learn, & be happy!