Bear Swamp Recovery
Tell me about your family and Sicily.
Our family originally came in from Sicily in the 1860s-1870s. From there, they went to the coal mines in Pennsylvania. Originally, there were six children born by the first wife there, but she died during childbirth with number six. The sister who was sent to replace her also had six children. In the 1880s, 1890s, this whole clan left and moved to Trenton, New Jersey, and moved into an area that was primarily Sicilian. There were two Italian sectors in Trenton, in Chambersburg and North Trenton, which was primarily Sicilian. Around 1912, my grandfather opened a construction business there – the core of that business is still around and will be celebrating its 100th year next year. We sold it to my father's brother and my cousins still run it.
What's the best part about living in New Jersey?
Obviously, New Jersey has some of the best vegetables in the country, especially the corn and tomatoes. The Shore is a draw for people from all over the world. Then there's Atlantic City, the fishing... so many other amenities. Some of the top prep schools in the country, as well.
You're known for your famous sayings. Tell me some of your favorites.
The ones I use the most are "A broken clock is right twice is a day." Also: "We never miss a meal." "Was this repo tied to a tree?" As in, "You found this too quick, was it tied to a tree?" I use that on the guys all the time.
What bothers you the most about working with your family?
Obviously, how their safety is always in question and I have to worry about that.
What's the craziest thing that ever happened to you on a repo?
There was a repo of a truck, we had to get a sleeper cab on it. We jumped up in the truck and a guy came leaping out of the sleeper – just jumped out! And he was yelling at us in a language we didn't understand. Eventually, because it was two against one, and he may not have had any papers, he gave it up, but...
Has there ever been a day when you said: "I'm too old for this s***"?
In truth, no. The physical is not as tiring as the mental. The physical attributes are not as demanding as the mental aspects. There is nobody who can keep up with me here.
What do you think your grandson still needs to learn before he can take over the family biz?
Where would you like me to start? Do you have enough time? I'm guessing that number one would have to be that this is my son's business, really, and it's successful because it's brains over brawn. "More dopamine, less testosterone" is the [motto and] reason he's done as well as he has. That hasn't sunk in yet with Tiny, though.