The three women featured on the show were Cheryl Caruso, whose story airs tonight, Linda Scarpa and Dion Nicosia, a new addition to the lineup. The ever curious Joy, fired questions faster than a semi-automatic, trying the get the most information out of them in the 30 minute segment. She scored some “hits.“ The women all were very forthcoming about their stories and why they appreciated the opportunity to tell people what they went through.
Cheryl speaks first. She has been divorced from Philly a long time now. She says she never knew he was involved with the mob. As far as she knew, he was a businessman with a successful printing business in Manhattan. She never asked any questions about his work or how much money he made. When he went to jail, she had no money and was completely in debt with two very young daughters to raise. Up until that point, Philly had taken care of everything. She finally learned of his crimes when she walked into court and heard the judge rattled over a long list of crimes and sentence him to 15 years to life. That was all she heard and she couldn’t comprehend it. The bottom feel out of her ideally perfect world. She had to get three jobs to pay the bills and was literally working around the clock, while her mother helped her raise the children. She had to rebuild everything. When Phil was released, after serving 7 years, he was on her doorstep begging for her to take him in. Cheryl said she couldn’t allow him back in the home, she didn’t know who he was. She worked too hard to establish herself and make a life for her and the girls. Sure she liked the perks that the mob life afforded her, but she didn’t know that was where the money was coming from. One day her life was perfect and the next it was ruined. She is telling her story to close the door on it and move on.
Dion says that after her husband went to prison there was no money left. The lawyers ate it up. She knew her husband, Angelo Nicosia, was well connected in the mob. It was nice and she enjoyed the lifestyle. Joy wants to know if Dion, who is African American, experienced any racism from the mob. Dion answers, “No, she was surprised, everyone was wonderful to her. The men were all charming.” Joy adds, “Yeah, other than the murders.” Dion says her husband was arrested and convicted in 2008 of extortion and will be out in March 2012. Joy asks, if her husband has ever gotten violent with her. Dion says, “no he hasn’t, but I have hit him a few times.’ She says people are fascinated with the mob and she finds telling her story is very therapeutic.
Finally, we hear from “Little” Linda Scarpa, whose father was Greg Scarpa. Greg was known as a notorious killer and because of that earned the nickname, The Grim Reaper. He was head of the Colombo family. Linda comes across as quiet, demure woman with an air of sadness about her. She begins by saying that her father was a great dad, a typical dad, and that she grew up in Brooklyn. She found out about her father’s lifestyle when she was 16 years old. She had a Sweet 16 Party and she said about 200 made men showed up. She says, if you see the video of it, it was pretty morbid. Joy pipes in, “I’d love to see it.” She tells the story of when there was an attempt made on her father’s life. She was in the car behind his, which her baby boy in the back seat. They were pulling out of the driveway, her car behind her dad’s, when men jumped out of a van across the street and started firing shots at her father’s car. She was “in the way,” so some stray shots entered her car. She was 21 at the time. She says she loves her father, but she has anger and resentment towards “the life.”
She has four children, but is not currently married. She says that when you marry someone in the mob or are conceived by someone in the mob there is really no way out of it. There is so much pain you can’t get over. She says she has never spoken about her pain before. She has never gotten over the death of her brother. Her brother died from being shot on the streets because he no longer had protection from the mob. But, she never felt she had the right to express her grief because her father killed so many people and caused so much pain for others. Her father, Greg Scarpa, died of AIDS while in prison. He was sick and needed a transfusion. One of his friends, who had AIDS, donated blood which was never screened because he was a friend. Linda says she wanted to speak openly about what she went through and show the lifestyle is not glamorous. She says she is speaking because there is no one left to speak about it. No one who is left to worry about what she has to say. The Colombos were at war with each other, killing each other, and there is no one left. The only ones left to talk about the mob lifestyle are the women and children.
All in all, a very informative set of interviews skillfully “executed” by Joy Behar. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was made an honorary “mob wife” at some point in the future. The mob wife phenomena is quickly catching on and we are keeping on the look out for new shows in the near future. Are you listening Jenn Graziano, from JustJenn Productions? We need to know!
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