Dating my boss
“I didn’t understand what I had just seen, or the implications of it, but I know that it traumatised me and shook me to my core,” says Rita today.
“I tried for years to bury that memory, because it made me so afraid.” Instilling fear in others was her father’s modus operandi.
Although these days her accent is pure “Noo Joisey”, Rita was born across the Hudson River and for the first year and a half of her life lived with her parents, Vincent and Olympia, her four older siblings, her grandmother and two German shepherd dogs in a cramped four-room apartment in the West Village.
Rita and Bobbi greet me together at the front door; Rita is small and slight with short, curly dark hair, her face make-up-free, while Bobbi is blonde and carefully groomed, with thick rows of false eyelashes and bright-red fingernails.
The youngest of the family by 10 years, Rita has some fond memories of her father.
“I remember sitting on his lap, and how he’d rub my back to help me get to sleep.
Even when Vincent was jailed for five years in the 1960s, the children were never told the truth; instead they were led to believe that their father was away, serving in the army.
“When you grow up being told, 'Don’t ask questions,’ you really learn not to,” Rita says with a shrug.