John Fante (April 8, 1909 – May 8, 1983) was an Italian American entrepreneur who worked his way from bricklaying to owning the greatest construction company in Colorado only to have it whipped from under him by The Mob.
Fante Construction Co.
It was a grace to behold and it's completion would herald a new dawn in construction. Fante was talked of in the papers and the jobs rolled in. Finding he had to hire more men, Fante sired a family with a beautiful blonde Amercian woman of good stock. He and his family became folk heroes of the new world and a lesson to all the work-shy wops and spics who refused to take what America offered.
As Fantes' fame spread over America many would write to him in search of bricklaying tips. Fante would usually write back, "No time to talk. Trial and error is the best way to learn. Thanks for the thoughts. Fante". This was a man too busy for writing.
In 1946, Fante, a millionaire many times, did take the time to put pen to paper and produced the seminal journal on bricklaying "Ask the brick" a heartbreaking tale of walls that appear impenetrable but have poor foundation; of falling brick; of shattered blocks.
Since the publication of this authoritative compendium on all aspects of the craft not one wall has collapsed of natural causes in America.
Fante had Ten children who honoured and respected him. However his son Dan is not the man John Fante was. A poor craftsman he instead turned to the crude act of writing fiction. Due to crippling gambling debts to the Mob Dan was forced to turn out work at a ferocious rate resulting in insipid tales of his day to day life - drinking, writing, welching on loans.
Ever more desperate Dan took to writing screenplays with the same name as successful movies and pretending they were one and the same.
The Family problems
As early as 1940 the Italian American Mafia were building walls. Sonny lucky Greezero had walled up Cheecho da Moncheechi with some real nice grouting on account of him playing stoolie with the cops see and Frankie Footloosio had used an exquisite herringbone bond finish to encase Arturo Bandinis' feet in stone. But by 1962 they were looking to take over the racket.
For years they threatened and cajoled Fante, but he wouldn't sell up.
In October of 1983, in a last ditch effort to free himself from debt, Dan Fante bet his dads' business on a game of poker with the Mob and lost. With the simple turn of a card all that Fante had sweated for was gone. The Mob took little time in taking over, and, to add insult to injury, they demolished Hoop Creek.
This heinous act broke Fantes' spirit and some days later he was seen at the destroyed bridge placing the two original bricks into his pockets and wading into the river. As he rose for the third and final time, Fante seemed to call into the current below, "You wait Bandini; wait until Spring; that's when we'll get the bastards".