Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The following is a memorial tribute to our classmate Mike Capriola - NDHS 1957
by James Conway in the Congo, Africa.


Mike Capriola, Class of 1957, and I became fast friends down Riverside
Drive at Fulton where we box boyed together at the Vons Market, then
still owned by the Von der Ahe family. The US $1.10 an hour didn't get us
very far. Chuck Von, was class of '56.
You may remember that Mike
brought Bob Hope's daughter, Linda, to our Senior Prom. He even got a kiss
at the doorstep at the end of the night. As we were double dating, I
was a witness. Dolores, Linda's mother, was Italian born and liked
Italians. I don't think Mike and Linda went anywhere as a couple.

Mike was comfortable around food, as his parents had been in the
restuarant and food business for a long time, before and after their move
from the Bronx to Sherman Oaks. I had the best lasagna of my life at Mamma
Capriola's lunch table, up the street from Vons. I remember when Mike
went back to NYC to visit his uncles. He discovered that they ran the
numbers game in the Bronx and Harlem. He commented, "No wonder my
parents moved out of there."
Again, I was treated at an International House of Pancakes (IHAP)in
California where his parents had purchased a franchise.

It was no surprise that Mike went into the restaurant business himself,
after a Business major in Arizona, and a stint in the Navy at Norfolk,
VA where Mike was Manager of the Officer's Club restaurant. Mike
married a Navy nurse from Virginia, and had a boy and a girl. They moved for
a while to Northern California and then to Scottsdale, Arizona.

In 2001, I received a note from Scottsdale, Arizona from Mike saying that he
had cancer and was given about six months to live. It took me about
seven months to get there because I was living overseas. I caught up
with Mike's son in Scottsdale who was running a very successful restaurant
called Carlsbad Taverns (a play, I presume on the famous Carlsbad
Caverns in New Mexico.) Mike's widow came over and joined myself and the
son for dinner. Mike had passed away a month before. He was as big as a
house, and the weight, and weak heart, added to the cancer to do him
in. He worked up to the end and always kept his gracious, cheerful
personality. His legacy was the successful restaurant which the son was
efficiently managing.
Mike will be with us in spirit at the 50th, smiling
and reaching out to us.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Thank you James for your kind words about my father. It was a pleasure final meeting you. My father spoke extremely highly of you and Dave Hanna. If by chance you have some old photos of my father could you please email them to carlsbadtavern@qwest.net Thanks again, Andrew