Our grandparents came from the northern part of Italy. They came here about 1915, and they had two sons, my dad and his brother Pete. They were wine people so they bought a home in La Crescenta [Calif.] and had a few vines and made their own wine. My dad got married to a young Irish gal named Alberta Bridget O’Connor, and she was the original Paddy’s pet pig. She was as much Irish as they come. My sister Gloria was born in December of ’22. I was born in January of 1924. My brother Bob was born about a year and a half after, in June, 1925.

My mom and dad built a home in San Pedro where he worked for the Bank of America, which he did for the rest of his business life. He wanted to move to Los Angeles when the kids were born because he and my mother felt that San Pedro didn’t have the environment that they wanted to raise their kids. At that time the longshoremen were very active in Wilmington and San Pedro and Beacon Street was a wild place and it sort of spilled over into the schools. And the answer to that was that my dad asked for a transfer. They said, “Johnny, you can speak French, you can speak Slovenian. That’s why the fishermen come to you for their banking.” They used to come in with brown paper bags. “Here, Giovanni, I put it in the bag.” He’d say, “Wait a minute, I’ll give you a receipt.” “No, no, next time I come in you can tell me.” That’s the way they did business.

He retired in San Pedro in 1947 and lived until he was 92. My dad never owned a car. And my mother died very early, in 1967, but she loved life. She smoked whenever she wanted to smoke, she drank whenever she wanted a drink and she loved to gamble. She spent quite a bit of her later years in Las Vegas and knew all of the blackjack dealers.

John "Jake" Gaudino,
Robert Gaudino's brother