"Your word is your bond. And family is everything."
Deirdre Marie Capone was the last person born with the Capone surname. Her family was so misunderstood, the more research Deirdre did, the more she discovered how sullied her family name was. Yes, Al Capone had money. But he shared it. Her father was a lawyer, but the Chicago Bar Association wouldn't allow him to practice due to his family connections. He ultimately took his own life. Deirdre's grandfather took her under his wing, and she promised him her book, Uncle Al Capone, would not be written until all the original family members had passed away. This kind of respect was known as omerta.
Prohibition started in 1920. Women were bobbing their hair and shortening their skirts. Jazz was coming into being. Everything revolved around the consumption of alcohol. Now all of a sudden, the government banned the transportation and consumption of it. People in rural areas could build their own stills and make their own alcohol, but other people in the cities could not. They relied on somebody to provide it. Deirdre's family called it a business, priding themselves on providing top quality alcohol. "Nobody ever went blind. Their livers never burst open." They thought they were providing a service, and they were. But they made too much money, and they were Italian. Businesspeople didn't like them.
We drank Templeton Rye cocktails one afternoon at Newport Beach's A Restaurant just before her appearance at Hi-Time Wine Cellars. Deirdre discussed how Prohibition was not evil, but the abuse of it was.
Tell us about a side of Uncle Al that only you, his niece, knew.
There's one story that's not in my book that would describe Uncle Al well. I was with my father at Al's home in Miami, and they had a huge saltwater pool. They didn't filter or add chlorine to it. I jumped in, and when he picked me up out of the water, I can still see his face. He kept laughing and laughing. He laughed so hard he started choking. I must've made the most unbelievable face, because I've never been in saltwater before. It startled and stung me.