Rediscovered: Joe Memoli, Made Man

Heading up for Xmas dinner with Floyd Salas reminded me that a little over a year ago I promised to correct something else on the website. Now I’ve just been back up to the Floyd lair last weekend for his 84th birthday party, so maybe I’d better get this one done before another year sneaks past. . . .

The contested info appears in my article “Collecting Floyd Salas,” specifically the bit that mentions Joe Memoli:

At one point Joe Memoli, a Mafioso type who owned a place in Oakland called The Fat Lady, wanted Floyd to write up his life story for him, but Floyd preferred to cover his own experiences and managed to wiggle out of the project. Floyd was acquainted with Memoli from when his brother Al used to sell him stolen suits, and figured it would be better to take a pass.

And a year ago I heard from Iris Odonata, who told me, “Given that I am Joe Memoli’s daughter, I know for a fact, that he never owned The Fat Lady. AND, he wasn’t a ‘Mafioso type,’ he was the real thing. A made man. Capiche?”

As I explained to Iris, the info in the article in large part comes from the POV of Floyd, so “Mafioso type” is just how Floyd phrased it in the notes I took — and he was the one who remembered Memoli as owner of The Fat Lady. In short, I was just channeling info from Floyd over into the article. The article is Floyd on Floyd, with incidental characters making the scene from time to time. As someone once noted, “The only movie playing behind Floyd’s eyes is The Floyd Movie.”

But never let it be said that Up and Down These Mean Streets has anything against giving a Made Man all due credit. I did a little checking to see if Iris actually is related, mostly found dragonfly stuff, so without further confirmation offer her comments on Joe Memoli, his businesses and pastimes:

“For accuracy,” Iris wrote, “he owned, Joseph Memoli’s The Piazza, Crabby Joe’s, and Clancy’s, after Clancy and his partner, Joe Martin sold it. The time frame you were referring to, most likely was The Piazza.

“Joe Memoli was also a patron of local boxers and the boxing community, having been an amateur one himself, post WW2.

“Please adjust your blog to reflect what is true. Thank you.”

But then Iris added two corrections, reminded by her sister: “Dad boxed Golden Gloves b4 WWII. He trained at Sinatra’s gym in Hoboken.

“In between Piazzas, he owned Joseph Memoli’s, a bar, club and restaurant across the street from Piazza 1 and Piazza 2 (this became, The Square Apple, where Tower of Power was house band for awhile).”

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