During the dazed and confused ’70s, Saint Peter’s Prep high school was the rule proving exception. Most of the students were quiet and serious. Here and there, a few who thought of themselves as rowdy might go as far as to wear sneakers or work boots on the way to school. In any event, beards and moustaches were strictly forbidden.
One of the most docile students was Lombardo. Thin and shy, not one to call attention to himself, he never spoke except when one of the teachers asked him a question. One semester, Lombardo began to grow a beard. He also constantly had a distracted, yet shocked, look on his face. In any group of adolescents, personality changes, phases, are not rare. But, with Lombardo, the degree was so abrupt, that it was impossible not to notice. Plus, the school disciplinarian, who quite possibly might have sent a peach home to shave, walked right past Lombardo without saying a word.
A week or so later, Lombardo stopped attending classes. I mentioned this to one of the other kids in the class. He told me that Lombardo’s father, formerly the Commissioner of Public Safety for Union City, had entered the Witness Protection Program. The entire family disappeared with him. This was the beginning of the federal case against Bill Musto.by