Paul Pesce and Richard Boyhan

Recorded February 1, 2006 Archived February 1, 2006 01:21:33
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX001013


Paul talks to his friend about the love of his life and his career.

Subject Log / Time Code

Paul talks about how he met his wife on the NYC subway and recalls their first date. When he asked her is she would marry him, she said: “Ok, but don’t tell my mother we just met.”
Paul recalls them as newlyweds driving down to Florida. Paul had just gotten his license.


  • Paul Pesce
  • Richard Boyhan

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:04 Hi, my name is Richard Boykin.

00:07 I believe I still am 47 years old. I was born April 21st 1958. We're here and Miami Florida front of the Miami Herald building.

00:20 And I'm interviewing my friend who have known for well over 20 years.

00:29 I'm Richards friend Paul petsch.

00:34 I'm 39 years old. I'm celebrating my 41st anniversary of my 39th birthday.

00:43 I was born August 12th 1925.

00:50 Right now we're in Miami, Florida.

00:54 And Richard is interviewing me.

00:57 So appalled.

01:00 Where were you born?

01:03 I was born in Brooklyn, New York.

01:07 And about that same time that you said before tell me the story of how you got into college.

01:15 Epic story

01:17 I had just gotten discharge from the Navy and like all the veterans of that time that we were trying to get into college and I was interviewed like by 4 different colleges of none of accepting me.

01:32 So I just gave up the idea.

01:36 But luckily

01:39 We used to have buddies milk four of us. Please go dancing every night.

01:46 The college has a high schools the churches the American Legion. They all had a dance one night one night or another week and the ideas dancing every night.

02:04 Was easily solved

02:06 I wait. Well, I was dancing if everybody didn't stop to watch me that night. That was a bad night.

02:15 So you see we're pretty into dancing.

02:20 Anyway, John call me my friend one of my friends that Reese go dancing with every night and he told me that he couldn't meet me to go to the dance. He would meet me at the dance.

02:35 Bicycle white why you want to do that John? He said well, my father was a pharmacist wants me to get into pharmacy school.

02:44 I said why don't I meet you at the drop your father's drug store cuz he was going to want to take John to st. John's School of Pharmacy and get us get him into pharmacy school.

02:59 So is it all right if you don't mind going to the drugstore and we went to St. John's School of Pharmacy with his dad?

03:15 And his dad was the Commander in Chief of the American Legion of Brooklyn. So we felt that being pharmacist and being the commander-in-chief of all the broken like that have some influence when we got to the school.

03:33 We went in for the Dean's office and I sat on one side of mustard Angelo and John sat on the other side of his dad.

03:43 13th and Roe

03:46 Apparently had dentures that with nut.

03:51 Tight enough coffee keep reaching over to hold his teeth in place.

03:59 Are you looks at me and he says?

04:03 Were you interested in sports and not in school? I said yes, then I said I was on the track team. He said I said, well I ran the what a mile and a half mile the mile cross-country light pole vaulted and I threw the shot put he said great. He looks at John's father.

04:29 He says Commander will get those kids in school if you have to bring chairs in.

04:37 So we left the office and I looked at John I said John.

04:41 Did he mean both of us?

04:45 John said I don't know he says but why don't you come with me on Monday and we'll see so I went with John on Monday.

04:54 What's that in the class? And for two weeks? I went to every date School pharmacy school.

05:00 And one day she just has a Pash Pash I said, yes.

05:07 Said go to the registrar's office. I want to talk to you. So don't write I went to the registrar's office.

05:16 And read what she says to me.

05:19 Are we need your high school diploma?

05:23 I said high school diploma. I don't have a high school diploma. She says you don't have a high school diploma. You can't go to college without a high-school diploma.

05:33 I said, well it didn't she says well then you go talk to the Dane.

05:37 I want to talk to the dean. He says you don't have the high school and from where?

05:44 I said no. I didn't hide. I didn't graduate high school what you have to have a high-school. I said Dean and roll would it be all right if I went to pharmacy school during the day and went to high school at night and when I got my diploma, then you could credit me for the time that I was in school. He said well if you think you could do it

06:12 But that's what I did. I went to school college join the day went to high school at night. We danced after high school. And then I worked as a n x-ray technician in Saint Vincent's hospital at through the night or in my mind that these Hospital have an x-ray technician.

06:39 My years of high school

06:42 I have learned that I had been a straight trained as an x-ray technician in the Navy.

06:49 Serve me. Well, you didn't sleep very much. Did you at that age who'd have to sleep?

06:56 So anyway, that's not true.

07:02 Pharmacy school and with a high school diploma with a high school diploma and a lot of dancing and a lot of things tell me the story about

07:16 You're married to Eleanor Eleanor so lovely lovely lady. Tell me how you met Eleanor.

07:26 As in as a pharmacy students to get your license if you had to work as an intern in the drugstore for year, so I was working in a drug store in New York City have an intern and I got out one night on a Sunday night walk to the subway.

07:47 Subway was an unheard-of thing. That was nobody I mean nobody on the train station. Nobody in the train cars.

08:00 Except at the far end of one of the cars. I saw this pretty looking lady.

08:07 Stop being a Brooklyn boy that likes to dance. I want got on the car. I Walk the Line through the car.

08:15 Got to the end of the car and sat down next to lady.

08:23 I pull out my book.

08:25 I was reading.

08:27 What is Man by Mark Twain?

08:31 And I'm reading and I turned to the lady and I said to her Rock does this train go to Brooklyn?

08:40 She looks at me she says and points to the sign at the other side of car. He says read the fine.

08:48 Clothes like I haven't written this train a hundred times.

08:53 Anyway, I kept reading the Bible went back to reading the book.

09:01 And I turned to her and I said, can I take you to your house? She says you can go anywhere you want if you have a quarter.

09:10 So she gets off at the next stop and I got off with her and followed her found out that not only did she have to change.

09:19 Cars, she had a change of subways.

09:25 I was on the BMT and she took she got off to B&C went to the Hudson line to get to Jersey.

09:34 Try to get a quarter into the meter before her she got her quarter in first.

09:39 Anyway, I followed her to get found a train subway, and she goes to Jersey so she gets off one or two stamps and I got off right with her.

09:52 Went upstairs with her and there was a two-tiered bus up there that she got on and I got on with her. She climb to the top to you and I climbed up with her scent right next to her.

10:05 And as we're driving along like that. How early can I buy you a drink? She looks at me and she says

10:14 I don't drink. I'm at Coffee coffee is going to start man.

10:22 She spoils and she says all right.

10:27 So I got off with her. We had coffee come out of coffee shop and as she's walking out I said, can I walk you to your home? She said I just live a block or so away from here, and I'd rather walk on myself.

10:42 It all right.

10:45 I said, could you will if I have your phone number?

10:49 Pulled out of paper roll the number

10:52 By the way, I found that she didn't live a block away.

10:57 She look like she didn't learn that at station.

11:01 I found that out when I picked her up later. Anyway, she writes the number.

11:06 And I took it with me. I took the went back to home.

11:11 And not the next morning.

11:14 First thing I did was I looked at that number like called the number a woman answer the phone and she says

11:22 Eleanor that fella you met is on the phone. You have a very nice voice.

11:29 Anyway, Eleanor

11:33 Picked up the phone and I said to her Rock.

11:37 Can I take you out tonight?

11:42 Pause

11:45 She says no.

11:48 I said oh.

11:51 Old how about tomorrow night?

11:54 She said

11:57 Alright, so she gave me an address and Cliff. Like I said, I was nowhere near the station that we got off at night.

12:10 I went I picked her up and I brought her back to New York and we went to see a play and usually when I'm telling a story about this time, she says me and what was the name of the plate?

12:24 My info always says I don't remember who she was more on your mind than the play never have any way out of the play and I said will you marry me?

12:42 I cannot pause.

12:45 And she said the

12:47 Okay.

12:51 She said but don't tell my mother we just met tell her we knew each other in Grammar School.

13:02 Anyway

13:04 I went home with her that her mother and her stepfather and

13:11 Days later we told her mother. We were going to get married. We'd like to get married and she started making plans for us before our wedding.

13:22 But her stepfather was always making excuses or interrupting or bothering you.

13:29 Anyway, I said to Eleanor one day.

13:34 But a week later, I'm going to go down to Florida where I have been stationed when I was in the Navy stationed in Jacksonville, and I said I want to be able to register as a pharmacist in Florida take the state board and when I get back we can get married then.

13:56 I know you won't.

13:59 It would mean I'm going with you.

14:04 We went back we told her mother about it. And I mother said you know what that's the best idea yet. Your father is just too too much trouble.

14:15 Oh, by the way, her father was selling a New York Chrysler.

14:22 Car

14:25 Her mother loan me $500 to buy the car.

14:31 So I had to give up.

14:33 Riding my motorcycle, which I have been riding for the all those years in college.

14:39 To buy to buy this car from her stepfather and

14:45 Lessons

14:48 Got my license and they are got my license. I took her for a ride. We went into the park and we were sitting there talking and all of a sudden I see these lights.

14:59 I'm a police car.

15:02 Stopping just behind us where we were parked.

15:06 The odds against Falcons over to a car window and says what are you doing? We're just talking about it says good. Don't talk someplace else.

15:17 So I said yes officer, so he's walking away and if he's walking away I said officer Officer says yeah, how do you turn the lights on in the car?

15:28 We came over and turn the lights on for me.

15:33 Drive out of the flock.

15:36 That wasn't part of the lessons what you laughing at?

15:42 Anyway

15:45 We

15:47 Got ready for packed and a couple nights later and we'll leaving New Jersey and I said to her.

15:56 You watch the car gauge if I go over 30 miles an hour tell me cuz I've got to watch the road.

16:04 We were driving to Florida.

16:08 With a couple of days experience as a driver.

16:12 And I said she was watching the cage and I'm watching the road and that's real leaving, Jersey City.

16:20 We came to the plus gate Pulaski Skyway. So one of my wheels goes on the oncoming traffic and the other one goes on the going traffic.

16:33 Right over the divider. So I had to back off on my first few steps on The First beginning of my trip.

16:43 Anyway, I kept driving all night stopped a couple of times and

16:50 At 5 in the morning.

16:53 She said to me. Yeah, you're going 35 miles an hour.

16:57 Hello.

16:59 I put my foot on the brake.

17:02 Cuz you coming 40 miles an hour.

17:04 I press harder on the break.

17:07 Cuz you going 45 miles an hour.

17:10 What do you mean I put my foot as hard as I could on the break. She says you going 50 miles an hour.

17:17 She's looked back and she says that bus behind you was pushing you.

17:23 How we will push by the bus into Washington?

17:27 Luckily the bus decided megatar get away and going so on way on way once we got into, Washington.

17:37 Elwood driving through Washington and I see a cop directing traffic around 7:38 in the morning and I stopped and I said divorce her but we want to go to Virginia. Can you tell us which way you told me how it go?

17:54 I drive I kept driving and all the sudden I see a cut that looks just like the cop I just was talking to.

18:02 You know that in the washed and the streets are laid out in a spider web pattern circle circle and anyway.

18:14 I stopped and I said also, can you tell me how that says didn't I just tell you how to go to Virginia was you he says yeah. He says. Just go straight ahead.

18:26 Anyway about 10 minutes later. I see the cup again.

18:33 So Tucker three tries to get up, Washington.

18:36 Linway Eleanor Drive Reading the map and every time that she tells me make a right turn or left. Turn. I make it as automatically as possible.

18:47 So we stopped behind a lot of bars and a lot of restaurants on the way.

18:53 We finally got to.

18:56 Florida

18:58 We stopped off at Jacksonville where I had friends.

19:02 And.

19:04 We stayed at 8.

19:07 Hotel on the beach

19:11 And we stayed there for about a week and I would go fishing every day in the surf and I caught a fish out 6 in Long.

19:22 Acting like the second day. So I put in refrigerator and I kept in the freezer thinking if I caught a bigger fish. I can take a better picture. Anyway, we still like show you the picture the same fish that I caught the first play. I have the same place the last night.

19:39 Anyway, we went to a Tallahassee. I took the state boards and I told her why don't we go to Miami to come down to Miami and stay with the guys up in Jacksonville.

19:59 We came to Miami and then

20:02 In the in the newspaper. There was an ad pharmacist wanted.

20:09 $100 a week

20:12 $100 a week. I said in New York the only paying $75 a week.

20:20 Remember, this is 55 years ago.

20:25 Stop with a drugstore the address phone number and address walk and I walk in I said to the pharmacist.

20:34 Are you are you really paying pharmacist $100 a week? He said oh, yeah, he says are you a pharmacist? I said, yes, cuz you looking for a job I said, yeah, he says well.

20:46 I said well.

20:48 I'm not Prince down in Florida yet. It says all just took the state boards.

20:57 Is what's your name? I said he said hold on a minute picks up the phone. It says yeah passport patch.

21:07 Yeah, okay. Thank you. Thank you by put the phone down.

21:13 Takes his jacket off throws around my shoulders and says I'll see you tomorrow.

21:19 Haven't had a day off in 6 weeks.

21:23 I went outside told Eleanor was sitting in the car find us an apartment to us some place for us to stay. I just got a job Little River.

21:37 She found this little house.

21:40 That we stayed in.

21:42 And it was what it was was this a new chain called Nevins was just starting out.

21:49 And they needed pharmacist. So I worked two shifts every day for about a year.

21:59 But that didn't stop us from having fun at night in going out and

22:04 Restaurants you were still young and I need to sleep any now.

22:11 Oh we oh, so anyway, we found out I was working for one of the pharmacists in his account and came. He said Paul. Why are you working for somebody? I thought he talked about his why don't you own your own drug store? He says even if you don't make money as a pharmacist, you'll make money. Just know what you could the right off.

22:35 So we looked through the end. We found a drug store on the outskirts of what was that that time Miami with a hundred 45th Street and Northwest 7th Avenue, which is downtown Minot right now between Fort Lauderdale and Miami we found this little drug store.

23:03 And

23:04 You want to go very little amount?

23:09 Might we got the money from her mother.

23:13 What the drug store fact I wrote a check on a Friday night.

23:19 The merchandise

23:22 Call at 9 with no money in the bank knowing that by Monday in every Money in the Bank.

23:30 Hello.

23:33 That's how we started. And again, I worked from 7:30 to 7:30 in the morning till 11 at night. We went out and ate.

23:43 Go to get got to sleep in bed by about 1.

23:46 Open this drugstore 10 at 7:30.

23:50 We did. All right, and did that day after day after day after day, in fact two or three times in a year, we would take like a weekend off go to Cuba at that time you two boys are open to us and remember coming back we would be and we just went to one of these inspectors.

24:12 And I hear and say now I know where my money goes was one of the customers.

24:21 Now I now I know way my way my money goes to go out and spend it all the Seas. Anyway, I said hello to him and we recognized each other.

24:32 And that was the way we lived for about eight years on years now that Pharmacy you had that it had a soda fountain soda fountain and

24:44 Well, we would sell food lunches. And what I did was I put a post office in the drugstore. I also did something that was on the heart if I put a pewter shot in the back of the truck store.

25:03 How we were pretty low and we also collected Florida Power & Light electric bills.

25:09 Do you do a little bit of everything?

25:12 And when the when the post office was closed which fell American Express money orders.

25:19 So we did pretty good.

25:21 Lot of hours on a lot of work, but it was worth it the rewards today.

25:28 Landlord want to sell the building and he send people over to look at the building and I would talk to them and I'd say to them.

25:38 I don't know why you want to put money in building.

25:41 Can you get more money buying something else?

25:45 So I kept the scaring off the people that were there caught that he said well water no no.

25:54 How long you going to stay here?

25:57 And I wanted to make sure you were so I was always say some will I don't know. I don't know how long we're going to be here.

26:05 David Guillen Gary Byers, we bought it from him and we enlarge the building also bought the property next to us and enlarge the store by putting other store next to it and knocking a wall down between it between them and we built up put an apartment above.

26:29 And you made an apartment and a storage area there. Did you live in the apartment about live in the apartment above and I put a dumb waiter in?

26:42 How long did you live in that? I was a pharmacist for about?

26:47 I think is about 16 years.

26:50 And then you went back to school and became well what happened? Cuz I quit Pharmacy.

26:55 When I was a kid.

26:58 When I was a kid.

27:00 I read in Popular Mechanics.

27:03 Give us so much money a month and we will pay you so many dollars a month at retirement age and I thought to myself they could do it.

27:17 Advice to save my money

27:20 And

27:22 Retired sold business

27:26 And I went to my friend went I went to acting school.

27:33 Acting school University of Miami

27:37 The acting school for about 2 years

27:41 But my doctor friends who had known me while I was pharmacist that may what are you doing for?

27:48 Punch it want to go back to school and get it to become a doctor.

27:52 I had always want to be a doctor.

27:55 I feel right. So anyway, I went back to Pharmacy stats of the acting school. I said to the teacher.

28:05 I have a chance to go to medical school. He said take it take it.

28:14 Ear doctor is dr. I guess he didn't he didn't think I should become an actor.

28:21 Anyway, got into Philadelphia College of osteopathic medicine.

28:28 And

28:30 I've been a doctor for about 20 years.

28:36 And just retired.

28:39 A while back

28:43 Inspiration 55 years

28:48 Beautiful woman

28:51 Three beautiful children three grandchildren. Great life is good. Life is good. How did you know that Eleanor was the one

29:03 She said yes.

29:05 How the other one said no.

29:09 Was it that attracted you to her the only one on the train?

29:16 Who saw a picture? She was beautiful and she still is she really is both you and Eleanor really beautiful songs, really nice beautiful people and it's been great being a friend of y'all. It really hasn't had met. My wife was just three years. She also has come to really appreciate you guys and really love you guys for the

29:44 You making lumps in my throat, Well, here's another story we can talk about I remember you telling me that story sometime back about the wedding party. You had to go to a New York. Tell me about that.

30:01 What you know, my mother died when I was about 9 years old.

30:05 I was put in an orphanage.

30:08 So I didn't know I had any family except for my dad who would come and visit us once a month and you had Brothers to write and they were not my full brother play with my half-brother my half-brothers. My mother's child children.

30:29 Fact

30:31 My my mother lost her husband.

30:35 Fell in love with my father

30:37 She became pregnant with me.

30:40 State took the children away and put them in oil in an orphanage.

30:50 My half brother and sisters didn't really appreciate me cuz I was a cause of him going into the orphanage.

30:59 But anyway to get back to the story about the pants women Brooklyn visit from Miami. We went to Brooklyn We visited one one of my brothers.

31:12 And while we're there one night I said to Eleanor.

31:17 Book a telephone directory see if there's any pictures around.

31:21 She looks in the telephone directory and she says oh, yeah, I hear there's two of them and the addresses and my brother Lou said that's just a couple of blocks from here. I said call them.

31:36 Illinois says call him she says it's 11:00 at night. I said call them.

31:42 She said so let I don't care if it's 11 to call him. So she calls.

31:48 And she hears come on over.

31:52 We went over.

31:54 And we found out that the father of the house.

31:59 Was one of my father's Brothers in a while.

32:05 So we stayed there and talked and drank and danced until about 3 in the morning.

32:13 Said goodbye and left and when we came back to Florida.

32:18 We thought of them quite often we got to tell that we got a wedding invitation. One of the boys is getting married.

32:30 I said hell no, let's go.

32:32 And we went to Brooklyn and we went to the wedding.

32:37 And I'm dancing.

32:40 And why would I am dancing? I stopped off and I said to the orchestra leader look.

32:46 Not all my friends. My cousins friends are Italian or American I said.

32:54 Play an Irish jig play a Jewish kazatzka.

32:58 Is it all right if we played an Irish jig and I did the Irish jig then he did the kazotsky another Russian dance. Where you Squat and gotten his kick your feet up and down.

33:09 Anyway, as I'm doing that I'm squatting and doing everything cuz that's good my pants split.

33:16 Get a rip in your van. I get a rip in my pants my everybody in the play all everybody when I walked in. The all said who's that? Who's that Nathan all that seductive from Florida? So I'm never watching I move back with the holding my pants together as much as well as I could and I sit down at this long table.

33:39 And few minutes later the word comes up tell the doctor to send his pants down.

33:48 Hawaii

33:50 Look around and modestly under the table. I slide my pants off and send them down to the end of the table few minutes later. They come back all sewn up.

34:03 Play slipping back into the pants.

34:06 And I go out nice. Dancing and everybody starts applauding.

34:13 Anyway about maybe a year later we decide we used to take a lot of trips at that time. We decided to go on a Perillo tour to Italy so we go to Italy.

34:29 And we went through body which was a town that my father had been born in and raised it and I'm sorry not the town. He was born in a town or a village called Mola.

34:43 Which was part of the town of body.

34:49 Lisa Paulette moloda body so

34:54 Again, I said Eleanor.

34:57 Sit there any patches in the phone book so she picks up the phone, but she said yeah, there's lots of them that we'll meet them in the next town.

35:13 And I said did that he said okay.

35:19 Anyway, next morning. We got up and went to the train station were in line is like four people there.

35:27 Head of us and after we get up to the window the window slides down.

35:34 On tap on the window that we know Rises and The Man and Italians looks it out says yes.

35:44 And I can't speak Italian because I didn't hear it. Tell you once I got a New York niche.

35:49 Eleanor speaks very good Italian so she told him to tell him that we want. You know, what we want to go to mola. He says, she'll be a witch in Italian mean to strike. I know I said go tell him that we don't have much time for the two of them for 3. Oz of Spike will be over and you can go to Mola.

36:17 But we don't have the time.

36:21 She said that to him in Italian that you answered her in Italian about two blocks down and they'll be a bus that comes from molang goes back back and forth.

36:33 So we walk the two blocks and the bus sure enough comes sign on the table says body that came down find Mola.

36:47 So I go to the front of the bus and I said that it might best Italian.

36:53 What's the bus that goes to mola? He looks out at me and he says.

37:00 See ya in 15 minutes.

37:05 Wait a minute. Did my Italian get so good or did you just speak English because I speak English.

37:13 Cuz I was a prisoner of war in America.

37:17 After the second world war and he said I married a girl from Boston but a year or two ago, my mother became ill so I had to come home to take care of her.

37:30 He says

37:32 He said if there's any patches in mola, he said my brother who knows everybody and Moller will know it says get on get on its we get on and that's what driving he turns around and says and if we don't find any precious, he says you come home with me. We've got some great new wine.

37:55 Anyway, we get the Mola.

37:57 Can't open SIM card at the bus door.

38:01 Puts a raincoat over his head to cause it started drizzling a little bit just a little and he says he looks back and says hey come on, come on.

38:11 So we went with him that his my brother is he do you know if there's any passion said he'll know I was talking to his brother in Italian.

38:21 And his brother is shaking his head. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. In fact, he says he is coming toward us and the fella came walking towards who had a twisted on we found out later that he had been wounded in the service. Anyway, he comes up to us and the brother says to this older man.

38:45 These people came all the way from New York to see you.

38:54 Yeah, they came all the way to see you because your realtor is that so

39:01 A toilet time to Illinois that talk to this guy. So she said something to him in Italian and then Italian these stuff and he says the doctor with the pants.

39:16 He grabbed with around the shoulder and says come on and in Italian with me we went back and we went to his house and his house was about as narrow as a trailer.

39:31 And about as deep as a trail at but two stories and it must been 500 years old.

39:38 Literally, you can see where the plaster was put on by hand. You see the hand prints where they submitted on my hand.

39:47 Anyway

39:48 I met my Aunt cuz he was my uncle twin but my aunt and my cousin that his daughter and he took us to the fish market, which was really all it was was about a hundred yards off the ocean.

40:06 All the fish were still alive and little pools and you would people in fresh fish. I mean fresh fresh still alive. We going

40:18 Well, that's pretty good. Well.

40:22 I really appreciate the the stories you tell Paul a really good. I really do any even though I've heard him a lot of times. I still love to hear.

40:33 And it's great sharing the times. Thank you interested. Thank you for being in my life. I really appreciate it. Praise. God Amen.

40:45 Who would have?