Someone nominated the late Vito Dandreano for the Amsterdam Birthday Blog early last spring. The nomination put me in sort of a bind. One of the key reasons I write these birthday profiles is to share my own personal experiences with and memories of the individuals featured in my posts. I had just a single personal interaction with Mr Dandreano long ago and it had not been pleasant.
I used to bar tend at a former downtown Amsterdam restaurant that also sold whipped cream birthday cakes. One Sunday afternoon, Vito came into the bar to pick up a cake. I went to the cooler, found the box with the name Dandreano on it, brought it back to the bar and told Vito he owed me something like $6.50. That’s how long ago this meeting took place, the darn cake was just $6.50. Vito looked at me like I was from Mars and exclaimed in a loud voice “(Your boss) said he was going give me this cake for free.” I told Vito I was sorry but the owner hadn’t told me to give him the cake for free and the box had the price marked on it. Vito then told me, actually he ordered me to call the owner right then and there and ask him. Now I probably would have done that if Vito had asked nicely but he hadn’t. He was yelling at me and I had a bunch of regular customers at the bar listening to this exchange and every one of them had bought one of these cakes themselve’s at one time or another and the owner had charged them full price.
So I told Vito I wasn’t going to call the owner but if he wanted to call himself, I pointed to the phone booth and told him to go ahead. The son of a gun went to the phone booth, made the call and a minute later the phone behind the bar rang and it was my boss telling me to let Vito have the cake for free, which I very begrudgingly did.
That’s the only time in my life I ever spoke to today’s Birthday Celebrant and I could not put the episode out of my mind and pretend it never happened so when May 20th came along last year, I didn’t post a birthday blog for that day.
So why am I changing my mind and including Vito as today’s Birthday Celebrant? One morning not too long ago I was listening to three guys who knew Vito much much better than I ever did, have a discussion about him…
The rest of Vito Dandreano’s birthday post will be published in the second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which will be available for sale right after Thanksgiving. To make sure you get your hands on one of the first copies, join my mailing list here.
The first edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which features my birthday posts for 320 current or former Amsterdam residents, is currently being sold at Liberty Fresh Market, on Route 30 in Amsterdam. You can also purchase it online here.