Written by Ruth Price
Speaking of his father, Vince’s face brightens as his hands help explain his affection. Despite suffering serious injuries during an anti-tank maneuver in the army during WWII his father became a professional accordionist. He traveled to Boston to become a student and later a teacher in a famous conservatory. When he came home, he started several accordion studios, but eventually turned to more lucrative work.
He excelled as a woodworker and welder, but for Vince, it was his father’s love for designing fishing flies and making rods that drew them together. In the small basement of their house, located on the Arkansas river, they worked for hours in the evenings. Gratitude is apparent in his voice when he says, “He taught me about life, about things that I eventually carried into my life.”
After Vince hooked a five-pound trout at Sands Lake, the local newspaper and ultimately The Gazette Telegraph in Colorado Springs ran the story. The Gazette reporter was fascinated by the double-barbed hook Vince used, something no one else was doing. Afterwards, people came from out of town asking for Vince and his father to guide them on the river and build them bamboo rods.
The Italians were strongly connected to each other and the whole community. The Italian and Hispanic kids called themselves The Sackett Street Gang. They formed their own football and baseball teams. One night Vince was surprised to discover the prejudice that some Salidans had toward his beloved neighborhood. An intoxicated woman barreled down their driveway to inform Vince’s father that she didn’t want her son hanging around with Vince’s brother because he had the wrong heritage and lived on Sackett. His father answered calmly, “Well, that’s fine.” When she backed out, she tore her car up on the chain link fence, memorializing her adventure to the seedy side of town.
After college Vince took jobs in retail and moved away from Salida, eventually making his way back where he became a police officer. This led to a thirty-year career. It “turned out to be the kind of work that was geared for me, and I was geared for it.” When he became a detective, he really hit his stride. He enjoyed the challenge of getting a case together and establishing the facts to prove or disprove the case.
After his first wife died, he felt lost and alone. He later remarried. He and his current wife, Karin, have been together for thirty years. Many changes have touched Vince’s life, but like his father, he has faced them with tenacity, optimism, and love.