The Nicknappers, Part 2

by | Dec 22, 2019

By Bruce Mastracchio

(If you haven’t read Part 1, here’s the link.)

Now, I am not going to reveal the real names of the boys who pulled off this sick prank. Rather, like I always do in cases like this, I will use their nicknames. For, despite having some depravity in their characters as witnessed by their compunction to pull off such a dastardly deed, all of them went on to success in life, and, like one of my former companions, do not want to be reminded of this chapter from their nefarious past!

The culprits were (even their nicknames have been altered some): Gov.TeePol, The Bishop, Punchy, Rassler, Speedy, Ragu, and Dagger. The author of the letter was Speedy. Here, in his own words, is the tale of what really happened on that dark day, in the holiday season of 1954, or so.

“Bruce, I finally found the article that I mentioned to you sometime ago that I thought would be the basis for an Old East Greenwich story. Trust me that you will protect the participants!

This article does not have a date on it, but I would guess that it was either 1954 or 1955, toward the end of our college days. Our Marlborough Street gang used to spend a lot of time with the girls from Blessed Sacrament, up in the PC area (Providence College). The old gang included several people with whom you would be familiar (names included in the letter BUT excluded here except for nicknames, including yours truly, the letter writer ).

It was a ritual to spend Saturday nights at The Oaks Tavern on Douglas Avenue, where there was a live band. We obviously felt the effects of all the beer we were drinking by the time we got back to E.G. Hope you can remember some of those Yule Time displays on the Kent County Courthouse lawn.

(I can).

Well, Punchy, Rassler, The Bishop, Speedy, Dagger and Ragu were admiring good, old, Santa when Punchy, for some unknown reason (full of booze maybe?), got upset with Santa and just about knocked his head off with a roundhouse punch! We couldn’t leave Santa in that condition so we had to figure out something to do with him.

Well, The Governor’s (Gov.TeePol) girlfriend lived in Pawtucket so he wasn’t back in EG at the time. He was also a democratic political aspirant, in good,old, Republican EG, so we thought  it would be a great laugh to “store” Santa in his one-car unattached garage, and experience the look on his face when he drove back from Pawtucket and saw Santa sitting in his garage.

It all worked out as we expected and we were all hysterical with the exception of “The Governor”! We comforted him with the thought that we would not ruin his political  career and that we would dispose of Santa the next night.

Well, the next night, under cover of darkness, we took Santa down to the Green Forge on Forger Road and “dumped” him into the frigid waters. We assume that Santa eventually floated out into Narragansett Bay and went “to sleep with the fishes.”

We stopped at Scurti’s (Chianti’s, now Safehouse) to celebrate our accomplishment, then headed back to EG.

The “Preacher” (also known as “The Deacon,” one of my compatriots), remembers this incident well, since his father was the courthouse custodian at the time and he was anxious to solve the mystery of Santa’s disappearance, never suspecting that the culprits were the college-age sons of his next door and nearby neighbors.

“Bruce, hope you can embellish this story.”

Speedy, there was NO need to embellish this story. It was great as is.

However, despite your advanced age at the time, the “crew” of my generation would have never treated Santa so shabbily, and most likely would not have given him a Mafia burial at sea.

I think we might have taken Santa, hid him for awhile, at least until the PEB had given us our due as consummate “Nicknappers,” and then, we would have had him “reappear” in some prominent part of town, say the roof of the courthouse, or, in one of the jail cells (remember my bud, the Preacher, had access to the keys via his father). Or, we might have left him at the door to OLM church, or the home of the Chamber president. As I said, “Our crew was very creative, and not destructive, like you college boys.”

So folks, there you have it, a Christmas story with a different twist. Maybe next year I will sprinkle some “magic dust” and give it a different life, complete with more story and “dialogue,” BUT this is how the story hit me at this time. A first-hand account from an East Greenwich college boy, “Nicknapper.”

So to you all you readers out there. Love the ones you love and those that love you. Shower them now and not later, remembering when it is too late. I sincerely hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Bruce Mastracchio grew up in East Greenwich, where he experienced those 28-hour days and 8-day weeks that contained the magic that made his hometown so special. Included in all that were the numerous characters that added color to the local life and produced many of Bruce’s remarkable stories.


Become a part of a movement – join the EG News community by making a donation today! We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to keeping East Greenwich informed. Use the Donate button below or send a check to EG News, 18 Prospect St., E.G., RI 02818. And, thanks!


Value the news you get here on East Greenwich News? As a 501-c3, we depend on reader support. Become a sustaining (monthly) donor or make a one-time donation! Click on the Donate button below or send a check to EG News, 18 Prospect St., East Greenwich, RI 02818. Thanks.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments




Above: Bebe bull raking. Courtesy of the family Frederick D. MacDonald passed away last week at...

A Mother’s Tale

A Mother’s Tale

Above: Bruce's mother and her siblings: Edythe Ucci, Frank Ucci, Dora Mastracchio (Bruce's mom),...

Newsletter Sign Up

* indicates required


Latest Streaming