Thursday, May 22, 2008
Harry Wainwright was one of Jake Ehrlich's proteges.
When Harry first became an associate of Jake's, Jake said in confidence to a family memeber, "Harry is the only man I have ever been afraid of. He is so talented and smart, I had to keep him close because I did not ever want to have to go up against him in a court of law."
Harry was tuff as nails and damned proud of it.
As a matter of fact, Harry was an ace Air Force Pilot in World War II, and got shot down out in the Pacific Ocean. The Japanese collected Harry from the ocean and put him in a Japanese concentration camp.
Of course, Harry escaped and was soon back up in the skies shooting down Mitsubishi fighter planes and bombers. When Harry retired from the Air Force he was a Major.
Harry Wainwright at the San Francisco Hall of Justice
Harry was best friends with my father, Jake Ehrlich Jr.
When I was a little kid I could not stand Harry because he was always really rough with me. I remember he and my father Jake would watch Monday night football and drink Coors beer and scream at the TV set.
On day when I was 18 years old I had a conversation with Harry and and I said something about a friend of mine.
Harry interrupted and said, "You think you have friends!?!"
I said yes.
Harry asked me how many true friends I thought I had?
I defensively said, "Well, quite a few."
Harry laughed and asked "How many!?!"
I said, "Probably about 6 or 7 true friends."
Harry responded "Look, you are lucky if you can count all of your friends on one God dammed hand–and that is if you have three of your fucking fingers blown off!!!!"
Years later when I was in law school, I had another conversation with Harry where I asked him some serious questions.
I said "Look, I want to know the bottom line on my Grandfather Jake. I know there is much more to him than meets the eye but I can't figure it out?"
Harry said, "I am not going to spell it out for you. You are going to have to figure it out yourself, but I will give you a clue to get you started: Murder Inc."
In my Naiveté, I asked Harry what Murder Inc., was?
He said, "I am not going to spell it out for you. You are in law school, go look it up. It is all there in the California Reporter. All you have to do is look it up!!!"