It was a truism in Jersey City and Bayonne that if you talked to a stranger for three minutes you had a host of common friends. If you spoke for five minutes you were related. The city connections through athletics and activities like the catholic youth league and summer Jersey basketball allowed Michael to seamlessly have a network of friends at Seton Hall.It was almost immediate that Tom Heiart,Bert Burke ,Jack Rority and Paul Bronkowski became Michael’s new band of brothers.Of course there was also the addition of Jim Manning affectionately known as the “maniac” because of the legendary stories that were unfortunately all true.Michael had witnessed one of these outrageous happenings previously on St Patty’s day in New York. The maniac had somehow smuggled a woodsman’s saw into a suite at the Biltmore Hotel.At one point of the afternoon the maniac completely inebriated and an accomplice sawed a piano in half.This was only outdone several hours later when for some reason he held up traffic by running naked through the Lincoln tunnel. His arrest and short stay at the Bellevue psych ward were whitewashed due to the fact that his father was the chief of police in Bayonne.
On the Homefront Michael had a team of experts that were intimately involved with caring for Donny and Danny.Father Mc Nulty and the good Sisters of Charity at St.Aloysius were daily addressing many of the boys emotional and social needs. This was complimented by Michaael ,Aunt Mary and Arlene.Michael’s father was still in the midst of his grief and also had no modeling for what to do . His father had been an alcoholic brute who not only was physically abusive to his wife and children he also consistently told Michael’s father that “Life was a shit sandwich and every day you took a bite.”Michael’s father adored his wife and never once raised his hand to any family member but he did not know how to physically or emotionally provide the necessary sustenance that the boys needed.
Despite all of the responsibilities at home Michael thrived in the academic environment of the University.As the first semester waned on he was in line to accomplish straight A’’s. He particularly loved the Philosophy and Theology requirements and found himself regularly engaging the professors in meaningful dialogues. The Catholic environment and opportunity to attend mass daily fortified his faith and he laid his sorrow and concerns at the feet of his Lord.