The first time I read the Stockbroker to Pornbroker article was when I was home for spring break during my freshmen year of college. I was curious about the stories I had heard growing up and dug through a stack of news clips my mother had collected about my dad from the 1970s. It was strange to read about my father depicted as the Philadelphia stockbroker turned notorious pornbroker at the helm of a successful strip club and the target of a federal indictment. To me, he was just my dad. This article was published in May of 1977 in the Sunday magazine insert for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the impetus to write my memoir, Daughter of Pornography. When I began writing the whereabouts of this article had been lost in between my father’s second and third marriages. I needed to find it again.
My last resort was to research microfilm at the Library of Congress. I was lucky I lived nearby so trips there were easy. If you have ever researched through microfilm you have to look through everything chronologically, so exact dates are important. There is no database to type in keywords to narrow your search. I relied on my parents’ memories to narrow down the publication date which was frustrating and provided conflicting information.
“Was the weather warm or cold outside when you read the article?” I asked my mother trying to isolate the month of publication.
She said, “I think I was wearing a sweater. Yeah it might have been chilly.” This made me happy and indicated publication was either early spring or fall.
I asked my father yet again, “Are you sure you were interviewed in 1976?”
His response, “It was either spring of 1976 or 1977. I don’t remember Kristin it was more than 30 years ago.” This answer led me back to the microfilm drawer to pull a different year or month.
I wondered how they could forget what I saw as a major development in their lives. But then I realized the significance of the article was only my perception and this was one of many things that occurred during this time.
I went through every Sunday edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer from the beginning of 1976 through spring of 1977. Finally one Saturday huddled behind a microfilm reading machine with my eyes growing tired and my sweater no longer keeping me warm in the over air-conditioned periodical reading room, the elusive article floated up on the screen. At that moment I was whispering more questions to my mother on my cell phone when I hastily said I had to call her back.
Click here to view the article.
The cover had a picture of the woman executive with her feet up on a desk and the headline, “Problems for the Female Executive”. It was so cliché 1970s feminism. I was sure that same woman executive would be the first to malign the Golden 33, my father’s strip club, as the bastion of everything machismo and disrespectful to women. The article had some great lines. My favorite was a quote in an inset, “the big difference between selling stock and selling smut, according to Tony Battista, is the hours. Also, he doesn’t wear a tie anymore.”
There was also a mention of me and my mother,” I never seem to get enough time with my family,“ my father said. The reporter references his young daughter and wife in Upper Darby. There is a clear hesitation from my father to expand on that topic. I know why. He always wanted to protect us and being away from home was his greatest disappointment.
This article has provided me great insight about these events and most importantly a rare glimpse of a younger version my father during this tumultuous time. It’s a gift to learn about my family that has given me a more complete understanding of myself. This story continues to unfold in my memoir Daughter of Pornography. Stay tuned.