When I first saw Lefty, he was fighting some drifter kids who were panhandling in his territory of downtown PDX (Portland, Oregon). A one armed Vietnam veteran versus 3 or 4 kids didn’t seem like a fair fight. At first I wanted to jump in and help him, but like the one armed brawler in Lonely Are The Brave, Lefty not only held his ground he triumphed.
I lingered while Lefty calmed down, sizing him up and imagining him dressed in Kapital clothing. My local friend Neal assured me that if we needed Lefty he would be easy to find. Sure enough, over the following week we crossed paths with him at the music shop, the donut shop, the coffee shop…
The following week, when it was time to shoot, Lefty was found at a moments notice just as Neal had promised. He slipped into a Kapital vest and blurted out at me, “You suckers missed Christmas!”. I was confused for a moment and then figured it out… “USMC”. He then belted out one of his tunes as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
Lefty succumbed to emphysema and was found dead on March 11, 2014.
Rest in peace, Richard “Lefty” Gismondi