PDA

View Full Version : Sad loss of the Houseman


edatplaypool
05-01-2008, 08:38 PM
Most here are too young, and frankly I am too having just caught a bit of it. The loss of the Houseman is a sad reflection on pool. I think this is one of those reasons that there are so few serious pool rooms anymore.

Talking about Cue-Nique in Madison, for years they had a houseman called "Cappy". I don't even know if that related to his real name or not. Even though Jerry Briesath was the owner at the time, he never knew who I was. Cappy always did, or it sure seemed he did. Cappy would shoot some straight pool with you, or steer you to or away from a game as appropriate. I have no idea when Cappy passed, but he was probably the one person at Cue-Nique that I miss the most.

The houseman is the guy who watches out for regulars, teaches them how to play, welcomes you when you come into the room. Basically the person who used to make a pool room feel like a second home, rather than just another business to take your money. If he could teach you a thing or two, or just be there during the day so you know it might be worth your time to stop up, then you would keep coming back and the room would stay busy. At least that was the way it seemed to me.

jay helfert
05-01-2008, 08:41 PM
What a beautiful post, almost poetic. I can add nothing. Thanks for this.

edatplaypool
05-01-2008, 09:07 PM
Thanks Jay. The internet is amazing. I was able to find some info. Turns out Cappy only died about 3 years ago.

MADISON - Joseph T. Capossela, age 90, of Madison died on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, after a brief illness at Ingleside Nursing Home, Mount Horeb. Cappy was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He came to Madison in 1944, as an airman and was stationed at Truax Field. In 1945, after discharge from service, he remained in Madison, and began employment at the Wisconsin State Journal as a reporter. We was an amateur artist and exhibited at the Madison Art Fair on the Capitol Square and many other art shows. Technical Sergeant Capossela served in World War II as a radio operator/gunner on a B-24 Bomber and flew 31 missions over Europe. He earned the Distiuiguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak clusters. He was noted as a pool enthusiast and after his retirement worked part-time at Cue-Nique Billiards. He also served a pool instructor and spent many years conducting mini courses in pool at the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union South. Cappy is survived by his wife, Lorraine; a daughter, JoEllen Anderson of Vista, Calif.; a granddaughter, Jessica Anderson of Wiemur, Calif.; a sister-in-law, Geraldine B. Heydn of Madison; nieces and nephews; also a special friend, Duane Weum of Monona. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers; and two sisters. Our thanks go the staff of Ingleside Nursing Home who gave him such loving care. A private family service will be held in Menominee, Mich., and burial will be in Birch Creek Cemetery, Birch Creek, Mich. There will be no visitation. Flowers are asked to be omitted. Memorials may be made to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 211 State St., Madison, WI 53703.

edatplaypool
05-01-2008, 09:14 PM
It gets better and better...

http://www.492ndbombgroup.com/cgi-bin/pagepilot.cgi?page=personnelBio&bioLetter=C&bioDir=CaposselaJT

MikeM
05-01-2008, 09:25 PM
It gets better and better...

http://www.492ndbombgroup.com/cgi-bin/pagepilot.cgi?page=personnelBio&bioLetter=C&bioDir=CaposselaJT


Great read. Thanks for that.

MM

Johnnyt
05-01-2008, 09:56 PM
It gets better and better...

http://www.492ndbombgroup.com/cgi-bin/pagepilot.cgi?page=personnelBio&bioLetter=C&bioDir=CaposselaJT

Great reads edatplaypool. We need more Cappy's in this world. Johnnyt

Blackjack
05-02-2008, 05:34 AM
Great read! Thanks for allowing me to start my day by reading about such a great person!

Patrick Johnson
05-02-2008, 06:31 AM
Most here are too young, and frankly I am too having just caught a bit of it. The loss of the Houseman is a sad reflection on pool. I think this is one of those reasons that there are so few serious pool rooms anymore.

Talking about Cue-Nique in Madison, for years they had a houseman called "Cappy". I don't even know if that related to his real name or not. Even though Jerry Briesath was the owner at the time, he never knew who I was. Cappy always did, or it sure seemed he did. Cappy would shoot some straight pool with you, or steer you to or away from a game as appropriate. I have no idea when Cappy passed, but he was probably the one person at Cue-Nique that I miss the most.

The houseman is the guy who watches out for regulars, teaches them how to play, welcomes you when you come into the room. Basically the person who used to make a pool room feel like a second home, rather than just another business to take your money. If he could teach you a thing or two, or just be there during the day so you know it might be worth your time to stop up, then you would keep coming back and the room would stay busy. At least that was the way it seemed to me.

Nice post, Ed, and good to see you around here. How 'bout a FARGO tourney?

pj
chgo

ScottR
05-02-2008, 06:34 AM
It gets better and better...

http://www.492ndbombgroup.com/cgi-bin/pagepilot.cgi?page=personnelBio&bioLetter=C&bioDir=CaposselaJT
I believe I remember him from the early 80's at Cue-Nique. Would he have been there during that timeframe?

One of the best threads I have read on here in a LONG time.

Scott

edatplaypool
05-02-2008, 07:02 AM
... Deleted ...

edatplaypool
05-02-2008, 07:05 AM
I believe I remember him from the early 80's at Cue-Nique. Would he have been there during that timeframe?

One of the best threads I have read on here in a LONG time.

Scott

Exactly. I was going to school at the UW from 77 to 81. Cappy was there at that time and for some time afterwards.

It is certainly enlightening to see what a valuable contribution a person can make during a well-lived life. I only knew him as a pool player and a friend. I had no idea he had done so much more.

!Smorgass Bored
05-02-2008, 09:45 AM
It gets better and better...

http://www.492ndbombgroup.com/cgi-bin/pagepilot.cgi?page=personnelBio&bioLetter=C&bioDir=CaposselaJT


Thanks, Ed.
Rep points for you. I miss your old website PlayPool.com
your friend,
Doug

Fragged
05-02-2008, 10:15 AM
From Brooklyn too. This is puzzling as i learned on here that Yankees are normally POS.

Madcity
05-02-2008, 11:44 AM
Ed thanks for the great read on the loss of the houseman. I can remember a few, he was the guy that was around when you first started going to a billiard establishment. He was the one that told you not to just dump the balls on the table, to hang your cue back on the wall when you were done. Not to put your cigarette on the rail. Not to put the chaulk upside down on the rail as it got his apron dirty. Asked that you respect others around you, be that cussing or overtly boisterous.

The houseman was there almost every day and when he wasn?t you wondered aloud if he was ill. He played for the love of the game and the people around it. More often then not he was never the best player in the room, but the ones that were had learned much from him. Although his best pool playing days were behind him, he was always there to be played.

You had to love the game of pool or billiards to play the man. Maybe a dollar or two going to 100 in straights was ok with him, anything more was out of the question, because he played for the love of the game. More often then not the houseman showed up after lunch and left before dinner. If you saw him on weekends it was only to watch a tournament at his home room.

You could quit playing for weeks, months or years, but when you returned the houseman was there with a big where have you been ?Buddy?. No, buddy was not a pet name as everyone was buddy to the houseman.

I remember a Joe from the Antlers in Milwaukee that would grind the chaulk so it could be used when many would throw it away. Bill Haberman and Ace that ran the community center when I started to play. A fellow that owned a room in Tomah Wi. that with his wife, would travel miles to support the game he loved.

I was just lucky enough to have known Joseph ?Cappy? Capossela. He was at ?Ole?s? when I first walked in the door in 1966, it changed to ?Action Billiards? then moved next door and became ?Cuenique? and Cappy came with the changes.



Thanks Cappy for your ?Little Joey? stories spoken in the Brooklyneese that sixty years in Wisconsin could not quite erase, gone but not forgotten, may you rest in peace ?Buddy?.

Mark

edatplaypool
05-02-2008, 12:46 PM
I knew I must know who you were. Hi Ozzie, remember me! What's it been, 20 years since I've seen you? Did we ever run into each other when I was running the BCW? Anyway, hope all is well.

Madcity
05-02-2008, 02:01 PM
I knew I must know who you were. Hi Ozzie, remember me! What's it been, 20 years since I've seen you? Did we ever run into each other when I was running the BCW? Anyway, hope all is well.

Ok now I know you must be Ed Mercer? Instead of taking up space here I'll p.m. you later tonight or tommorrow. And again thanks for the post Ed.

Ozzie

edatplaypool
05-02-2008, 08:40 PM
A Fargo tournament sounds like a pretty good idea Pat. Let me talk to my webmaster about getting some of the old Fargo stuff reposted and then maybe I can see what kind of interest there is around here.

HouseMan
05-02-2008, 09:37 PM
Thanks for sharing this. Joe sounds like a fine gentleman and a great American. "The Greatest Generation" <------people like Joe.

ratdaddy
10-08-2017, 01:53 AM
I worked with Cappy at Cue-Nique for many years...he was like a grandfather to me. He had a gentle way about him, but he wasn't afraid to set you straight if needed. Everyone respected him...because he respected everyone.

336Robin
10-08-2017, 02:08 AM
I got up at 4:30 this morning. It was worth it. Great read.

Dan White
10-08-2017, 06:36 AM
I got up at 4:30 this morning. It was worth it. Great read.

Still reads well after 9 YEARS.

pwd72s
10-08-2017, 10:26 AM
I worked with Cappy at Cue-Nique for many years...he was like a grandfather to me. He had a gentle way about him, but he wasn't afraid to set you straight if needed. Everyone respected him...because he respected everyone.

Thanks for bumping this old thread. Loved every word!

cardiac kid
10-08-2017, 06:32 PM
Most here are too young, and frankly I am too having just caught a bit of it. The loss of the Houseman is a sad reflection on pool. I think this is one of those reasons that there are so few serious pool rooms anymore.

Talking about Cue-Nique in Madison, for years they had a houseman called "Cappy". I don't even know if that related to his real name or not. Even though Jerry Briesath was the owner at the time, he never knew who I was. Cappy always did, or it sure seemed he did. Cappy would shoot some straight pool with you, or steer you to or away from a game as appropriate. I have no idea when Cappy passed, but he was probably the one person at Cue-Nique that I miss the most.

The houseman is the guy who watches out for regulars, teaches them how to play, welcomes you when you come into the room. Basically the person who used to make a pool room feel like a second home, rather than just another business to take your money. If he could teach you a thing or two, or just be there during the day so you know it might be worth your time to stop up, then you would keep coming back and the room would stay busy. At least that was the way it seemed to me.

Not sure if this thread was an epitaph for the specific Cue-Nique "houseman" or just "housemen" in general?

The late houseman at a few local pool rooms in Rochester was Ralph Donato. He was a gruff old guy who did all the things you described in your post. He was never at a loss for a kind word for young players or a sarcastic comment to the young hot shots coming into the pool room. My favorite remembrance of Ralph was him receiving a phone call at the counter one day. Only heard one side of the conversation but his answer was pure Ralph. "I answered the fu..ing phone didn't I? Bet that customer never asked if the room was open again!

Totally agree with the lost "houseman". Do nearly everything I can to make players feel at home when I'm fortunate enough to work the front counter at East Ridge Billiards in Rochester. Love the job and hope the players appreciate the extra effort the ERB staff provides.

Lyn

Keith E.
10-09-2017, 03:02 AM
Nice work OP.

Keith

ChrisSjoblom
10-09-2017, 09:37 AM
I don't know if edatplaypool and MadCity are still around on here as it's been a few years since either has posted, but if so I want to thank you for this thread. I remember both Cappy and Bill Haberman very fondly. They were probably my two biggest influences when I was just starting out with pool in the late 70s - not as much for their technical advice, although they both taught me a lot, but more for instilling in me a love and respect for the game that has meant more to me than any skills I've learned or trophies I have won. Both were true gentlemen, and remembering them just now has made my day brighter.

HUKIT
10-09-2017, 10:31 AM
What a great thread, it’s stories like this that is why I joined the forum.