8. Gregg Hill enjoyed special privileges among his father’s colleagues
According to Gregg Hill, being Henry’s son brought him special attention from his father’s associates, all of whom referred to him as Henry’s kid as he approached his mid-teens. His status assured that he was protected from harassment by other kids, adults, and even the police. As a young teen, he sat in bars, allowed to remain to listen to the live bands when others his age were forced to leave. He knew his elevated status was due to his being the son of a connected father. Henry’s closest friends were his “uncles” and “aunts”, in addition to those he had from Henry’s and Karen’s families. His father’s dealings with stolen guns led to a fascination with them, especially after Henry allowed his son to fire a submachine gun. The latter event took place in the basement of their home, much to the consternation of Gregg’s mother.
“Yet I was never drawn to the wiseguy life”, Gregg wrote in On the Run. Instead, he wanted an education which led to a profession, self-reliance, and freedom. Following Henry’s bust in 1980, it appeared any such dreams were lost forever. Word of Henry’s involvement with drugs spread through his school and among friends. His sister, Gina, wrote of her being “so embarrassed, so mortified”. It soon got worse. The children were to be taken into WITSEC, with new names, newly falsified school transcripts, a false history, and sent to a location not yet known to them. Contact with relatives, aunts, uncles, grandparents, was forbidden. Their father would be absent for long periods while he testified in courtrooms or assisted investigators in their work. After being taken into protective custody, nothing in their world was familiar to them. And it would happen again and again.