The Thing of the Week : Fisting Carol’s Old Tyme Diner – by Ryan Donahue.

via countylinemagazine.com

via countylinemagazine.com

Carol Stinch became a local celebrity when she pummelled Spitsy Frigliano in the ring at the Providence Civic Center in 1976. Everybody couldn’t believe it. I mean, here she was, a small-town amateur paired up against Olneyville’s only Spitsy Frigliano in front of thousands of people, hasn’t made more than three-hundred bucks in a fight, and she just starts laying into his breadbasket like an Amish baker tryna make a name for herself. She dances, she does the bob and weave, she taunts him till the crowd chants her name, and she ends the whole debacle with a liver punch. Unbelievable. The crowd goes nuts. I’ve never seen so many beers thrown at once.

Olneyville New York System never charged her for a coffee milk again.

She was fast. Quick, too. And speedy. She was a knockout artist. She ruined careers. Wowed people for years until she retired in 1985, after a hunting trip got her leg caught in a bear trap. Her mistake was, she just walked it off. Didn’t seek medical attention because she was stubborn. She couldn’t dance in the ring no more after that.

So in 1987 she opened Fisting Carol’s Old Tyme Diner in the heart of Centredale. It was an instant hit. All of Rhode Island went there and bought Carol Stinch T-Shirts with their breakfasts. Carol had a chin like you wouldn’t believe. I mean she could take a punch. She used to dare people to punch her in the face at the breakfast table while she was at work, just because she was tired. And they’d do it, too. I mean construction workers. She made more in tips than any lady in any service industry in Providence.

But she missed her fights. So at nights she started inviting old friends over to spar in the basement, and before long she’d invented Rhode Island’s first Barstool Bareknuckle Boxing league. Three-minute sit-down bare-knuckle rounds, first to fall off the stool was the loser. I’d go there a lot with my father after hours, and all his buddies would be in there watching the fights, drinking booze, arm wrestling each other for knives. It was a good bunch of guys. There was Guppie, there was Murph, and there was Connecticut Paul. All the ladies loved Connecticut Paul. When they asked him what he did he said “I’m a big old fornicator with a sweet blue car,” and then he took them home. Every single time. I think it was because he was exotic. There weren’t a lot of people who weren’t Rhode Islanders in Rhode Island at the time.

Anyway, Fisting Carol’s was the place you’d go to when you didn’t have any place to be. It was a place that felt more like home than home did. A place where irregulars became regulars, breakfast became lunch, and drinks were always on the house. She was a sweet-hearted tough old woman and everybody knew it. Every day she ate oatmeal, and she worked hard to inspire people to do what they loved to do. I miss the place.

R.I.P. Carol Stinch (1954-1998).

 

You can find more stuff from Ryan Donahue at @ryanjaydonahue



Unscene Comedy

UnScene Comedy is the best place to find essays, articles, and media from some of the top Boston comedians.