I first encountered criminal historian Gavin Schmitt while looking up information on my grandfather. My mother had told me about how her Polish cobbler father supported a family of six children through the Great Depression. One way was through being a groundskeeper at the local parish to get a discount on tuition at the Catholic School there. Another way, however, was by distributing payments in a not-quite legal local lottery operation called they called “Policy”. She talked about how her aunt had sewn special pockets in her father’s jacket to hide the winning numbers for when he went on his rounds.
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