Frank Aversa, a United States citizen, who has been in his native Italy since 1928, yesterday breezed into the Bridge Lunch where he worked 18 years ago and asked for Jack O’Laughlin, his old boss.

“He’s home right now,” said Billy, one of Jack’s sons, “but he should be in pretty soon.”

“We’ll call him at the house,” Frank suggested. “The number is 879.”

Frankie wasn’t too far off. That used to be Jack’s home telephone number before Pittsfield went to dial telephones. Eighteen months of internment in a concentration camp in Italy and all the other years in his native land had still not erased from his mind that his old boss’ home telephone number was 879 and the lunch cart number was 941.

Incidentally, Frankie’s going back to work for the Bridge as counterman. It’s going to be quite a job orienting himself to the new routine and prices but Jack thinks he’ll be able to swing into action before long.

Frank came to the United States as a boy, became a citizen and fought with the American Army in World War I. In 1928 he went back to Italy to take care of an ailing father, who died just 28 days before he arrived there. So Frank settled down, married and stayed in Italy. When Italy declared war on the United States, Frank was tossed into a concentration camp.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.