Al Bertulli

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Member of the Silver Stringers
Contributor to the Melrose Mirror

My Father, Luigi Bertulli, immigrated to Argentina from Fano Italy in 1911, shortly after I was born. I was born October 27, 1911. My mother, Annunziata, remained in Italy until father sent for us in 1913. I had two sisters. My third sister was born in America. We settled in East Boston. A few years later they bought a house in Everett. I attended Everett High School but quit after my second year and went to work in Chocolate Factory.

While in high school I became interested in amateur radio, doing odd jobs to buy the equipment. In order to obtain a license I had to become a US citizen when I was 18 years old. I got my final citizenship papers when I was 21. Mother always called me Guido, but I found out my name was Elvidio when I applied for my citizenship papers.

When I was 28 years old, I woke up and decided to get an education. I took a course in Diesel Engineering and graduated in 1941. Went to work for General Electric Company in Lynn, MA. My starting wage was 76 cents an hour. My job was testing turbo-super-chargers for aircraft engines.

After a year and a half I had to report to the War Personnel Drafting Department. I was accepted for service but got turned down because of my fallen arches. On my fourth call, I was accepted and was in the Army in the summer of 1942. Was sent to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for training and spent a year there. Went to The Atlanta Proving Grounds in Georgia for 8 months and World War II ended.

Returned to GE in the Test Department and after several years was transferred to the office. More education was needed,and I attended night classes at MIT and Harvard for three years. I worked next to a mechanical design engineer and helped him and finally designed my first project. The first of many.

In the summer of 1947 I met my future wife at a dance held at the Boston YWCA. We danced a few times and, since she was a volunteer, had to help clean up. I followed her and helped. When finished I asked her for a date. There was no way to contact her and I asked her to call me. She said she didn't have the money, so I gave it to her and awhile later she phoned me. Romance blossomed and in the fall of 1947 I asked her to marry me. Her name was Mary Frances Logan, and she said yes and we were married January 1, 1948 in Somerville. We began looking for a house before getting married and bought one in Revere; moved in at the end of January.

The first of our six children was born in August, 1949. Our fifth child was born in January, 1957. Karleen, our sixth child was born in 1958.

In 1956 our home in Revere was taken over by the State to build the new Route 1 through Revere to Saugus. We found a lot in Melrose and on June 5, 1956 started the excavation for our new home. Mary Margaret, our last child, was born that day. We moved into our new home in January, 1957, even though it was not completed. The heating system worked and that was the important thing.

I retired from GE in 1974 at the age of 62. After four years in retirement, my old boss called and wanted me to come to work part-time. I accepted and worked for 8 more years. I retired again in 1994.

Now in my 80's, I enjoy helping Frances who runs the Milano Senior Center on West Foster Street in Melrose.

Frances and I are both members of the SilverStringers.

Additional Articles by Al Bertulli:
id 107 - The Immigrant's Son -- Features