Sharing a Laugh and 100 Years

February 5, 2014
By
Santoro (center) is pictured with (left to right) his son-in-law Maria Tortorici, his daughter Roberta Tortorici, his other daughter Janet DiPaolo, his sister-in-law Lucy Salemme and his nephew Bob Repucci.

Santoro (center) is pictured with (left to right) his son-in-law Maria Tortorici, his daughter Roberta Tortorici, his other daughter Janet DiPaolo, his sister-in-law Lucy Salemme and his nephew Bob Repucci.

Revere’s Sal Santoro has a lifetime of memories and stories that he often shares around the Revere Senior Center, and on Tuesday he was able to share his 100th birthday with his many friends and family members at the Center.

A veteran of World War II in France and Germany – and also a regular at the ‘Guy’s Table’ in the Senior Center – Santoro celebrated his 100th birthday with a few interesting stories Tuesday at lunch.

First, he told of how he made the baseball Hall of Fame in just one game.

He told that in 1948 he was able to go to a World Series game between the Boston Braves and Cleveland Indians. After the game, he put his ticket and program in a drawer at home.

“I paid $5 for that ticket and then put it in a drawer, where it sat for 50 years,” he said. “I pulled it out one day and wondered what in the heck it was. Then I remembered all about it and thought maybe the baseball Hall of Fame would want to have it.”

He said that after contacting them, they weren’t interested in the program, but were very interested in the ticket stub.

“They told me they didn’t want my book, but they did want my ticket stub because nobody saved ticket stubs and they didn’t have that one,” he said. “I had to deed it over to them and they couldn’t pay me for it. They did give me a lifetime pass to Cooperstown, for which I’ve never used. However, I can tell people that I made the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown after only one game.”

He also shared about how coffee and donuts saved his life during World War II. Apparently, as his unit was being deactivated, there was no room on the truck for him to squeeze as they shipped out. So, he got up in the rafters of the truck on top of a bunch of duffle bags and laid down.

After awhile, the truck stopped when a Red Cross truck came by with coffee and donuts for the soldiers. He decided to grab a coffee and some donuts and it ended up saving him.

“As soon as I jumped off that pile of bags, I hit the ground like a ton of bricks and I was out,” he said. “Later, they told me I had gotten a high dose of carbon monoxide from sitting up there on the top. The Red Cross had been there and treated me and gave me a vial of ammonia that brought me back. They told me that if I hadn’t gotten down at that time to get my coffee and donuts, that I sure would have been found dead when we got to our destination. So, that’s what saved me.”

After a rousing round of ‘Happy Birthday,’ Santoro was treated to cake in celebration of his milestone.

Santoro is a retired accountant, having worked for the U.S. Government and retiring 42 years ago. He grew up in the North End after having come from a small village in Italy. He moved to East Boston when he was 7 and lived there for 80 years.

“I’ve only been here in Revere for a little over 10 years,” he quipped with a smile

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