Face to Face with the Past, 64 Years Later

Above is the photo of former Chelsea Police Sgt. Anthony Sartorelli that was found on the internet.

Above is the photo of former Chelsea Police Sgt. Anthony Sartorelli that was found on the internet.

Memories are often just images conjured up in one’s head – fond thoughts of the past, of days that once were and people who once lived and were once such pillars in our lives.

However, in some rare circumstance made possible by today’s awe-inspiring Internet technology, memories of loved ones long gone can sometimes surprisingly come right to life on a computer screen.

That’s exactly what happened for the Sartorelli family – all Chelsea natives – on Monday when they got an unexpected glimpse into the past when searching for information on their ancestor, former Chelsea Police Sgt. Anthony Sartorelli.

“It was definitely a Rod Serling Twilight Zone type of moment for us,” said Bob Sartorelli, Anthony’s son.

The odd course of events began last week when the family was talking about Sartorelli’s father, former Chelsea Police Sgt. Anthony Sartorelli. In the course of a conversation between Bob Sartorelli’s son and his wife, there was a question about the late police sergeant’s middle name.

No one could immediately remember.

So, they went where everyone goes to answer questions – to Google.

That’s where things got a little weird.

They typed in the first and last name of the former sergeant, and immediately they were looking at a photo of the man – exactly 64 years earlier. An old Associated Press photo on the Internet that was for sale by a Memphis man featured Sgt. Anthony Sartorelli posing for a picture on Sept. 2, 1949 after what appeared to be the armed robbery of an armored car in Chelsea.

Needless to say, they all heard the theme song of the ‘Twilight Zone’ as they looked at one another.

Later, they called Bob Sartorelli and shared the news with him.

“There was my late father in a photo, clear as day, standing with empty bags from what we thought was an attempted armored car heist in Chelsea that happened on Sept. 2, 1949,” said Bob. “It was truly a Twilight Zone kind of moment for us. We couldn’t believe it. I mean, we type in his name and immediately are taken to a picture of him doing his job exactly 64 years ago this week.”

While they never did find his last name on the Internet, (Bob knew it anyway) they did locate the man who was selling the photo on the popular e-Bay website.

“Apparently he buys obscure old photos from the Associated Press and sells them on e-Bay,” said Bob. “We purchased it from him and have it with us now.”

Bob went on to say his father was a member of the Chelsea Police in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. He had served on the force during World War II and had provided the family with many colorful stories of breaking up fights at the bars in Chelsea – which catered to the rowdy Naval Hospital crowd during the war.

“We grew up with all kinds of stories about the life of a police officer in Chelsea,” said Bob. “He used to tell us that he had seen as much action in Chelsea during World War II as the guys in Okinawa had. It was just amazing to see him in uniform so many years later.”

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