Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

North Jersey Waiter Serves Up a Youthful Attitude at 88

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

North Jersey Waiter Serves Up a Youthful Attitude at 88

Article excerpt

Angelo Trotta does not like to sit. "I am happiest when I'm on my feet." The Park Ridge resident is cheerily on his feet six days a week, from five to 7 hours a day, waiting tables at Bella Campania Ristorante in Hillsdale.

By night's end, Trotta isn't tired, he's renewed. "I feel like a new man when I get out of here," said the father of seven, an apron over his khaki slacks.

A "new" man with snow-white hair, big wire-rimmed glasses, a few arthritic joints and four great grandchildren. Trotta, 88 -- or as he proudly prefers, "in the 89th year of my life" -- is, if not the oldest working waiter in North Jersey, certainly among very few octogenarians who greet diners, fill water glasses, take food orders, deliver dishes, clear tables and present checks, here and probably anywhere.

Or, for that matter, the few who go to the gym twice a week. "Want to feel my biceps?" Trotta asked, during a break recently during his dinner shift in Bella Campania's casual, sun-lit dining room. Or, the few who play golf once a week. "Sometimes I get a little out of breath walking uphill," he allowed. To revive himself, he likes nothing more than a glass of scotch. "It's the secret to longevity," he said. He used to smoke, too -- but he quit 45 years ago. "Maybe I wouldn't be here if I didn't stop," he said, crediting his wife of 64 years -- she's 89 years old -- for nagging him to stop. As for diet? "I'm terrible. I eat everything."

Work, though, he maintained, is a life-prolonger, making clear he has no intention of retiring any time soon. Or, for that matter, even discussing the matter. "Don't mention that word," he said, adding with an impish grin, "I'm too dumb to do anything else."

Besides, Trotta retired once already -- from his full-time job as a quality control engineer for metal products manufacturer Howmet Corp. in Palisades Park in 1993. "They were downsizing and offered me a buyout package," said Trotta. He was then a mere 66. So, Trotta, who never completed college because of finances, continued his other job. …

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