George Vechietti has been receiving strange phone calls at home in Springfield, so he was not surprised when a woman's sexy voice broke into his sleep one night last summer, inquiring, "Hi Jack, Are you going to meet me for the party?"
Trying to reach the White House to talk to Jack Ford, the President's son, the woman had reached Vechietti by mistake.
Since the Vechiettis moved into their modest home last February, they have been receiving between five and eight calls a day for Gerald Ford, from Jack Ford, for Amy Carter, from job hunters and from boistrous drunks griping about presidential policies.
"It is technically possible that there could be a malfunction of equipment," said Dave Cook, a C&P Telephone Co. spokesman, "or just customer misdialing."
But the Vechiettis say telephone operators have often connected callers with their number and that the problem could not be solely attributable to misdialing. The Vechiettis number, 451-1414, has a different third digit than the White House number, 456-1414, and has a different area code.
"The other night a little girl wanted to talk to Amy (Carter)," Ellen Vechietti, 38, said. "She was very upset. When we gave her the right number she said, 'My Daddy can't afford two calls.'"
The Vechiettis said they have gotten used to the calls and are beginning to enjoy them, except when girls seeking Jack Ford woke them in the wee hours of the morning.
"At night it's really worrisome when you get two or three calls," Vechietti said.
The Vechiettis once got stuck with a collect call they thought was from their son Jack, 28, who lives in Georgia. But the caller actually was Jack Ford, they said. "He was calling to talk to his dad and we got charged."
The number of wrong calls usually shoots up after a national crisis or event, and has become more frequent since President Carter took office, according to Mrs. Vechietti.
"The night of (President) Carter's fireside speech I got a call from Oklahoma, a state senator," Mrs. Vechietti said. "I said, 'Oh my, I have a brother in Oklahoma,' so we started talking about how great Oklahoma is and other good stuff."