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2011-09-06 09:50:13|  分类: 阅读文摘 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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【阅读文摘】                我最难忘的人(上)




                                           My Most Unforgettable Character


  In June 1976, I graduated from North-western University Medical School in Chicago. When my name was called, I walked quickly across the stage and reached for my diploma. But before the medical-school dean handed me the certificate, he asked my parents, Anna and Carlo Michelotti, to stand. Surprised, they rose from their seats in the audience. They looked at each other and seemed puzzled.




  The dean told the crowd that my parents, an immigrant Italian couple from a farm outside Chicago, had managed to send their six children to top colleges and graduate schools. (Three of us would become doctors, two were already lawyers and one was a physicist.) "It's remarkable," the dean said. Everyone cheered loudly.




  Mama's face was radiant with pride. I knew that everything we had achieved or would achieve was because of my parents. When we were young children, my mother, especially, was our mentor . Not until I became an adult did I realize how special she was.




Delight in Devotion. My mother was born in a small town in northern Italy. She was three when her parents immigrated to this country in 1926. They lived on Chicago's South Side, where my grandfather worked making ice cream.


   乐于奉献 母亲出生于意大利北部的一个小镇。1926年她3岁时随父母移民到了美国。她家住在芝加哥南区,当时外祖父在那儿做冰淇淋买卖。


Mama thrived in the hectic urban environment. At 16, she graduated first in her high-school class, went on to secretarial school, and finally worked as an executive secretary for a railroad company.




  She was beautiful too. When a local photographer used her pictures in his monthly window display, she was flattered. Her favorite portrait showed her sitting by Lake Michigan, her hair windblown, her gaze reaching toward the horizon. My mother always used to say that when you died, God gave you back your "best self". She'd show us that picture and say, "This is what I'm going to look like in heaven."




    My parents were married in 1944. Dad was a quiet and intelligent man who was 17 when he left Italy. Soon after, a hit-and-run accident left him with a permanent limp. Dad worked hard selling candy to Chicago office workers on their break. He had little formal schooling. His English was self-taught. Yet he eventually built a small, successful wholesale candy business. Dad was generous, handsome and deeply religious. Mama was devoted to him.




After she married, my mother quit her job and gave herself to her family. In 1950, with three children, Dad moved the family to a farm 40 miles from Chicago. He worked the land and commuted to the city to run his business. Mama said good-by to her parents and friends and traded her busy city neighborhood for a more isolated life. But she never complained. By 1958, our modest white farmhouse was filled with six children, and Mama was delighted.


  婚后,母亲辞去工作,一心照顾家庭。1950年,爸爸带着 3个孩子把家搬到了离芝加哥40英里的一家农场。他一面在农场干活,一面往返芝加哥做他的糖果批发生意。妈妈也告别了父母和朋友及快节奏的城市生活,过起了离群索居的日子。但她从无怨言。到1958年,我们这座简朴的农场白色小屋里有了六个孩子,妈妈非常高兴。


"Think Big". My mother never studied books on parenting. Yet she knew how to raise children. She heightened our self-esteem and helped us reach our potential.


 “胸怀大志” 母亲从没看过生儿育女方面的书籍,然而她懂得该如何教育子女。她激发我们的自尊心,并帮助我们发挥自己的潜能。


 One fall day, I sat at the kitchen table while Mama peeled potatoes. She spied Dad out the window on his tractor and smiled. "Your father has accomplished so much, ' she said proudly. "He really is somebody."




My mother wanted each of us to be somebody too. "Your challenge is to be everything you can. Mine is to help," she always said.




  She read to us every day and used homemade flash cards to teach us phonics. She bolstered our confidence, praising even our most ordinary accomplishments. When I was ten, I painted a stack of wooden crates white and nailed them together to make a wobbly bookcase. "It's wonderful!" Mama exclaimed. "Just what we need." She used it for many years.




  In the dining room are two paint-by-number pictures that my sister Gloria and brother Leo did as kids. Several years ago, Leo commented that the pictures weren't very good and offered to take them down. But Mama wouldn't hear of it. "They are there to remind you how much you could accomplish even as children," she said.




From the very beginning, she urged us to think big. One day, after visiting our grandparents on the South Side, she made Dad detour past the Prudential Building construction site. Mama explained that when finished, the 41-story building would be Chicago's tallest. "Maybe someday one of you can design a building like this," she said.




  Her confidence in us was infectious. When my sister Carla was 12, she announced she was going to be a lawyer.




You can do that," Mama said. You can do anything you put your mind to."



  Tour Guide. To Mama, education was a key part of her blueprint for success. Four of us went to a nearby, one-room schoolhouse. My mother made up for its shortcomings by getting us educational toys, talking to us about history, politics and current events, and helping with home-work . The best part of getting a good report card was her unstinting praise.







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