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  In June 1976, I graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago. When my name was called, I walked quickly across the stage and reached for my diploma. But before the medicalschool 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.
  [2] 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.
  [3] 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(注:附圖G3812g01.JPG 私人教師;良師)Not until I became an adult did I realize how special she was.
  [4] 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(注:芝加哥市的一個區。另外有East Side,像中國的Haidian District(海淀區)), where my grandfather worked making ice cream.
  [5] Mama thrived in the hectic(注:附圖G3812g02.JPG 鬧哄哄的;喧囂的) 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.
  [6] She was beautiful too. When a local photographer used her pictures in his monthly window display, she was flattered. Her favorite protrait 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."
  [7] 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(注:(汽車駕駛員等)闖了禍就逃走的)) 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.
  [8] 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 tothe 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(注:trade...for...用……進行交換。如:trade toys for candies 以玩具換糖吃). But she never complained. By 1958, our modest white farmhouse was filled with six children, and Mama was delighted.
  [9] "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.
  [10] 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 (注:了不起的人物。也可以說:He really is something)."
  [11] 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.
  [12] She read to us every day and used homemade *flash cards(注:閃視卡片(寫著單詞并有圖畫等,閃現給學習者識別)) to teach us phonics. Shebolstered 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!" Mamaexclaimed. "Just what we need." She used it for many years.
  [13] 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.
  [14] 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.
  [15] Her confidence in us was infectious(注:附圖G3812g03.JPG 有感染力的). When my sister Carla was 12, she announced she was going to be a lawyer.
  [16] "You can do that," Mama said. "You can do anything you put your mind to."
  [17] Tour Guide. To Mama, edueation was a key part of her blueprint for success. Four of us went to a nearby, oneroom 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 homework. The best part of getting a good report card was her unstinting praise.
  [18] When I was in third grade, she urged our teacher to organize a field trip to Chicago museums.My mother helped the teacher rent a bus and plan the trip. She even served as tour guide, pointing out landmarks and recounting localhistory.
  [19] When it came time to think about college,there was never a question that we' d all go. Inspired by our parents' sacrfiee, we studied hard to earn scholarships, and applied for grants and financial aid. We also took jobs to earn money for school. Working in a grocery store, I learned the value of a dollar. "Work is a blessing, "Mama always reminded us.
  [20] She never asked for anything for herself."You don't have to buy me a birthday present," she said one time."Instead write me a letter about yourself. Tell me about your life.Is anything worrying you?Are you happy?"
  [21] "You Honor Us All." My mother made family values and pride tangibie(注:附圖G3812g04.JPG 有形的。這里指可感受得到的). One time when I was a high-school junior, our school put on a production of The Music Man. My role was totally insignificant. I played bass in the orchestra. "You don't have to come and see me," I told Mama. "I'm not doing anything important."
  [22] "Nonsense," she said. "Of course we're coming, and we're coming because you're in the program." The whole family showed up.
  [23 ] The next year when I was elected president of my high school's National Honor Society, my mother pulled Michael and Maria, my younger brother and sister, out of grade school and brought them to the ceremony. Other students' parents came to the event.But I was the only one with a brother and sister there.
  [24] "Everything you do reflects on the family,"Mama explained, "If you succeed, you honor us all."
  [25] In the same way, she crowded us all around the kitchen table for breakfast and supper. She made sure we shared chores. She nurtured our religious faith, which kept our family close. Every Sunday, we filled a pew at church. At night, we knelt together in the living room and prayed.
  [26] My mother suggested games everyone could play and often joined in. I remember laughing as she marched us around the dining-room table one evening,while * John Philip Sousa(注:19世紀美國作曲家)boomed from the record player. "Keep in step now," she called out to her parading children. "If you're gonna march or do anything else, you always want to do it the best you can."
  [27] Time for Everyone. Success wasn't just making money, Mama always said success was doing something positive for others.
  [28] In 1977, when Leo received his Ph. D. in physics from the University of California at Irvine, my mother wrote him a long, warm letter. She praised his years of hard work and,typically, reminded him to use his education to help others. "To think, you have the knowledge to work for the betterment of mankind!"she stressed. "There is much good for you to accomplish."
  [29] Mama took time for everyone. One cold day,she saw the neighbors' three young children playing in our yard. They were shivering in thin, worn sweaters.Mama called the youngsters to our door, where they stared greedily at a pot of steaming homemade soup she was making for supper. She hustled them in, fed them and rummaged(注:附圖G3812g05.JPG 翻找;搜尋) through our closets for extra coats.
  [30] From that day, until the family moved a year later, Mama often brought stew, soup and pasta to their home. She telephoned the children in the morning to make sure they got up for school. Often, she walked them down the lane and waited with them for the bus. At Christmas, she even bought the children gifts.
  [31] My mother was the driving influence in my decision to become a physician. "Do good" she always said--and be there for others. I recall a long, difficult night when I was a resident(注:住院醫生;值班醫生) at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I hadn't slept much for days. Finally, one morning at around four o'clock, I dropped into a restless slumber. An hour later, I awoke with a jolt(注:附圖G3812g06.JPG 震驚;吃驚). I had dreamed my father died. Confused and exhausted,I called home in tears. "Everything is all right," my mother assured me. "Don't worry."
  [32] At six o'clock, the hospital security buzzed my room. I had visitors. Stumbling into the elevator, I wondered who had come to see me at that hour. There stood my parents. They had gotten up and driven into the city in the predawn darkness."I just wanted to make sure you were okay," Mama said, sleepy-eyed and anxious.
  [33] View From Above. While my mother's spirit remained indomitable(注:附圖G3812g07.JPG 不屈服的), her health turned poor.Early last year, she had major surgery. Complications devloped. Eight days later, on January 31, 1990,Mama died suddenly. She was 66.
  [34] More than 200 people came to her funeral service. In his eulogy(注:附圖G3812g08.JPG 頌揚;頌詞), Leo said, "Mama poured her life out for us, reserving nothing for herself, thinking of us always, of herself never."
  [35] Sitting in church, I could picture my mother in heaven, looking young and beautiful just as she did in her favorite photograph. But instead of gazing out over Lake Michigan, she would be looking down at us,her six children. And she would be bursting with pride.
  [36] But we're the proud ones-proud of her and all she accomplished. More than any of us, Mama was really somebody.
  1976年6月,我畢業于芝加哥的西北大學醫學院。在畢業典禮那天,當叫到我名字時,我迅速起身穿過前臺去領學位證書。但在醫學院院長把證書發給我之前,他先讓我的母親安娜和父親卡羅·米歇洛蒂站起來。他們驚奇地從觀眾席座位上站起身,四目對視,似乎有些困惑。
  [2]院長告訴臺下的觀眾,我的父母是意大利移民,來自芝加哥郊外的一個農場,他們已設法把自己的六個孩子都送進了最好的大學和研究生院。(我們之中的三個將成為醫生,兩個已經做了律師,還有一個是物理學家。)“這很了不起啊!”院長說完,臺下一片歡呼。
  [3]媽媽臉上泛出自豪的光芒。我知道我們所取得的和將要取得的一切都要歸功于我的父母。在我們小的時候,尤其是母親,成了我們的啟蒙老師。直到我長大后才認識到母親是多么不平凡。
  [4]樂于奉獻 母親出生于意大利北部的一個小鎮。1926年她3歲時隨父母移民到了美國。她家住在芝加哥南區,當時外祖父在那兒做冰淇淋買賣。
  [5]母親就在這樣喧囂的都市環境中成長起來。她16歲中學畢業,畢業成績是全班最高的,后來上了秘書學校,最后在一家鐵路公司担任行政秘書。
  [6]母親長得也很美。那時當地有位攝影師把她的照片放在一月一換的櫥窗里展覽,她心里美滋滋的。母親最心愛的照片是她坐在密歇根湖畔照的,照片上,她的頭發被風吹起,眼睛眺望著遠方。母親總說,一個人死后,上帝會歸還他“他最美好的形象”。她會給我們看這張照片并說:“這就是日后我在天堂里的樣子。”
  [7]我的父母是在1944年結婚的。父親話不多,人很聰明,17歲離開意大利。此后不久,發生了一起車禍,肇事者逃了,卻使父親只能終身跛行了。他工作勤奮,向工間休息的芝加哥辦公樓的工作人員兜售糖果。父親沒受過什么正規教育,他的英語是自學的。然而最終他開起了一家小型的糖果批發店,生意很紅火。爸爸為人慷慨,相貌英俊,還是一個虔誠的教徒。媽媽深深地愛著他。
  [8]婚后,母親辭去工作,一心照顧家庭。1950年,爸爸帶著3個孩子把家搬到了離芝加哥40英里的一家農場。他一面在農場干活,一面往返芝加哥做他的糖果批發生意。媽媽也告別了父母和朋友及快節奏的城市生活,過起了離群索居的日子。但她從無怨言。到1958年,我們這座簡樸的農場白色小屋里有了六個孩子,媽媽非常高興。
  [9]“胸懷大志” 母親從沒看過生兒育女方面的書籍,然而她懂得該如何教育子女。她激發我們的自尊心,并幫助我們發揮自己的潛能。
  [10]秋季的一天,我坐在廚房桌子旁邊,母親在削土豆皮。她透過窗子看到父親坐在拖拉機上,笑了。“你爸爸已卓有成就了,”她自豪地說。“他真是個了不起的人!”
  [11]母親也希望我們每個人將來都有所作為。她總是說:“對你們的要求就是將來要大有作為。而我則是幫你們去實現。”
  [12]她每天給我們讀書,還用自制的卡片教我們學語音。她激勵我們,對我們做成的一般小事也要贊揚一番。在10歲那年,我把一些板條木箱漆成白色,然后把它們訂成了一個搖搖晃晃的書柜。“棒極了!”母親贊嘆道。“我們正好用得著。”這書柜她一用就是好多年。
  [13]在我們家餐廳里掛著兩張按數字涂顏色的畫,那是姐姐格羅麗亞和哥哥利歐小時候的作品。幾年前,利歐說這兩張畫不怎么樣,主動要取下來。可媽媽反對。她說:“畫掛在那里可以讓你們記得,你們自打小時候就有多能干了!”
  [14]從一開始,母親就教導我們要胸懷大志。一天,在看望了住在芝加哥南區的外祖父母后,母親要爸爸繞道帶我們經過普魯登希爾大廈的施工場地。媽媽說,這座41層高的大廈建成后將是芝加哥市最高的。“也許將來有一天你們中有個人也能設計出這樣的高樓呢。”她如是說。
  [15]她對我們的信心使我們深受感染。當姐姐卡拉12歲時,便雄心勃勃地宣布她將來要當律師。
  [16]“你行的!”媽媽說。“只要你用心去做,你什么都能干好!”
  [17]人生向導 在媽媽看來,她描繪的成功藍圖的一個關鍵因素是教育。我們兄妹四個在附近一所學校上學,學校只有一間教室。母親就給我們找一些有教育意義的玩具,跟我們談歷史、政治和時事,并給我們布置家庭作業,以彌補學校的不足。我們取得了優異成績她便大加贊揚。
  [18]我上三年級時,母親力勸我們的老師組織一次到芝加哥各個博物館的實地調查旅行。她幫老師租車和安排行程。她甚至當起了向導,指出一些重要的標志物,并介紹一些當地的歷史。
  [19]到了該考慮是否繼續上大學時,毫無疑問我們都要上。在父母自我犧牲精神的激勵下,我們更加發奮學習以獲取獎學金,并申請助學金和財政援助。我們還靠打工掙錢來上學。我曾經在一家雜貨店打過工,體會到了一塊錢都來之不易。“工作就是幸福。”媽媽總是讓我們記著這話。
  [20]母親從不求回報。“你們不要為我買什么生日禮物,”她有一次說。“只要給我寫封信講講你們自己就行了。告訴我你們過得怎么樣。有沒有煩心的事?是否快樂?”
  [21]“你們給我們大家帶來了榮耀” 母親讓我們都能感受到家的價值和為此驕傲。我在上高二時,一次學校上演一部叫《音樂人》的作品。我在里面的作用真是無足輕重,只是在樂隊的低音部演奏。“你們不必去看我演出了,”我對媽媽說。“我只是打打雜。”
  [22]她說:“瞎說,我們當然得去,因為你參加演出。”結果全家都到場了。
  [23]第二年,我當選了所在高中的國民榮譽協會會長,在舉行儀式那天,母親把弟弟邁克和妹妹瑪麗亞從小學叫出來,帶他們來到會場。其他學生的家長也來了。但只有我除了父母外,還有弟弟、妹妹在場。
  [24]你們的所做所為會給全家帶來影響,”媽媽解釋說。“如果你們取得了成功,你們就給我們大家帶來了榮耀。”
  [25]同樣,她要我們在廚房里圍著桌子一起吃早餐和晚飯。她確保我們分担家務。她培養我們對宗教的信仰,這使全家親密和睦。每個周日,我們去教堂做禮拜。晚上,我們一起跪在起居室里禱告。
  [26]母親提議玩一些大家都能玩的游戲,經常自己也參加。我記得,有天晚上,她讓我們列隊站好,并繞著餐桌齊步走,我哈哈大笑,而錄音機里響著約翰·菲力普·蘇沙的進行曲。“跟上節奏,步伐要整齊,”她對行進中的我們喊道。“如果你們要齊步走,或者做其它任何事,你們一定要盡力干好。”
  [27]分憂解愁 母親總是說,成功并不就是賺錢。成功是做有益于他人的事。
  [28]1977年,利歐在加州大學歐文分校獲得物理學博士學位,媽媽給他寫了一封充滿溫情的長信。她贊揚了他多年的刻苦努力,還特別提醒他要把所學的知識用來幫助他人。“要記住,你有知識,可以為改善人類的生活做出貢獻!”她強調道。“有很多好事等著你去做。”
  [29]媽媽總替別人分憂解愁。一個冷天,她看到鄰居三個小孩在我們院子里玩。他們穿著很薄的破毛衣,凍得發抖。她把他們叫到門前,桌上有媽媽為晚飯做的一鍋熱氣騰騰的肉湯,他們眼饞地盯著。媽媽讓他們都進屋,給他們吃飽飯,還在衣柜里到處翻尋我們不穿的外衣讓他們穿上。
  [30]從那天起直到一年后那家人家搬走,媽媽經常給他們送些燉肉、湯和點心。早晨她用電話叫那些孩子起床去上學。她常常送他們出小路,陪他們等車。到了圣誕節,她還給他們買禮物。
  [31]我決定做一名內科醫生是受了媽媽的很大影響。她總是說要“助人為樂”。我記起我在西北紀念醫院做值班醫生時度過的一個難熬的長夜。當時我已經有幾天沒有睡過好覺了。終于,在一天清晨大概4點鐘左右,我睡著了,但睡得很不踏實。一小時后,我突然驚醒了。我夢見父親死了。我不知所措,又精疲力竭,哭著給家里打電話。“一切平安,”母親寬慰我說。“別担心。”
  [32]六點鐘,醫院保衛處打電話到我的房間,說有人找我。我急急忙忙上了電梯,心里納悶誰會在這個時候來找我。啊,是我父母。他們天還沒亮就起床,開車進城趕來看我。“我只想看看你是不是平安無事。”媽媽說,她睡眼朦朧,一臉焦慮。
  [33]從天堂俯視 雖然媽媽的精神依然矍鑠,但身體卻差了。去年年初她動了大手術,術后出現并發癥。八天后,也就在1990年1月31日,媽媽突然離開了我們,享年66歲。
  [34]有200多人來參加她的葬禮。利歐在悼詞中說:“母親把畢生都獻給了我們,對自己毫無保留,心里總想著我們,唯獨沒有她自己。”
  [35]坐在教堂里,我能想像出母親在天堂里的樣子——看上去年輕、美麗,就像她那張心愛的照片上的樣子一樣。不過她不是在眺望密歇根湖,而是在向下注視著我們——她的六個孩子。她會一直為此自豪。
  [36]但應該感到自豪的是我們——為母親及她的成就而自豪。母親比我們任何一個人都更了不起,她是真正了不起的人。
英語世界京G381中學外語教與學N. Joseph/M.D.Michelotti20022002她激勵我們要有所建樹,并一直為我們指點迷津。葉宇張滿勝My Most Unforgettable CharacterShe challenged us to succeed--and then showed us the way. 作者:英語世界京G381中學外語教與學N. Joseph/M.D.Michelotti20022002她激勵我們要有所建樹,并一直為我們指點迷津。葉宇
2013-09-10 21:44

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