Maria Makes A Prediction


In June of 1924 my brother Nick became the first in the Ginney Block and the first in the neighborhood to graduate from college. The other parents in the block could not understand why my father had permitted my brother to continue school after he finished high school, instead of sending him to work on one of the B & O railroad repair crews or into the Steel Mills in the flats below. All of the other sons of the families in the block had gone to work as soon as they had finished the eighth grade, to bring money into the family coffers. After all, weren't good Italian boys supposed to earn their keep?

I can remember my brother's graduation day vividly because that was the day that Maria picked to make her prediction. I can see her now, as she stood waiting in her doorway, waiting for my mother and father as they returned from the graduation exercises with my brother.

Arms akimbo, hands on her hips, she greeted my parents saying, "E Don Rocco, che successo oggi?" "Don Rocco, what has happened today?" My father replied, with great pride, "Oggi, Nicolo si e laureato in biologia e Scienza." "This day Nicolo had received his degree in Biology and Science." Maria then asked, "Che vuol dire questo?" "What does this mean?" At this my father put his arm around my brother and proudly said, "Addesso, Nicolo po entrare in Universita di Medicina e Chirurgia." "It means that Nicolo may now enter the University of Medicine and Surgery."




This hit Maria like a thunderbolt. As the Ginney Block's faith healer, she had managed to sow the seeds of distrust for scientific medicine in the minds of many of the families of the block. Now she was going to be faced by a medical student who might eventually become a Doctor of Medicine and who would undoubtedly expose all her nostrums. Here was going to be a threat to her practice.

With mock commendation, plainly devoid of any sincerity, Maria said, "Va bene, Va bene." "Very good, Very good." She ended by saying, "Vediamo se e possibile. Io predire che un sarto non produrrre un Medico!" "We'll see if it is possible. I predict that a tailor cannot produce a Doctor!"