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.
 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（注：附圖
私人教師；良師）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（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.
 Mama thrived in the hectic（注：附圖
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.
 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."
 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.
 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.
 "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.
 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）."
 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（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.
 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（注：附圖
有感染力的）. 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, 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.
 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.
 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.
 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?"
 "You Honor Us All." My mother made family values and pride tangibie（注：附圖
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."
 "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.
 "Everything you do reflects on the family,"Mama explained, "If you succeed, you honor us all."
 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.
 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."
 Time for Everyone. Success wasn't just making money, Mama always said success was doing something positive for others.
 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."
 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
翻找；搜尋） through our closets for extra coats.
 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.
 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
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."
 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.
 View From Above. While my mother's spirit remained indomitable（注：附圖
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.
 More than 200 people came to her funeral service. In his eulogy（注：附圖
頌揚；頌詞）, Leo said, "Mama poured her life out for us, reserving nothing for herself, thinking of us always, of herself never."
 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.
 But we're the proud ones-proud of her and all she accomplished. More than any of us, Mama was really somebody.
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
網載 2013-09-10 21:44:22