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One Photo: One Story: Hairy Thing

My mother, Mary grew up and went to school in the Irish South Bronx. Her parents emigrated from Ireland. They brought with them the songs and stories of the old country.

My mother and her friends all knew the songs, dances and jigs that went with those stories. They went to St. Jerome’s Catholic School on Alexander Ave.

I cannot say that this story is an absolute fact but if it is, it was truly my mother’s sense of humor. It was also like my mother to sass the nuns of St. Jerome’s and concoct a prank of such boldness. If it’s embellishment or untrue, it is also like my mother to weave such a tale to humor us and make us think, Would she? Could she?

She was wickedly intelligent and blended her Irish sense of humor and Bronx street smarts.

Late 1940’s St Jerome’s; a school run by the nuns, strict Irish Catholic, and loaded with kids from New York City.

One morning, Sister asked some kids to show their talents in front of the class. Some read poetry, played an instrument, or sang a song and danced.

When it came to Mary Elizabeth Fullam’s turn, she really put on a show.

She went to the front of the class and waited for Sister to say, “Mary, you may begin”.

Mary started with an Irish Jig and began to sing a song.

“Some say the divil is dead, the divil is dead.

Some say the divil is dead and is buried in Killarney.

Some say he rose again, rose again, rose again

Some say he rose again and joined the British Army”.

The class cheered.

At the time my mother recalled, she had a bit of a brogue mixed with her Bronx accent. Many of the kids did.

These kids also loved when any of their classmates would try and get one over on the Sisters.

So Mary skipped to the last verse of the song.

“My wife she’s got a hairy thing, a hairy thing, a hairy thing.

My wife she’s got a hairy thing, she showed it to me on Sunday”.

Sister screamed, “MARY ELIZABETH, SIT DOWN”!

She continued.

“She bought in a furrier shop, a furrier shop, a furrier shop.

She bought in a furrier shop, it’s going back on Monday”.

The kids were hysterical and Sister dragged my mother from the class down to see Mother Superior.

If my mother pulled off this stunt in front of her class, it’s hilarious. Me-thinks it is true. I’ve heard the story too many times as a child not to believe otherwise.

I miss you Mom. I laugh every time I hear the song or think of this story.

If you don’t know the song, listen to the Wolftone’s version of “Some Say The Devil Is Dead”.

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