The Pinch

The birth was not a joyous one. Just another little Irish girl born in The Pinch, an area in Memphis next to the Wolf River lagoon, so named for the pinched look of the underfed residents. Mary Elizabeth saw the birth’s blessing, however.

“Katie, Molly, come see your new little sister,” she called as soon as the midwife allowed. “What a precious blessing she is to push the sad shadows from our hearts.” It was exactly five weeks and one day since her husband’s funeral mass. Michael James was buried in consecrated ground at Calvary Cemetery, but there was no money for a marker. No matter. Few outside The Pinch cared for the death of a poor Irishman anyway.

“She can carry her Da’s name since she’ll never know him. It will honor him sure. We’ll be calling her Mary Michael.”

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