Mary Ann Barrucco has lived her whole life in Brooklyn, New York. She and her husband Eddie worked for the City of New York in The Department of Finance until retiring. She is the author of a non-fiction novel about all her experiences called “Hi, My Name Is Mary Ann” and published by Morton Books. The following is a letter she recently wrote to her mother, Concetta Ceraolo D’Achille, who passed away in 1965.
When I grew up, I got a job with First National City Bank as a clerk. A few months later I met a man named Eddie in a singles club. Eddie had just started working for the City of New York in the Department of Finance. He started out as a clerk, but quickly moved up the ladder. We hit it off immediately and I knew in my heart he was the one. We got engaged and married 18 months later. I had my dream wedding.
Ma, you would have loved Eddie. He was so kind, gentle and thoughtful. He treated me like a queen. No matter what I did, I always came first with him. Daddy liked him, too, and Sal had a lot in common with him, mainly baseball and poker. All that was missing for us is that we were unable to have children. But we loved our nieces and nephews as if they were our own.
Eddie always liked to drink, and at first I thought he was a social drinker. After three years of marriage, his drinking patterns changed and he became an abusive alcoholic. His drinking drove me out of my mind. I loved him and would never have left him, so I found my escape.
The corner candy store had just gotten in slot machines and I loved to gamble. Every day I played horses at OTB and scratched off lottery tickets. I got myself in big trouble because I was addicted to the slots. I realized I had a problem and called the Gamblers Anonymous hotline and started going to meeting right away. I finally straightened my life out. Now it was time to help Eddie.
His drinking binges caused a heart problem called alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Your heart can just stop and you will die. The only cure is a heart transplant.
Somehow, Ma, I got through it.
Ma, If Eddie and I had been blessed with children, I would never have treated them the way you treated me. I would have constantly shown my children my love. That’s because nothing else matters.
Maybe you were just overwhelmed with three kids and working and daddy and taking care of Grandma. Whatever the reason, it no longer matters. I’ve had my say. I feel better. And now I want you to know something.
I love you.
I always did.
And I forgive you.