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  • Writer's pictureIvan Cox

Tad as Intern

Readers of Blood Pudding might like this photograph. I believe it was taken (circa 1937) when my father (Tad in the book) served as an intern at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh (known in Blood Pudding as St. Agatha’s).

The picture hung for decades in my father’s office in Steubenville, Ohio, (Hunterton in the book). In the 1970’s, when Dad closed his practice and brought the picture home, I snared it. I have cherished it ever since.

Medicine was my father’s escape from his gritty, impoverished roots. He practiced it tirelessly and passionately, and he enjoyed the respect he earned for serving proudly as a busy general practitioner for his smokey steel town’s grateful population. He also assisted in surgery, where he met my mother, a nurse anesthetist in the Ohio Valley Hospital. During the 40’s and 50’s my father delivered thousands of babies, one of whom was the major league Hall of Fame relief pitcher, Rollie Fingers, born in Steubenville in 1946. When Rollie became a famous all-star with a unique handlebar mustache, my father bragged facetiously that he had caught Rollie Fingers’s very first pitch.

In the photograph, the young intern in the starched white lab coat looks quite confident, satisfied at his task. He peers intently through the microscope and meticulously records his findings in a lab notebook. My father (like Tad Malinowsky in Blood Pudding) had every right to look and feel content, for he was now miraculously free and clear of his nightmarish childhood.

But putting on a starched white lab coat and peering into a microscope while a photographer snaps your picture does not, as Blood Pudding’s sequel will reveal, free Tad entirely from the Malinowsky family, especially their self-destructive tendencies and their willingness to take advantage of their successful and soft-hearted sibling Tad in Hunterton, Ohio, a mere twenty-five-minute drive west from Rehoboth.


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