The Legend of Steve

Steve Kilted, n. d., courtesy of Colin Duncan

Steve Kilted, n. d., courtesy of Colin Duncan

I’ve always been proud and I’ve told friends of mine, particularly guys in the Lodge, because—a lot of you don’t know I’m a Mason and I’m an instructor in Masonic work. Every once in a while, I get a new guy who comes in and I instruct him in his work. And sometime they start bellyaching about how hard it is, how long it takes for them to memorize stuff and all that.

I say “Let me tell you a story about a relative of mine, who tried to get in medical school in the States and he had too many Bs on his grade card.” This is the story I heard. Anyway, “but he was accepted by a medical school in Italy. The only trouble is he didn’t speak Italian. So he went over there and learned enough Italian, had a tutor to help him, and went through four years of med school. He graduated, got his license, came back to the States and took his boards, and got a license here, and became a medical missionary in Africa.” And I said, “If he could do all that, surely you can learn this work.”


[Kathy]: There you go! The story of Uncle Steve.

story told by T. J. Ramey [Kathryn’s son] to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014; recorded and transcribed by Dawn [Steve’s daughter]

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Dad, you tell us the story now. Let’s hear it in your words.
  • Anyone else have a family story that got a little lofty or mangled in the re-telling? Tell us the story. How did you discover the “legend”? How was it different from your experience or your hearing of the story?

2 thoughts on “The Legend of Steve

  1. Bertrand Steve Duncan

    The picture of the kilted Steve comes from the Gordon College era, when anything went and was more or less accepted in some sort of parade.

    After, college, the U.S. Army, some graduate studies, and marriage to Marcia and, yes, no acceptance into an american med school because I was 27 years old and, yes, because of the B record, we applied to go to a famous old medical school (U of Padua) which still makes significant contributions to the science of medicine. There we spent five years and a type of internship, with Dawn being born three years through the studies and oral exams…yes, mostly in Italian.

    Applying to return to the USA came after taking american tests in Bologna and working in the Waltham (Massachusetts) Hospital as an intern. By the return time to the US Heidi came on the scene and still claims she was born in a “boot”, the shape of Italy. Residency was in Brighton, Massachusetts and work proceeded at the Indian Health Service in South Dakota now with four girls. Grandpa (Dad/Taylor) had died while we were in Europe, but Grammy (Mom Virginia) lived with Uncle Bob and Aunt Polly’s.

    We only went to Angola (Portuguese speaking) after five years in South Dakota and spent 17 years there in Africa. Both my parents (Taylor and Virginia) were gone by our return as was Marcia’s dad Otis. We then moved into the present homestead in Sandwich, MA along with Grammy MacGregor now 97 years old.

    The only inventive streak that came through was occasionally having to do surgery in an impossible place or nonexistent facilities and equipment. My present position working in the hospital is that, not of primary surgeon but the second pair of hands for many types of surgery; not an awful lot of inventing there. Some carpentry and redoing of cellar space is also inventive as is the artwork the my girls have made possible with the Christmas gifts. ‘Not yet Van Gogh but enjoying it immensely.. While in Menonge and Jamba, Angola there was an awful lot of inventing that had to be done so as to survive, water, refrigerator, protection, repair of broken houses etc. I guess that is an inventive streak coming out from Great Great Grandpa Chote. So there we go!

  2. Harley

    Betty as not well at the time and so I flew down for Steve’s graduation. it took place in a typical large room with ceiling about three floors up and suported by huge pillars.

    Examining professors were at a U-shaped table arrangement and Steve stood in the middle of the U. I sat near enough I could hear but not understand. It lasted for some time.

    Steve then asked if he could say something personal and was told yes. He motioned for Marcia to come up, brining Dawn with her. He then expressed his deep appreciation to the professors for the fine education he had gotten, and other words of appreciation. I was sitting close enough that I could observe the professors’ reactions. Some had tears rolling down their cheeks. They had never experienced such appreciation.

    Previooulsy, Betty and I had been down to Italy and stayed with them. Peanut butter was unheard of, which we knew. I hid 10 cans of peanut butter in various place around there home. It was fun seeing them discover them little by little.


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