Dan Rodricks Commentary and conversation on life in Baltimore, Maryland and the USA

Followup: A correction about Nancy Pelosi and that white dress

In the interest of setting straight the record of Nancy Pelosi’s time in Baltimore, allow me to provide a brief follow-up to Sunday’s column about her family portrait and that white dress she wore for it.

The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives grew up in a Baltimore political family. She was born in 1940, the daughter of Annunciata Lombardi D’Alesandro and Thomas J. D’Alesandro Jr., a Democratic congressman and mayor. The D’Alesandros had five other children, all sons, and one of them, Thomas J. D’Alesandro III, became mayor in the 1960s.

In the family portrait, once prominent in the D’Alesandro home in Little Italy and now hanging on the wall of Germano’s Piattini, across the street, 7-year-old Nancy is front and center.

She’s wearing a white dress that, I suggested, “could have been her white dress for First Holy Communion at St. Leo The Great Roman Catholic Church.”

I confess: That was informed speculation on my part. But it was not correct. Call it close but no cannoli.

“I am writing to let you know that Mrs. Pelosi did not make her First Communion at St Leo’s in Little Italy,” was how Maria Patti Burke started her letter to me.

“She made it at the Institute of Notre Dame in the first grade. I was her candle-bearer and I have a picture of us in front of the old grotto at IND.

“Also, that was not her First Communion dress [in the painting]. At IND, we had to have long sleeves and that one has short sleeves.”

And, well, there you go.

I figured Pelosi would have received communion at her neighborhood church, St. Leo’s. I was not aware that IND, a Catholic high school for girls founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the mid-19th Century, once had a lower school, a fact confirmed by the current head of school, Christine Szala. Pelosi graduated from IND in 1958. This record has now been straightened. The son of the late Rose Popolo Rodricks regrets the error.



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