COMING TO AMERICA
Mccourt is a great believer in fate. He sees life as a series of chances that almost all went his way. He takes out an old, worn religious medal of his grandmother’s that he has carried every day in his pocket for 28 years and rubs it gently.
“I’d have a nervous breakdown if I lost it. My grandmother was not even supposed to come to America, her best friend got deathly sick three days before the boat left and gave her the ticket. So, a 16-year-old girl got a ticket and she had three days to decide whether she was going to leave Ireland to go to America and she did, with everything she owned in one little chest — which I still have. So if her friend hadn’t got sick, I wouldn’t exist.”
The chest is the centrepiece of his living room at his home in the States, as a constant reminder to his own children of chance moments that gave them a comfortable life.
“You know, most people fight what’s naturally happening. They just fight it and fight it. I let it come to me. That allows me to be really calm in situations of huge stress. If I have a problem I go for a walk and I’ll see something and I’ll say there’s the answer, it’s right in front of me. But you have to have a confidence that it’ll be okay. That’s faith.”
Mccourt was the youngest of seven children and the family’s prospects improved with the growing success of his father’s contracting business.