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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I was born in Chicago in 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression and the early days of FDR's administration. My parents were recent arrivals to Chicago. They'd moved from New York when my dad got a job as a copy writer at Montgomery Ward. I was their first child and my mother found motherhood difficult - almost impossible. Her sister Helen came out from New York to care me. Eventually, I learned that my mother suffered from post-partum depression and was probably bi-polar as well. Five years later, when my brother Patrick was born he was taken to Philadelphia to stay with uncle Jim and his family until my mother "got her strength back" (that took a couple of years). My youngest brother, "Billy" was born two years after Patrick and he was placed with a family on Long Island on a paid boarding/foster child basis.

As a result of my mother's inability to cope with the demands of maternity, the bands that might have developed into solid connections between me and my brothers never solidified and to some extent the bonds between my brothers and I and our mother lacked some strength. I was sent off to boarding school when I was nine and my brothers stayed with my mother until she couldn't cope with them and they joined me at my boarding school for a while and then  transferred to my divorced father's home in Westchester. By this time he and his new wife (number three) had a baby boy and would have a girl soon after. The relationship between my brothers and their half siblings was never