My parents moved in with my father's parents just before my birth. In the first year of their marriage (including my premature birth and lengthy confinement in an incubator), during which both of them worked, they racked up an enormous amount of medical debt. Since my mother continued to work as a bank teller (and later bookkeeper) and my father as a factory worker, my grandmother was my primary caretaker. When I was three, my parents bought their first house, "out in the sticks" as everyone said then. I continued spending most of my time at my grandparents' house (barring time spent in school) until my parents moved from the country into town the summer before I entered the third grade.

[picnic photo. Caption: "My brother & me in the back yard of the newly purchased house.]

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