Chapter One

NEW YORK CITY 1939

In the year I was born war was declared, Sigmund Freud died, and with hope and trepidation the first edition of the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous was published. July 24 of that year was sultry - nothing unusual for a New York summer.

My father- tall, thin, introvertedly brilliant - was in the process of "breaking down." This mysterious phrase haunted me for years, making me wonder if I, too, possessed the elements of such a degeneration, delicate nerves somehow unraveling in a way that would show on the surface and influence the lives of everyone around me forever.

My , a luminous young Communist, was involved with the WPA as World War II developed. Her lifelong motto had already formed: "As long as a soul in the world is suffering, we can never be happy."

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