My father was the oldest — and only boy — of five children born in rapid succession in the 1950s. By the time his youngest sibling was due, he begged his mother not to deliver at Peck Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn: “Don’t go to Peck’s — they only give out girls!” I first heard this story at my father’s funeral, when my aunt Joan gave the eulogy. I was just 14. It was a preview of how my aunts would tether me back to what I had lost.
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