FIFTY YEARS AGO today, my mother and father traded vows and embarked on a partnership that produced eight children, ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild. One of us didn't survive infancy. I was the first pancake, conceived in real passion and almost immediately. My artistic mother liked creating people so much that she kept it up for sixteen more years, and my father, the mathematician, saw to it that we precisely alternated, boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl, at regular intervals. Shipwreck threatened more than once, but economic necessity, children and long-familiarity won out and here they are at last, growing old together in the bosom of their family. It's the exception rather than the norm, which is why we honor those who hung on through thick and thin, lean times and fat, joy and sorrow. I wouldn't have paired them, myself, but somehow they found each other and now the world has, for now at least, 20 people in it where before there were only two.
September 3, 1994
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