by Gloria Jacobs

The Firstborn and the Princess

1953. America is in a boom economy — people buying everything, discovering shopping as a hobby. My mother, my two brothers and I move into public housing. There is no car, the closets have no doors, we buy our clothes at John’s Bargain Basement. My mother works two jobs: by day she’s a comptometer operator, typing numbers on a mechanical calculator; once a week she cooks hot dogs for Bingo Night at a synagogue. My grandmother lives with us, to take care of us, but in many ways my brothers and I raised ourselves. The smart, Jewish wild children of the projects.

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Our Brothers/Ourselves

The articles in this special section:

My Brother, Missing

by Tehila Lieberman

Marrying My Brother

by Anna Schnur-Fishman

My Brother’s Demons

by Yona Zeldis Mcdonough