by Gabrielle Birkner

The Strapped Generation

As a child in the early 1920s, my maternal grandmother peddled baked goods on gritty New York City streets to help her widowed, Romanian mother put food on the table. Grandma Bessie married a hardworking Polish immigrant and rented an apartment in a leafy section of the Bronx, where my mother and her sister were raised. By the time I was born in 1979, both of my parents had earned graduate degrees without incurring significant debt, and had purchased a two-story colonial in a comfortable New York City suburb.

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