CHAPTER 1Early Boyhood

ON THE NIGHT I WAS BORN, my mother was dancing the Black Bottom, a step popular in that year, 1926. She jokingly maintained throughout her life that she had been a flapper, the Jazz Age term for young women of the carefree 1920s who were devoted to dancing, to parties, to frivolity. The term could have described the way they flapped their arms and legs wildly as they gyrated across the dance floor, imagining themselves characters from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.

On that late June evening, young Juliette Phillips was apparently determined not to let even the ninth month of pregnancy interfere with a good time. The Black Bottom had the predictable effect of inducing labor, and off to the hospital she went.

She and my father, ...

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