‘A People Prepared’

Christ the Redeemer statue at sunrise in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters)
For what?

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE C hristmas Day, 1970-something, probably 1979, which meant Jimmy Carter, gasoline rationing, and stagflation. The nation was gripped with malaise. But children who have not been taught any better think only of themselves.

The malaise on 56th Street was pretty thick, and the rationing was at times severe. There was a great deal of uncertainty in my life. I had started kindergarten, my parents were in the process of getting divorced, and my mother had begun a relationship with troubled Vietnam veteran with a terrible drinking problem. He had moved in with us. That had been over the summer, I think.

He was

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