There were 13 of them in all, born over a period of 27 years.
Lillian, who grew up to run a numbers racket, was the first, born in 1906.
She was followed by Sadie, Vivian and Virgie. Richard, a college professor and poet came next, followed by Paul, Vina, Annie, Edna and Leonard, my dad. Then came Ruth, Carl and finally, Mildred, born in 1933.
As she was the last to be born, a few days ago she became the last to die.
I wrote about Aunt Millie and her decline from dementia three years ago in this space. As these words are written, I’m preparing to go to Chicago to bury her. And thinking about what it means when a generation dies.
I have no more blood aunts and uncles. Not on either side. My sisters and brother and cousins and I, we are it. We are the “grown-ups” now. We are the family.
It is a sobering realization familiar to many of us of a certain age. Firsthand memory of the Depression, the war, the Holocaust, is dwindling at a sobering pace, disappearing one heart attack, cancer diagnosis and stroke at a time.