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When my father Ellis was born, most families were larger then than they are now. Times were hard and medicines available were not much help when people became ill. One of my dad’s brothers and a sister died in infancy. He was one of seven other brothers and one other sister who lived to become adults, to marry, and have children. Dad loved his joke about seven brothers being in the family and all having a sister each. The story was told in such a way to sound as if there had been fourteen children rather than eight. The two oldest brothers were already married at the time their mother died. Ellis was three and a half years old. His sister Alma was fifteen. For a while she kept house and cared for the brothers left at home. About two years later she married. Soon after that, their father married again. Two of the five children he and his second wife had died in early childhood.

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