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March 1963

Yesterday's Child

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(3):396-397. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620270122029

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"We are a generation which has yet to be judged by history and posterity, God and mankind.... I hope that they will measure with mercy and judge with charity; aware that, in reality they are passing judgement on our times, our country, our teachers, and our parents." Thus concludes Janet Kern her humorous but also profound portrayal of growing up in an internist's home—a Jewish home where every conscious effort was to de-Judaize, a Teutonic home where the study of German was forbidden, a "foreign home" in the United States where American patriotism flooded over nostalgia for the "old country."

The multihued account of her childhood and what she calls "perpetual adolescence," obviously seen through rose-colored glasses of paternal adoration, does not conceal the thorny, peevish idiosyncracies familiar to children in a medical household—"Don't tie up the phone; take a message; emergency; you are a doctor's child; you wouldn't call

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