One of my older sisters, Annette, had complications during birth that left her with cerebral palsy. The doctors told my parents that she probably would not live a year, that she would never walk or talk or know love, and that she would only be a burden to them. I suspect they were trying to get my parents to let her die. My parents had deep religious convictions which compelled them to approach matters differently. They reasoned that Annette would be no more of a burden than any other baby; they resolved to take her home and make the rest of her days as pleasant as they possibly could.
I remember Annette's crib. It must have been 1950's vintage; it was enormous, heavy and very sturdy, much like the automobiles of that era, but it probably would not have met today's safety standards (as either a crib or a car). On the side that pulled down, there were metal rods with springs coiled around them at either end of the crib. I discovered that I could depress the springs one at a time, as my arms were too short to reach both at once, and they would "boing" to the top of the rod and rattle slowly back down. It was somewhat musical, fun and amusing. Annette loved it; she would laugh every time I would do it and would eagerly await the next one. I got really good at doing one and reaching over quickly and getting the other: "Boing! Boing! rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle..." I remember doing that for hours on end; it never got old.
One of my earliest chores or duties in those days was to go upstairs every morning and wake up Annette. On the morning of March 4, 1972, she would not wake up. I reported that to my mother, who hurried upstairs and a few seconds later wailed, "Terry!" I remember Mommy wandering around the house, cradling Annette in her arms, babbling and blubbering and crying inconsolably. Annette had died in her sleep.