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The year America turned two-hundred years old, my family quite suddenly slid about half a century backwards, to a time before indoor plumbing and universal electric service. Those things still existed for most other people–for everyone else I knew, in fact–but not for us. We lost the only home I’d ever known, half of a modest duplex on our little burgh’s Main Street, the rent for which, though only twelve dollars a week, had become somehow unmanageable. Grudgingly my grandfather (who hated my father for derailing the fortunes of his, my grandfather’s, oldest and most promising daughter) signed over, for the sum of one dollar, the deed to a sixteen-acre plot of land on a lonely dirt road, and a month after the great American Bicentennial celebration died down, my parents boxed up most of what we owned and stored it somewhere it would never be seen again, loaded the remaining absolute necessities into the back of my uncle’s truck, and veered off into the American Dark Ages.