I was one of those kids who was mortally embarrassed by my parents. (I later realized that their fashion choices were not bizarre — they were just ’70s chic held over a tad bit too long.) My mother seemed always to gravitate to the yellow ‘sale’ signs on top of retail racks — which seemed horrifying back then.

And my Dad? Horror of horrors, he tried to negotiate everything — and I mean every single thing. He would actually bargain for things like TVs and computers at stores like Sears, and I would grow hot with embarrassment, detouring into what we’d now call the "tween" section, hoping no one would know we were related.

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