When Sarah Pizarro, who had been shopping, returned to her small apartment on New York's lower East Side, she told her seven-year-old son Tony she had a pain in her chest, was going to lie down for a moment.

Night came and Tony's mother was still asleep. Tony's father was at sea on a freighter, bound for the Philippines. So Tony got supper of dry cereal and milk for his younger sister Judy and himself. Then they quietly undressed, crawled into bed beside their mother.

When they woke in the morning, they tiptoed into...

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