Thomas Sowell

She didn't win the lottery and she never caught up. But at least she will suffer no more.

By all the indicators that the "experts" use, Margaret was more fortunate than I was. She was raised in a two-parent family and they had things that I didn't have when I was growing up, such as a telephone and a television set when that was still a novelty. But the reality was that she was never as fortunate in the things that matter in life.

Once she confessed that she had felt resentful when her father and I reminisced about the fun times we had together in the old days, when he took me with him to places around New York. He never took her or her brother to those places or did those fun things.

When I was a kid, he and my sister were a young, carefree couple with no children of their own, and had time and money to spend on me. But, by the time Margaret came along, her father was exhausted from working overtime to feed four people on one salary and her mother was burdened with health problems of her own and a baby who died. Her parents were no longer the same people, any more than the school was the same school.

Many years later, Margaret would say, with some bitterness, that her father "treated you better than he treated his own son."

When I thought about it, I realized that she was right. I was lucky enough to come along at the right time and she and her brother came along when life was a struggle.

But at least now she will suffer no more.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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