Generous Orthodoxy  

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The American dream, by Governor Patrick

The African-American governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, told the graduates of Wheaton College (Mass.) about the trajectory of his life:

Our youngest daughter, Catherine, graduated from high school a couple of years ago. Sitting at her graduation, I couldn’t help thinking about the difference between her journey and my own, nearly 35 years earlier. I grew up on welfare on the South Side of Chicago in my grandparents’ two-bedroom tenement. I shared a room and a set of bunk beds with my mother and my sister, who is here today — so we would rotate from the top bunk to the bottom bunk to the floor, every third night on the floor.

I went to overcrowded, sometimes violent public schools. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t love to read, but I don’t actually remember ever owning a book until I got my break in 1970, when I came to Massachusetts on a scholarship to boarding school. ... Now, our Catherine, by contrast, has always had her own room, most of that time in a house in a leafy neighborhood outside of Boston. By the time she got to high school, she had already traveled on four continents, she knew how to use and pronounce the “concierge,” and she had shaken hands in the White House with the president of the United States.