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A New York Times Privileged Childhood

There was a newspaper every morning on the mat outside our apartment door. We were on the seventh floor and this was a marvel to me. How did it get there and so early? We were at the breakfast table by 6:30—all four of us—and my step-father had opened the door and picked up the paper before we were all assembled. Being the man of the house and the most interested in domestic politics and foreign affairs—at least that was my explanation until I went to college and learned better—he had prerogatives on the newspaper. That said, he shared its contents by reading various articles aloud and then asking his children questions.

My sister was always too young—even as she got older—so I had the opportunity and challenge to answer the questions to show-off and make my mother proud and my sister jealous. For this great effort I was rewarded with the arts section of the newspaper. Mostly, I looked at the movie ads and advertisements. But I drew the pages back as my stepfather did into a kind of scroll, right to left, and felt very grown up.

These days, I mostly read the newspaper digitally and I miss the smell of the paper, the newsprint on my hands, our small family at the breakfast table together before the frenzy of getting to school and work, and my stepfather’s lessons about all the world’s glories and woes.
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