For John Edwards, the moments were many — a millworker's son who day after day absorbed the lesson of the underdog from his father, then worked himself to overcome long odds and achieve an improbable success.
Early in the morning, the young boy would wake up to find his dad bathed in the light from the television, a notepad on the table in front of him.
John Edwards' father, Wallace, a small-town millworker with a high school education, would be taking math courses on instructional TV before reporting to work. He was always trying to better himself, to get ahead at a company that did not seem to respect, or advance, anyone without a college degree.
Wallace's status at the textile company, where he worked for more than 30 years, cast a shadow on the Edwards home. The son knew that his father was routinely overlooked for supervisory positions. Even worse, he was often asked to train the people hired as his superiors. It was a painful lesson that John Edwards never forgot.
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