Oprah Winfrey's TV show says good-bye today. It's probably not the last we'll see of her. She's only fifty-seven and bound to be back in some vehicle or other one of these days. But the show that's been on the air now for twenty-five years is ending. Winfrey's had a stellar career and, boy, did she have to do it the hard way.
Born to a single teenage mother, she was raised in poverty. The mother went north. Oprah spent her first six years with her grandmother often wearing dresses, one clipping says, made of potato sacks. But her grandmother also taught her to read when she was three.
At six she moved to Milwaukee to be with her mother. She was molested, she has said, by a cousin, an uncle and a family friend, starting when she was nine. At 13 she ran away from home. Well, who wouldn't? Then she went to live with her father in Nashville and became an honor student, voted Most Popular Girl. A local radio station hired her to do news part time. Then she became the youngest news anchor and the first black woman anchor at a Nashville TV station and, you might say, never looked back.
Now, of course, she has her own network--OWN. She gets about 20,000 e-mails a week. In 2008 she made 275 million dollars.
Her program, over the years, has reflected the values that worked for her--determination, self-reliance, self-help.
You're a big success, lady, and you've earned it, every step of the way.