I believe in Guardian Angels in fact I have named mine Junior. Their tasks are many and they go for the most part unnoticed and thankless. The fact is sometimes they can't reach us even when we need their help the most. I believe they get around this problem by prompting people around us to deliver the message by word or action. Some of these people are from family and are around us for decades, others may just pop into our lives for a month, week, day, hour or even just a minute. I would like to take this time to remember those who I believe were prompted by my Guardian Angel because I was just to busy to pay attention to him/her.
The first person who comes to mind is my Grandmother. A little chubby, four foot eleven inches of a great little woman who lived a very hard life but lived an easier life when she came to live with us. She always ran interference for me just when my mother was about to kill me for some stupid act, like when I raised the temperature in the house to one hundred degrees because I was curious about the gauge on the wall. More than that was the way she lived her life, always concerned about others, going off to church daily even in the snow. She had a faith that was not schooled. She was born in 1875 and married in 1889 and never had time for school but she had insights and faith borne by living and listening to her inner voice. My Guardian Angel tried to get those virtues she had through to me but who wanted to listen to him, know what I mean?
Mrs. Goldman, my elementary school teach from 7A, 7B, 8A and 8B comes to mind. She was not universally liked. I was a terrible student and wasn't what you would call a "good boy" in her classroom. I missed 7B because I had to have an operation on both feet that required casts up to my knees, after they were removed I had to learn how to walk again. I was supposed to be left back but despite the fact that I was one of her worst students and having to be constantly reprimanded she made sure I had every day's work by physically bringing it and picking it up the next day. She then negotiated with the school that I should start the next term in 8A and if I passed the courses I could remain with my class. I passed everything but Mrs. Gallagher who taught Arithmetic gave me a 63, 65 was passing and many times the teacher would raise the 63 to 65 but Mrs. Gallagher wouldn't. Mrs. Goldman persuaded her and the Principal to raise it to 65. I passed everything from that point on and didn't get left back. However, I remained a thorn in Mrs. Goldman's side until I graduated yet she always seemed to look out for me.
High School around the second year saw me get into an English class taught by Mr. Grossfeld, later to be known as Mr. Gray. He immediately spotted my name and knew I had an older brother which he remembered not exactly fondly. That marked the beginning of his landing on me very hard. He pushed, cajoled and prodded. I do not remember the subject matter but I remember him. He was always nattily dressed, always seemed assured of himself, and had impeccable manners even when he was destroying you verbally. Somehow he got me to be aware of good manners, to have a goal besides just having a good time and to try and do the best I can at what I am trying to accomplish even if my best is not the best offered. What matters is doing the best that is inside of you and not always being put off by what others might be doing. He knew I was a trumpet player but not a Harry James but I had the ability to be a pretty good one if not the best. I didn't measure myself against anyone but myself and what I could do. He was great.
I was a pretty young twenty-two when I went into the Army. I found myself in Georgia with everybody screaming to hurry up, "move your ass" was the term used if I remember correctly. I couldn't make my bed with hospital corners and this was a major sin. I had a Puerto Rican Sargent whom I couldn't understand and was better off speaking Spanish. In order to save me all the trouble I was getting into he ended up sending me out for roll call and he made my bed with hospital corners for about three weeks. He certainly was following the advice of my Angel because he saved me a lot of trouble. During basic the squad I was in was assigned two Korean war veterans Sargents Mitchell and Kornegy. I was a little brash and stupid because I was challenging a bunch of other Sargents who happened to be white, to a fight, one at a time or all at once. They were planning to throw me down the barracks steps when Mitchell and Kornegy intervened. They convinced them to leave me alone and convinced me to keep my mouth shut. After basic these guys faded from my life but I know Junior had enlisted them for my defense. Later when I got into the Third Infantry Division Band as a second trumpeter Sargent Topalian, who was in charge of the Trumpet section and I never got along. It was obvious he was trying to move me out maybe it was because I continually showed him up, physically and mentally. Chief Warrant Officer, Marion C. Durban our CO and Band leader had me transferred to Baritone Horn. He reminded me of Mr. Grossfeld. I marched in the front rank, left flank and he was always riding me. He had fun as we spared verbally but he liked me and protected me as he kept Topalian off my tail.
I was married when I left the Army and without a college degree. I was in office work and a degree was a necessity but my idea of having fun through high school left me with a 69 average and a Commercial diploma. I started taking courses one at a time as I tried to get matriculated but the college faculty were of no help, in fact they threw roadblocks after roadblocks in my path as I tried to get into a business degree course. Then one night, at a smoke break a Philosophy Professor, Dr. Carpino, and I were talking. He was teaching my course and he said he had made the resolution that if he had something good to say to a person he would say it rather than hold it back. Dr. Carpino, then told me I should pursue a degree because he felt I had the potential to do well. He told me to become invigorated and challenge the system until I overcame the obstacles. He said he was sure I could do it. He really inspired me. I got my two year degree, AAS and the my BBA because of that man. Because of Dr. Carpino I finally entered a MBA program. There was one course, Business Physics, which saw me go blank on my final. I told the instructor that for some reason I just went blank. If I failed that course I was going to drop out. The instructor told me he knew I was a good student by my class work and doing all the problems assigned. He passed me with an A. I graduated with honors. My Guardian Angel certainly works overtime and finds the right people to be his surrogate for me when I need them the most.
There are many more people and circumstances in my life when people have made a big difference in the choices that were before me and the direction my path would take. My Guardian Angel, Junior, certainly knew the right people to put in my path. I am sure you all have similar experiences.