Saturday, September 10, 2016


If there was anyone in my life who gave me a gift, one that had the greatest impact, it would be Ms. Wagar, the school nurse!

I don’t know much about her life if she was married or not if she had children, but what she did possess was the ability to love unconditionally. If being a nurse wasn’t enough, her commitment to the students of Bellport High School was. Without her professionalism, devotion to what she did, I might not have been so lucky.

When I left Brooklyn in 1955 and moved to East Patchogue, she conducted hearing tests for the students at Dunton Avenue (East Patchogue) elementary school. It was her attention to detail that discovered that I was deaf! I had lost about 70% of my hearing from Mumps and for years after that, I was considered too dumb to be of any use in the world, that I would not have a future. My family thought I would have a low IQ, that I would probably be a ward of the state in some form. They never knew that mumps had taken its toll! I was abused by people because they thought I was stupid, I remember the long hours of tears and pain from that abuse. I was ashamed of myself and could never figure out why it was happening to me.

But one lucky day I reported to the nurse’s office and was given a hearing test, and conducted by Ms. Wagar, she uncovered the depth and range of loss. Without her dogged determination to help me through a series of hearing tests, she gave me my future back. I hope if she is gone, she resides under the light of God the Almighty.

While in Brooklyn, I was constantly failing, the teachers, the nuns, and brothers made it a Hell on Earth for me. I was smacked across the face until it burned and I couldn’t touch it, I was ridiculed and embarrassed by people unknowing. I even tried in a feeble attempt to hang myself from the embarrassment of my report cards. Then through the grace of God, we moved from Brooklyn and the harsh realities of ignorance into an enlightened community with a beautiful school, run by understanding and caring people.

My career was a success, I am President of a large agency, for the second time, and hopefully, people don’t think I’m that stupid.

God bless you, Ms. Wagar!


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