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Lessons in Life


It amuses me when I meet people my age (twenty-eight) and younger who think they have the answers to life all figured out. I too used to think that way and tried to carry around that air of confidence. Fortunately I was awakened to my ignorance when I met an extraordinary man who not only became my friend but also my mentor. After reading “The Teacher Who Changed My Life,” by Nicholas Gage, I realized that like Gage who was touched by an angel (his teacher and mentor Miss Hurd) when he was guided into the “Newspaper Club” that I too was blessed to have been guided to this man who taught me a few lessons and answers to life. He allowed me to view life, others and myself with an entirely different perspective.

I strongly related to the anxiety and fear Gage felt when he came to America to live with his father he didn’t know (203). I myself was completely alone and scared when I moved to Ventura County in 1998. Without friends or family to help get myself established I rented a room, went to a temp agency, and started a new job all in one week.

I was supposed to share an office with someone at this new job and that is when I met Gary Gentile. He was a tall thin man in his early fifties filled with an amazing sense of integrity and had these beautiful blue eyes that were filled with wisdom. I immediately felt a sense of security and admiration as he introduced himself to me and made me feel completely at ease.

I had never had a father growing up and as the months passed Gary and I soon

became more like father and daughter than employees. Every afternoon was reserved for our long conversations about life and our experiences.

I remember a conversation one day that we were having about my mom and sister. Like Gage, “I was trying to put their painful memories behind me” (204) but he gently coaxed me into telling him how they both treated me. I explained to him how they a


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