Angel at Work

Angel at Work

From A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Angel at Work

I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work and my God.

Helen Keller

An envelope addressed to me in unusually beautiful type-script caught my eye as I sorted through the day’s mail which was piled high on my desk. Something about the letter commanded my attention, so I opened it first.

The same beautiful type-script in ephemeral light-brown unfolded in balanced precision across the sheet of expensive stationery. The entire letter was a model of perfection for personal correspondence. It invited me to read it:

Dear Dr. Curtis:

I have be en thrilled by your talks at the Sunday Services of the Science of Mind Church at the Fox Wilshire The atreduring the past month. I get so much out of them. Your lessons should be published so that everyone can be inspired by them as I am.

He re is a suggestion. If you will send me the tape re cording of your Sunday talk each week, I will transcribe it for you and re turn the tape along with the typed transcription.

I pray that you will allow me to be of service in this way. I want to help others share the great good which you have given me. Just have your secretary call and some one will pick up the tape each Monday morning.

God is blessing you and your great work.

Since rely yours,

Mary Louise Zollars

The signature was typed in the same unusual typescript. There was no handwriting.

As I finished the letter, I experienced the exultation that always accompanies answered prayer. For months I had been looking for someone to transcribe my Sunday sermons, but could find no one who would transcribe directly from the tape I used on my cumbersome tape recorder. A start-stop mechanism had not yet been invented and operating the recorder by hand and typing at the same time was just too much to handle. In the meantime, I was frustrated as the tape recordings piled up. I had no transcriptions upon which to base a book.

And now, out of the blue, came this letter from Mary Louise Zollars. I hastened to call the number given in the letter and asked to speak to her.

“I would be happy to give her a message,” a friendly feminine voice replied.

“May I speak to her personally?” I asked.

“She can’t come to the phone right now,” the voice replied. “Please give me your message.”

“Thank you,” I said, “Just tell her Donald Curtis called in response to her wonderful letter.”

“She will be glad you called,” was the answer. “Could you tell me when someone can pick up the tape of your Sunday lesson?”

“I would be happy to deliver it personally,” I persisted. I was eager to have personal contact with this angel who had been sent to me.

“That won’t be necessary. Please have the tape ready at your office at noon tomorrow, and it will be picked up. Oh—Miss Zollars has her own tape recorder to play the tape on for her to transcribe. The tape and the transcription will be returned to you before the end of the week.”

“Thank you very much,” I replied. “The tape will be at my office tomorrow as you have requested.”

I was puzzled by the seeming mystery of the arrangement, but I gladly went along with it because of the great good fortune that had come to me.

Two days later the first tape and the pages of the transcription were returned to my office. They were in the same unusual type-script and light brown ink, and each page was perfect. The spaces were consistent, the margins justified, and there wasn’t a typo anywhere. I was elated as I read through the manuscript. This was exactly what I needed for the first draft of my book. I hastened to call Miss Zollars to thank her. The same friendly voice answered the phone.

“Hello,” I spoke. “This is Donald Curtis. Could I speak to Miss Zollars? I want to thank her for the beautiful transcription.”

“Oh, hello, Dr. Curtis,” came the answer. “I will give Miss Zollars your message. She will be glad you called. Remember, be sure to have the tape of your Sunday talk available at your office on Monday morning. We’ll pick it up as before.”

This same procedure went on for nearly a year. The flow of perfectly typed transcriptions continued to reach me each week, and I gleaned enough good “stuff” from them to complete my first book. But I still had no personal contact with my transcribing angel. She didn’t answer my phone calls, but answered my “thank you” letters with warm letters of her own, all written perfectly in the same unique style.

A personal call came for me one afternoon, and a familiar voice greeted me, “Dr. Curtis, I am calling for Miss Zollars. She would like to invite you to tea this afternoon at five. Can you come?”

I answered in the affirmative, and at five o’clock sharp I presented myself at the address given. I was greeted by a pleasant matronly lady whose voice I immediately recognized. “Good afternoon, Dr. Curtis. How good of you to come. Miss Zollars is waiting for you in her sitting room.”

I was ushered into a warm, pleasant room where a young woman sat in a wheelchair, her head twisted to one side in a grimace, and her body twitching as her hands were held firmly between her knees. Her face lit up as she endeavored to smile and speak. The entire experience was painful to behold, but joy and light radiated from Mary Louise.

Side by side on a raised platform in front of her wheelchair were a large tape recorder and an old-fashioned manual typewriter. Following our greeting, Mary Louise started the tape recorder with the toes of one foot, let it play for a moment, and then typed the passage with her toes on the typewriter, before repeating the process. She beamed with pride as she accomplished the entire process with her feet, holding her hands tightly between her knees to keep her arms from flailing.

Mary Louise had been spastic since birth, but overcame her handicap with an indomitable sense of humor and the skilled training of her feet. Her companion, friend and nurse-helper was the friendly lady whom I had gotten to know on the telephone. The two were inseparable and working together; their life was full and meaningful.

Mary Louise continued to transcribe my tapes for several years and never asked any reward except what she called the joy of doing it. On the thousands of pages of transcriptions that Mary Louise typed with her toes, I never found one error.

This remarkable lady has been one of my closest friends for many years, and is the most beautiful soul whom I have ever known. She continues to live a full, dedicated life of service, and seems completely untroubled by the fact that her every overt action is performed with her feet, reinforced by the ebullient humor which bubbles up from within her.

My life has been enriched and blessed by this angel who lives to help others.

Donald Curtis

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