Newburyport’s Guardian Angels

I’ve just come back from seeing my son perform a “solo performance” that he wrote–an independent study for college. My son graduates from college this May.

Sitting in the dark theater surrounded by his adorable, wonderful and boisterous fellow travelers, I forgot that the amazing versatile and gifted young man on stage, performing this remarkable, poetic piece, was the child that I gave birth to.

In the audience were two people from Newburyport, Massachusetts.

The first was Greg Moss, who cast my son in a play that he wrote and directed called “Yoohoo and Hank Williams.” An incredibly poignant play, performed at the Black Box at the Tannery, a play I’ve always wanted to see not only at the Fire House, but always thought it was worthy off-Broadway.

Greg Moss’ mother is Maureen Daly, who was my son’s kindergarten teacher. Mr. Moss’ father is yes, “Mr. Moss”, Myron Moss, my son’s poetry teacher his senior year at Newburyport High School. A family that so lovingly has book-ended my son’s earlier education.

Suzanne Bryan, my son’s high school theatre teacher, was also in the audience. “Mrs. Bryan” was one of his first high school “guardian angels.” Without Suzanne Bryan, there would have been no college “solo performance” this April.

When my son was going through the Newburyport school system, I would hear parents complain and complain. But I was always amazed at the men and women who showed up everyday, who had a gift that I could never imagine having, and cajoled, inspired, were exasperated and proud of my child. I always tried to thank them.

And there were many “guardian angles.” One always worth mentioning, Bernadette Darnell. There would have been no college experience, period, with out “Mrs. Darnell.”

I hear parents say to me today, “Ah, but your son’s experience was so different from our child’s experience.” I just say “Oh.” But, what I would like to say is, “Hush, be still, listen. If you open your eyes you will find your child’s guardian angels. No one has taken them away. They are most definitely there. There is a treasure hunt ready to happen.”

The guardian angles all through the Newburyport school system, made my son’s college experience possible. It is in part because of their dedication, warmth and caring that he will graduate from college this May. And for that I can never thank them enough. I know I am proud. And I am sure that they are proud too.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport

(My son is Hal Fickett. You can see his web page at