I was in the 4th grade when I failed an eye test. A lumpy, blonde over-achieving 11 year old, I wanted a re-do when it was apparent I wasn’t reading the lines of tiny, blurry print correctly. When the school nurse handed me a note to take home to my parents, I was horrified.
And didn’t take the note home.
I threw it in the dumpster next to the elementary school on my way to the car after school. As silly as it sounds, I just couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been successful at the eye test. Even sillier is the fact that nobody gave me the parameters that I set for myself. I not only set them; I write them in cast iron. And bludgeon myself with them.
I attended George West Elementary School, population 1,800. There were 90 people in the whole 4th grade and our dad was the high school principal/assistant superintendent. It was doubtful that this little secret could be kept.
First Mother, then Daddy asked if I had anything to give them.
“Something to give you? I…um…I don’t think so.”
“Maybe a note?” Mother asked.
Daddy looked puzzled. “Are you sure, honey?”
As a parent, I realize they were just following up on a phone call, but at the time I thought they might be telepathic. It was late in the night when my conscience made me get up, wake my parents, and tearfully admit that I hadn’t passed my eye exam.
A week later, I had glasses. The blackboard had writing on it. There were people playing on the football field 100 yards away. When I walked to the library, I could see my friend and her mom coming down the steps.
I couldn’t see for awhile and had no idea that I couldn’t see until I could see. I was so afraid of missing something that my glasses and I were rarely separated. I wore them to bed, in the pool, at the beach. Call me “four eyes” and I don’t care. I am a fan of visual acuity.
Except when I have to go back to wearing glasses after 40 years of contacts. I maimed my left eye with a construction site of sand. Even though I tried to convince my self and my eye that it was okay, I had to take out my contacts and put on my glasses. The glasses that I carry with me always and try not to wear. I’ve felt like Mrs. Magoo for the past 48 hours.
I am not sure what chord of vanity these glasses are striking. Boy, but they are playing that chord loudly and continually!
I have to remind myself that this is probably temporary. If it isn’t? I’ll deal with that later. Maybe I can find a pair of silvery blue cat eye glasses with genuine rhinestones similar to the ones that I so proudly wore.
Or maybe not.