1936 was a memorable year because I failed the second grade eye exam at school.
I sat in the front row of each class, not because I was special andthe teacher wanted to be close to me, it was because I couldn't read the blackboard from anywhere else. I took a note home from the school nurse stating that it was time for me to get my eyes examined.
"This is spooky," I said to mother later on as we entered the darkened Optometrist's office for my eye test.
"I'm right here with you and this will not hurt, he's just going to check your eyes with a little light." mother said as she sat down on aside chair, while I adjusted myself into the big, black leather examinationchair. I was fascinated by the many optical instruments and the drawers with hundreds of lenses row upon row, nestled in purple velvet niches. I wanted to reach out and touch them but I didn't dare.
"Good morning, good morning," Dr. Koons looked like a jolly old elf from my big Mother Goose Book. I felt right at ease immediately and aftermother answered general questions regarding my health, he turned to me.
"So, you can't see the blackboard?"
"No. I can see it."
"Then what's the trouble?" he asked.
"I just can't read it."
Dr. Koons and mother had a good laugh over that as he continued to examine my eyes.
"She'll have to wear glasses. At least for school and probably all the time. He reached for a flesh colored child's frame and tried it on me,adjusting the temples to fit around my ears.
"You'll be receiving your glasses in the mail, young lady, and then you'll be able to read the blackboard!" he chuckled again remembering what I'd said.
I remember the day they arrived, RFD (rural free delivery). I was swinging on my 'tire' swing out by the highway that passed our home. I'd been doing that every afternoon since my eye check-up waiting for the mailman to bringmy new glasses. I heard his brakes squeaking and knew that he was going to stop at our box. I jumped out of the swing on a run, nearly falling down as I dashed for the mailbox at the edge of the road.
"They're here!" I screamed as I ran into the house.
I handed the box to mother in the kitchen where she was baking pies. She cut the box open and took the round shaped eyeglasses out of the excelsior packing. She placed them on me, curving the pink temples around my ears.
"Well whadaya know! There's beans in those bottles up on the top shelf."
"I guess you really were in a bad way," mother said scraping the pie crust from the edge of the pan as she turned it on the palm of her hand.
The fact that I needed them did not make it any easier to remember to put them on before I went to school.
The second time I got to school without them the teacher sent me packing.
"Yeh, Four-eyes, go home and get your glasses," little Romer Slausonsaid. He was the mean twin brother to Omer Slauson the only boy I'd liked since Kindergarten.
It was a two mile bike ride home, out through Brea Canyon, to get my glasses, plus I was going to have to stay after school to make up the classwork.
I didn't forget them again after that. Pain is a great teacher. Besides,I really liked to read the blackboard.
I didn't like being called Four-eyes, but that's just one of life's little things to 'smile and shine' about. Mother always quoted this poemto me whenever anything went wrong in my life. "Make your lips to smile my Honey, make your eyes to shine ... Life ain't always funny...little girl o'mine."
Later on the teasing changed from Four-eyes to "Boys don't make passesat girls who wear glasses!" Somewhere along the way I adjusted to the insults.Maybe 20/20 vision gives you more than eyesight. Perhaps one gets a littleinsight along the way as to what is more important .... passes fromboys, or passing grades in school! For sure, I know hindsight is always20/20!