Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hindsight


I've wanted glasses since my first eye test at school in third grade. Glasses held such an allure. I talk with my hands and I could imagine, even then, taking them off, chewing on the end of the arm while considering Bomb Pop or Push Up. I could imagine wildly gesturing with them as I made my case for one more episode of Scooby Doo. I could imagine them as the unspoken explanation of why I was reading Nancy Drew instead of playing kick ball. Alas, it was not to be. Worse, 20/10.

On Saturday, after a little running around in the morning, I came home to read in bed. I had about an hour before the next soccer game and I banned the boys from the room so I could sit and relax. I lay in the quiet and cool and read the just-arrived issue of Vogue. When it was time to go I put the magazine down on the bed and placed my glasses on top. With that gesture I realized that I have finally become the age that I have felt that I was since I was nine years old.

28 comments:

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

So cute. Such a sweet, lovely story.

When I was in the third grade I didn't want glasses so much that I memorized the chart lines while waiting my turn in line, so I wouldn't have to get them.

A Perfect Gray said...

lovely...

Dianne said...

Oh you are just too good at this. Delightful post!

pve design said...

Glad to see you grew into your nine lives self.
pve

Karena said...

Well I did not need my glasses back in the days I adored reading Nancy Drew. Now I need them on all the time!

Karena
Art by Karena

little augury said...

ouch-and do I know, I can't wear mine anymore without wiggling them up and down with my hand constantly. pgt

Katherine Doherty said...

i was just telling someone at work about the fact that I have always wanted glasses. Of course - Perfect vision.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Blandings,

I so love that post.

mary said...

Love it!!! Getting younger all of the time. Keep it up.

Foodie said...

You make me smile!
Sooo sweet!
Larry

Barbara said...

Mrs. Blandings,
"I lay in the quiet and cool"...
fine prose, indeed.
Glasses have been my accessory of the day since I was a young girl.
BarG

Kerry said...

I was so excited to lose the specs in favor of contacts when I was 14, I guess the glass is always greener or half full or something.

Leigh Chandler said...

Great story! I can relate with the perfect vision of youth. Alas, now I am in contant search for the THREE pairs that I need to survive - reading, computer, and distance! Arrggg...

home before dark said...

I used to say I was 20/20 at 40/40, now not so much.I attribute my loss of small type to the 9" Mac screen I used to squint to use (excuses, excuses). Now I need glass for the up close; my husband, for the far away. Together we see eye to eye. By the way I just buy magnifiers at wherever. My husband cringes at this. I have a pair in every room of the house...if I can just see them.

Anonymous said...

Oh Mrs. Blandings --
You did it again.

As a kid, I wish I had known you in the Bomb Pop days. We would have been the best of friends. Thick as thieves. (And you could have borrowed my glasses anytime.)

As an adult, I wish I was smart enough to kick my kids out for an hour to soothe my soul. Good for mom, good for them.

I am so glad your blog is part of my world. You consistently make my day.

Jane Schott said...

I agree completelhy on the glasses fixation. I flunked every eye exam until my parents took me to a specialist and asked me if I had a friend who wore glasses....yes, my best friend.

From then on I wore clear glasses...always a bit over the top. Now, most folks know me by my glasses and rarely remember my name.

I have always loved them.

Great post.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

The only thing worse is realizing you need them in every room!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Blandings, I always enjoy your blog and this post is no exception. Through your lovely turn of a phrase, I am somehow transported back to a kindler, gentler time -- a time which I am not even sure existed. Delightful!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Thanks for taking the time to stop in. I love these glasses stories. Jane, if I'd been a little smarter I would have faked it. I love that the specialist had your number. There must be legions of us.

VictoriaArt said...

Dear Mrs.Blandings, why don't you watch this video:

www.thegirlswithglassesshow.blogspot.com

Have fun! You will see what I mean!

XX
Victoria

Janel said...

What a great story -- we're all remembering being 9 and just knowing if we had the right prop we could be that sophisticated grown up we envisioned. What a day brightener.

magnaverde said...

I loved that. We would have got along just fine as kids.

When I was in grade school, I had a friend who wanted glasses, mostly because, in 1958, girls' frames featured exotic winged cat's-eye shapes, pearlescent pastels & lots of rhinestones. It was like Harley Earl, head of styling at GM during the tailfin era, was moonlighting as an eyewear designer. So girls with glasses looked cool & exotic, while my brothers & I, in our pint-size hornrims, looked like a row of Poindexters. By the time I was in high school, my nickname was 'Einstein' but it had nothing to do with my grades.

But I got glasses really early, so I never gave them much thought. I just wore whatever everybody else was wearing. In high school, they were the same black oblongs that nerdy/artsy people re-adopted a while back. In college, I had cool John Lennon wire rims, even though I wasn't cool. Nowhere close. I think I was the only granny-glasses-wearing kid who didn't smoke weed--or at least Marlboro's--in the school john, although that wasn't the reason I wasn't cool. The main reason I wasn't cool--even with John Lennon's glasses--is that I didn't have John Lennon's thick, glossy hair: no, I had Greg Brady's hair. But it could have been worse, and for my brother, it was. With hair twice as curly as mine--shaped into a perfect sphere--and with his shaded avaitor glasses, he looked exactly like Angela Davis.

Anyway, I had those John Lennon steel-rims right up till the summer of the Watergate hearings, which took over every single TV channel in the summer of 1973. back then, there were only had three channels, and John Dean was on all of them: all day, every day, John Dean & his way-cool hornrims. At least, I thought they were cool, even if nobody else did.

The next time I went to the eye doctor, he tried to foist off some clunky TV-shaped frames on me, claiming that they were the newest thing--maybe so, if you were Henry Kissinger or Aristotle Onassis--but when he slipped them onto my nose, I busted out laughing. So I showed him the picture of John Dean that I had ripped out of a Newsweek at the laundromat and said "These are the frames I want." He looked at the picture and said "No one is wearing those frames today. They don't even make those anymore."

I pointed to the picture. "Well, John Dean seemed to find a pair!"
He looked at the picture again, then he looked at me & said, "Yeah, I got some of those frames in the back somewhere, but why would a nice looking young man like you want to look like the biggest liar in America? The president is totally INNOCENT!"

After another few minutes warning me against traitors like John Dean, he went away and came back with the exact frames I wanted--still in their crinkly glassine wrappings from a few decades before--and I bought every pair that fit me. That stock lasted me for another thirty years.

The other day, I was riding the bus down Michigan Avenue, and it dawned on me: I was not only the only person wearing glasses, I was also the only guy wearing a tie, and I was one of the few not plugged into an electronic device of some sort. Looking at the vacant, fixed stares on the people around me, I didn't feel old, I felt like an alien. Oh, well. We are who we are. At least, if I ever hear someone call out "Hey Einstein!", I'll know who they're talking to.

Magnaverde.

Gretchen said...

I do so love your posts as well. Ones like this make me smile and feel like I've known you for years. Not only did I always want glasses growing up, I had to endure a sister with less than perfect eyesight who needed them to read! My parents never would have indulged me with clear glasses though I would have begged incessantly if I thought it would change their mind! Now that I am old enough to own 5 pairs of readers so I can always find a pair, I chide myself for ever being unhappy with perfect vision.

Anonymous said...

"I realized that I have finally become the age that I have felt since I was 9 years old."

And I thought I was the only one! Funny that it's taken me 55 years to align my inner and outer selves. Long live middle age!

KMc

Reggie Darling said...

Hello Mrs. B:
Lovely post, m'dear. Two comments: get thee to EyeBobs.com if you haven't already discovered it. Marvelous source for great looking speckies for those of us who are "vision-challenged", at least when it comes to reading things like the newspaper, telephone book (now that's an age give-away), or pretty much anything printed for that matter. Second is, dig those bouffant hairdos! It is time for a bouffant rennaisance! Will you please be the leader?

24 Corners said...

Such an insightful post...so happy that your eyesight finally chose to acquiesse to your hearts desire.

I am going to chew on and wave around my glasses tonight with renewed appreciation and also in honor of your beautifully written post!
xo Jessica~

beachbungalow8 said...

when I was 9 I think I wanted, glasses braces and crutches, all at once even. I can honestly say, that the glasses were the only thing that turned out to be the great accessory that I thought they'd always be.

Errant Aesthete said...

Mrs. Blandings,

One of the benefits in coming in last on your posts is reading the magnificence of all that's gone before me.

I don't know Magnaverde as everyone else does, but how well I remember those days of Watergate and my youthful yearnings for John Dean and those glasses. Every day he would sit there testifying, in the form of my perfect man with his impeccably styled wife, Mo, sitting poised and silent behind him.

I simply loved his account of the optometrist inquiring as to why he would want to look like "the biggest liar in America!"

Just wonderful.