After I turned in my eyeglasses…

Jan 5, 2023 | 1 comment

Mama, Granny, Me — Easter Sunday 1940
(About The Time I was Granny’s helper with the oil stove.)

When I accepted Cate’s New Year’s Resolution challenge — to think of something to add rather than to subtract from my life, I thought about it long and hard.  But aparently not long and hard enough.

I chose to try to become more compassionate more empathetic,  Little did I know that I would get my first opportunity by January 4th and that my compassion was extending backwards a few generations rather than sideways to those I may already know in the here and now.  And it all happened because I turned in my prescription eyeglasses!

Yep!  Turned them over to the  optician to have my lenses updated.  Since my same, round frames (which I love) are no longer available, I opted to have the new lenses placed in these beloved old frames — fingers crossed that there isn’t a problem — and to just go without glasses for a time.

Three weeks???  Say what?  Still… I only need the reading part — my long distance vision is fine.  So I can drive and I can manage on the computer where it is possible to enlarge and/or darken fonts.  No problemo, right?  WRONG!

the Library of Congress provided record players and “talking books” on records so my grandmother could read.

Right off the bat I wanted to check on an old recipe of my mother’s.  Didn’t couldn’t wouldn’t happen.  A magnifying glass didn’t help.  My astigmatism is too strong and even though both doctor and optician had told me that those “cheater” glasses at the drugstore would not help me, somehow I though one of these strong magnifying glasses that are scattered about our house would do the trick.  WRONG1

My grandmother was legally blind by the time I was born and almost totally blind by the time I was in fourth or fifth grade.  Yet, she lived in this house, managed to cook on a wood stove (for which she even chopped kindling) and took care of my grandfather’s needs until after the war when she was able to have one of the first cataract surgery operations in NYC in 1946.

The first thing she saw when the bandages came off was the doctor’s tie.  She was totally amazed.  Never before had she seen a tie with bright colors on it!  And, of course the list grew.

These days audio and large print books are readily available at most libraries,

But… as I maneuver through this big house — now with all the amenities of electricity and running water, toilets and thermostatically controlled heat, my compassion for granny knows know bounds.  I remember that from the time I was four or five, it was my job to  help her light the oil heating stove early each morning.  She couldn’t tell if the matches she dropped in one after another had “caught” and so I would say, “There she goes granny!  Lit for another day.”  And we would get up off our hands and  knees and go into the kitchen to fix breakfast.

Was I compassionate? I have no idea.  But I certainly am now.  And for all the other people who go about their daily tasks undaunted, but unsighted.  OMG!

1 Comment

  1. Caroline Miller

    Our eyes weren’t meant to last as long as medical advances in human health make them necessary. Speaking of compassion, we’d do well to be kind to our eyes. Get checkups, wear sun glasses, eat healthy foods! Compassin startw with being kind to ourselves.


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