What musical instrument do I feel like right now? A big ole tuba? No, I’m more the shape of a baritone horn. How about the rolling thunder of the timpani? Too loud. I’m a kinda quiet sort. The sexy, smoothe clarinet. Well, yeah, always. But no, that’s not what I’m feeling right now. At this moment, I’m a slide trombone. The text is a little fuzzy, hold it closer. No further. My eyes aren’t what they used to be. I need new glasses.
The eye doctor concurs. His tests are conclusive. I hate that machine. Which is clearer, one or two? One or two? Or about the same. What if I make a mistake? Will my eyesight be forever damaged? Sometimes it’s just too hard to tell. For some reason, it seemed pretty clear this time. Pun intended. It was one, then three, then six. Viola! A new eyeglass prescription.
That’s perhaps the easy part. What about frames? Back in third grade, when I started wearing glasses, the choices were pretty limited. You could get black, rectangular frames made of plastic. Or, you could get brown, rectangular frames also made of plastic. There were also wire-rimmed frames, but for a third grader, these were a little too delicate to be sensible. I put my brown plastic frames through some rough times.
Of course, for the girls there were more options, the most notable being the cat eye shaped frames. Somewhere at my parent’s home lives a photograph of my sister rockin’ such a pair of cat eye glasses. Her hair was in a bun on top of her head, and she was wearing a ballerina’s tutu. Very stylish. Good gracious!
I don’t know how anyone figured out that I needed to wear glasses. Maybe I had headaches everyday after school. But the eye doctor confirmed it. He and his assistant were very old men at that time, both always wearing a dark suit. I don’t remember the names, but I have clear visual memories. The doctor recommended that I wear the corrective lenses when reading, but I soon started wearing them all the time. It was easier, and I really could see better. Now, life depends on them.
Over the years styles have changed, and so have my glasses. During the seventies I wore round wire rimmed glasses with dark tinted lenses. Like John Lennon. In college I wore big glasses. Kind of square. Still plastic. There was a name for them but I forget what it was. Schoolboy I think. I also wore some sunglasses that were a little smaller. I wore them a lot. Like all the time for over a year. A place called For Eyes would sell you a pair of glasses for forty-nine dollars, but I couldn’t afford to get a new pair when I broke my regular glasses. Plastic frames.
I stuck with the big plastic all through college. And the Navy. Now the Navy had a very special deal. Free glasses. The only catch was the style factor. We called them BC glasses. BC being short for birth control. No girl would even look at you when you were wearing those rectangular, black plastic frames. They looked a little like Wayfarers when you got the tinted lenses in them. But not really. I didn’t qualify for the Tom Cruise Top Gun Ray-Bans.
When I got out of the navy I tried wire frames. My dad thought they were more “professional” looking. Because that’s what he was wearing. I went back to the plastic. More recently I went back to the wire frames, but these were round. And they had cable temples. Like Ben Franklin. Very professorial looking. I thought. My very favorite pair of glasses however has to be the black wire rims with cable temples. Round frame with black, black, black lenses. I still wear them once in a while, even though the scrip is old.
Today I wear a rimless frame. A pair of lenses held to a nosepiece with some clear fishing line. It would seem very fragile at first glance, but deep down I’m still a third grader. I thought about going back to the brown plastic. My niece, who is very fashion conscious, is wearing brown plastic sunglasses. Giant round things. But I ended up staying with what I have. Partly because of what my insurance would pay for, and partly because I’m not quite ready to make a major metamorphosis. I’m on the verge, but not quite yet.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours? http://www.personalhistorywriter.com