Sunday, September 4, 2011

Truth #2

I hate the fact that I wear corrective lenses. Always have.

I remember when my eyes started to change. I was in fourth grade and absolutely loved my teacher, Miss Pillen. I loved her yellow-blond hair, her attitude of fun, her handwriting (what with its curlicues and such). I loved that she used a fine-point ball point pen so much that I bought one for myself with my allowance at the Osco downtown. Seriously, it was kinda stalker-ish how much I loved her.

So, we were in class one afternoon, and Miss Pillen was going over something with the entire class, Math maybe? I was sitting at a table in the middle of the room, and raised my hand at one point because I couldn't make out the stuff on the screen: things were out of focus. So Miss Pillen fiddles with the overhead projector, I look up and work through the next problem, but still can't see anything. Again, I ask for things to be put into focus. By now, the other kids in my class are shooting me looks; What is wrong with you? Its perfectly in focus! Miss Pillen fiddles with the knobs again, saying to me "Now? How about now?" I shook my head, no, its still blurry. And then Miss Pillen says in a very exasperated and completely annoyed voice:

"Maybe you should get your eyes checked!"

She had never raised her voice to me or spoken harshly to me; I was really a good kid, a good student. I started crying, and I thought I was doing a good job at hiding it (it was dark in the classroom, after all), but she came over to me and told me to go wash my face.

I cried just now at the memory, it is so ingrained on my conscience.

How thrilled do you think my parents were to have to take me to the eye doctor? Yeah, with six or seven kids at this time, one of the kids was bound to need glasses, right? (Although none of us needed braces...) And since we're talkin' circa-1982, my choice of frames was, um, limited. Do I even need to tell you that my hair was always home-permed in the skinniest rollers? And that our Catholic school uniforms were less-than-fashionable? I was a sight to behold.

I remember a couple of years later coming home from the eye doctor needing a stronger prescription. Another year, another new, stronger prescription: I was convinced I was going blind. I would come home from school many days and go upstairs to my bedroom, throw my glasses at the wall, and just sob. Big, heavy, mournful sobs that only a self-conscious pre-teen girl can understand, and that a mother can only listen to outside the bedroom door. Inconsolable.

And so, my 12th birthday stands out as one of the best ever if only for the fact that I was finally allowed to get contact lenses. I dream of laser eye surgery now, even though I'm pretty sure my eyes are past the prime state for that. *sigh*

On a happier note, Miss Pillen got married the summer after I had her for a teacher, and became Mrs. Wentworth. She named her first daughter Rachel.

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