My First Pair of Glasses

My first pair of glasses

My first pair of glasses were brown plastic. My name was melted into the right temple. I didn’t know I couldn’t see, until I could. The walk from the optometrist to the bus with my mother. My head felt farther away from my feet. I remember my first tree after my glasses on Second Avenue in downtown Saskatoon. Did you know there are individual leaves on trees?

The first television show I saw was a Western Skit on Red Skeleton. It was in black and white on our console TV. There was a fight, and people kept getting thrown through the swinging wooden doors.  I could sit on the Chesterfield now and watch. I did not have to sit right in front of the television pressing my nose to the screen.

Memories stand out in the filing cabinet in my mind when something unusual happened. I can still remember when my brother washed the lettuce from our garden for our camping trip to Dore Lake in northern Saskatchewan. I thought he had washed each piece individually. After eating salads for three days, I cut a long fat green caterpillar in half as I sliced the lettuce for another salad. I can still see the half of it on the cutting board. Lime green and the size of a broken fat crayon. He had only swished the lettuce. I still wonder how many caterpillars I ate without realizing it.  I might have thought it was a ripe tomato.

My days with my children often blend together. One day into the next. I want to remember these days. The days that don’t stand out.  When I read to my youngest daughter, I take off my glasses and hold her face in my hands so I can remember the details of her face. Each little freckle.  With my son, we have a room in the house which is officially the tickle room. I try to lure him in there. “The fireplace is broken, will you come here please?”  He enters and I tickle him. If he sings, I fall asleep, relax my grip and he can escape.  My older daughter I drive to school and work.  I listen, and drive.  Her life is full, I fit in where there is still room.

I wear glasses. I see leaves on trees.  My glasses help me to see detail.  But, I have to look to notice.  I have to open my eyes to really see.


9 responses to “My First Pair of Glasses

  1. I got glasses in fourth grade (let’s don’t talk about how many years ago)…but as you wrote, I can remember being amazed by the leaves on trees. I love the way you tied it to noticing and remembering…

  2. That was just beautiful – how you tied in the past and present and the life lesson. This line is touching, “I want to remember these days. The days that don’t stand out.”

  3. Your writing is filled with strong images, but the most precious ones are the ones of you with your three children. Priceless.

    • Thank you Stacey.
      I think of you and your little one. I can still see the photograph of her from behind, leaning her head on the sofa, tired from walking. I love to read about your life.

  4. Your writing always holds me, pulls me in. I am smiling at the words that connect us – Chesterfield, Red Skelton, words from my past, too. I love the idea of the ‘tickle room’ and the way you play with your children. Your last line perfectly reflects that feeling – ‘will there be room for me later?’ I hope so.

  5. Saskatoon is where my grandparents lived, and where I spent nearly every Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving of my childhood — to say nothing of summertime. I saw the city in my mind when you put on your glasses.

    As usual, you show a magnificent power to take something small and swirl it in wider and wider circles until it’s a much larger metaphor. The deep significance in small things is what artists can see that most of us can’t.

    You’re an artist.

  6. You reminded of when I went with Timothy for his first pair of glasses at 16. He didn’t know he couldn’t see either…until the lady at the BMV told him he couldn’t get his permit because he couldn’t see. I felt like a terrible mother. How could I not know he couldn’t see. But I smile when I remember his amazement on the ride home from LensCrafters. He was thrilled at the leaves on the trees.

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