When I was in grade school, I took great pride in the fact that I didn’t have to wear glasses. Some other kids wore them, and sometimes they were teased. I felt sorry for them yet was glad I wasn’t one of them.

My grandparents wore glasses, but I figured they wore them because they were old (in their 60s). No other family members wore them.

I was doing just fine until I was a freshman in high school. At that point my vision became blurred, and I had to move closer to the front of each classroom. I realized then that I would join the ranks of the myopics.

I went to Dr. McDonald, an Oak Park ophthalmologist. The first thing he did was to give me the chart test, and I didn’t do well. The next thing he did was put drops in my eyes in order to dilate them so he could get a complete view of my eyes.

When this test was completed, he told my mother that I was myopic and that I would need prescription lenses. He did say, however, that I would need to wear the glasses only when I read. I felt good about that because then I wouldn’t have to wear them continuously during my waking hours.

The trouble with wearing glasses just for reading led to a few problems. I lost one pair and sat on another pair. I had taken off the glasses and put them on the bed. I left the room for a few minutes, and when I returned, I didn’t see the glasses on the bed and I sat on them.

In those days, glasses were truly glass, and when I sat on them, they shattered. I’m lucky a piece of glass didn’t tear through my pants and lodge in my buttocks.

After this happened, I either put the encased glasses in my shirt pocket or in a side pocket of my pants.

Finally, I decided this was not a good plan either because the case would sometimes fall out of my shirt or it would fall out of my pants when I pulled out my wallet. The last straw occurred when the glasses fell out of my shirt pocket during a ball game and I stepped on them.

I was running up a pretty sizable bill at Uhlemann’s Optical in just the brief time I had glasses, so I decided to wear the glasses all of the time.

This plan is the one that worked. I never broke or lost another pair, and gratefully, no one ever called me “specs” or “four-eyes.”

When I started wearing the glasses 16 hours a day, a whole new world opened up for me. I could see clearly what was in front of me, especially the numbers on my combination lock, the faces of people, and especially stairs.

I have been wearing glasses for 61 years, and I go to the eye doctor every year. The styles have changed over the years, from horned rims to thin frames, but the view of the world around me has certainly remained clarified.

John Stanger is a lifelong resident of Oak Park, a 1957 graduate of OPRF High School, married with three grown children and five grandchildren, and a retired English professor  (Elmhurst College). Living two miles from where he grew up, he hasn’t gotten far in 75 years.

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