It was my Second Grade teacher who said those words to me. Her name was Mrs. Miller, and I don’t think she had any idea how significant they would be. Neither did I. The problem was that I couldn’t make out what she was writing on the blackboard from my little desk. I would walk to the front of the room and write down what was on the board and return to that one piece desk and chair combo. So the soon to be Crotchety me was off to the Nurse.
Step two of this adventure was Little Bill sitting in a chair and the Nurse asking me, “what do you see?” Then came “Try Again.” A feeling of complete failure comes over me. I already thought I was stupid because I couldn’t grasp the concept of colors. (Color Blind also) “Let’s move the chair up, and try again.” Not much better. “OK, go back to your class.” That’s it? That is all you are going to say? Am I in trouble? What the heck. (Coming from a Church going family I was too young for the word Hell) I just want to go home. This day was getting worse by the minute.
At last, I am home. Put the day behind me, maybe I will ride my bike, play ball with my friends (before video games and cell phones came to be) get some dinner and watch Walter Cronkite, then listen to my Dad yell about those “hippie war protesters.” Gotta change my clothes first. We did that back then. We wore semi good clothes to school. Not “Sunday go to Meetin” clothes, but still not “play clothes.” I open the door wondering where my ball glove was …….. there she stood. All five feet of my Mom blocking my path. “What is in my hand?” Oh God. The events of the day come rushing back to me. I am in trouble. I can’t see what she is holding but I begin to pray that it wasn’t the wooden spoon. My Mom is a small woman, but she can use a wooden spoon like a battle hardened Marine with an M16. I’m guessing she could hear the fear in my voice as I said, “I don’t know.” Her shocking response to me was quite calm as she said, “No school tomorrow, we are going to the doctor.”
Long story, but within a few weeks I had joined the “Kid Wearing Thick Glasses Club.” The best I could ever see was 20/40 corrected from then on. The good old days. My eyes changed rapidly for a few years, always worse, never better. Later came the Specialists and the tests, and the dyes and the drops and on and on. I will get into that in later posts. We all have events that we remember as life changing. The first of these for me is Mrs. Miller saying “You need to go to the Nurses office.”