The Heirloom

By FrankS

This story ran on Eye Scene in 1999 as a serial.

It was a nice fall day until a knock on the door changed a happy mood into gloom: a dark awareness dreaded by many school children filled the room. Mandy and her class of fourth graders understood this omen of doom. The bad news was confirmed when Mrs. Hand, the school nurse, appeared in the doorway and signaled the teacher.

"Class, line up at the door, please," the teacher said. "Follow Mrs. Hand to her office so she can check your vision."

Then they had to line up, wait their turns, and read the eye chart. Some students were sure to fail and get one of those ~dreaded notes~ to bring home. Next they got glasses. Ugh. ĎJust let it be someone else,í they all thought.

Later in the day Mrs. Hand appeared at the door again.

"Just two this time," she said much too cheerfully, as she gave two notes to the teacher.

"Holly and Mandy," the teacher called out, "these are for you."

Bad enough to get one of these notes, but now the whole class knew.

"Hey four eyes," someone teased. Mandy and Holly didnít really know each other well, up to then, but they sought each other out to commiserate. From that day on they have been close friends, even now as young businesswomen in their early twenties.

Mandy brought the note home to her mother, as instructed.

"Oh oh," her mother said. "Looks like you have a problem, and just nine years old. Weíll have to take care of this."

Mandy wished she would just forget it. A few days later Mandy experienced her first visit to the eye doctor, who gave the depressing news.

"Mandy, youíre somewhat nearsighted. Thatís not unusual, but it wonít go away and itís likely to get worse. You need glasses, and you should wear them all the time and get used to them."

Soon Mandy had to endure the barbs from classmates when she appeared wearing her new glasses. Turned out not to be so bad. The barbs, of course disappeared, and Mandy was really pleased to be able to see so well. Mandy now guesses her lenses were about minus two diopters strong. Holly showed up with glasses too, a little weaker than Mandyís, they decided after comparing.

There were repeat visits to the doctor, of course, and Mandyís glasses got progressively stronger (-3.00, -4.25, -5.25, ). She didnít mind, as she and glasses were quite comfortable together. By eighth grade, she reckons, she was a minus six, on her way to an eventual minus eight. But also in eighth grade, her thoughts started to change: boys! Everyone said boys donít like girls with glasses (not 100-percent true, she would later learn). So Mandy lobbied her parents to get contacts, and she was successful. From the middle of eighth grade, all through high school, and beyond, she hardly ever had glasses on. Her social life seemed to confirm the value of contacts. She seemed to appear at every social occasion, always with a nice date. Of course, a nice personality, a great figure, blue eyes, wavy auburn hair, and a ready smile might have contributed to her popularity.

After high school, Mandy went away to college. It was hard work, but the social life was wonderful. She made many friends. Her contact lenses were important, because everybody knows she wouldnít have all those dates if she were wearing glasses. She didnít miss a dance or big event. In the middle of her second year, though, Mandy often noticed her eyes felt tired and sore. She arranged with her mother to see the eye doctor during Spring break. She was eager and prompt for her appointment Monday morning, but she wasnít delighted with what she heard.

"Mandy, youíve been overworking your eyes, and they are tired. Part of the problem is wearing your contacts so much. You need to cut down, maybe to six hours a day or so. You did nothing wrong or different, itís just that college life and studies and long hours are very hard on the eyes. Another thing: your eyes are very sluggish in accommodating between near and distant focus. For people in many walks of life, thatís no problem. But in the classroom or lecture-hall setting you are constantly refocusing between close and distant objects. Your eyes donít change fast enough, and that, too, makes them tired. I think you would be smart to consider bifocals to help that problem. In any case, you should wear glasses in class, and save your contacts for social times. If you agree to try bifocals, I can probably tweak your distance correction up a bit so youíll really see well."

Mandy was shocked. She saw her contacts as vital to social life. And who wants bifocals! In the end, though, she agreed on glasses, because otherwise she might become unable to use contacts at all. She would restrict contact wearing time, and she would try the bifocals. Actually, she hedged a bit, and she returned after the break equipped with not only the bifocals (-7.5D, +1.25D add, both eyes) but also single-vision glasses for distance and for reading. She began to wear all three: the bifocals (in round gold frames with tortoise-shell enamel) to class, the readers (in brown plastic frames) for homework and the library, the distance glasses (gold, aviator style) for outdoor times and movies. The bifocals worked fine, though, and she gradually went more and more toward using them for all of the non-contacts occasions. The contacts, of course, served for all social times and summers.

Mandyís vision-management arrangement was a success. The eyestrain disappeared, social life was fine, and her grades showed continual improvement. In time she was graduated and ready to join the work force. She landed a job as a management trainee in consumer marketing. She found the visual tasks much easier than in school, and she gradually went back to reliance on her contacts again, nearly full time. After all, contacts are Ďbetterí for an adult social life and for business too. She wore her glasses rarely and only at home.

Mandy found her job exciting and a source of new friends. Soon she was invited to attend a press conference announcing a new product. She had been part of the team that planned the event, and her going was mostly a perk. Her only assignment was to look nice, circulate and greet people. She saw an interesting young man come in and went over to say hello. He was quite good looking, an inch or two taller than she (in her heels), wore a nice business suit and smart looking glasses. She helped him get a name tag: ĎDick Rogers,í and she noticed he was just mildly nearsighted. He saw that she had a name tag too: ĎMandy Roberts.í They talked briefly before the presentation began. He said he was alone and asked Mandy if she would sit with him for the buffet lunch that was to follow. She was happy to agree.

That was how it all started for them. Before the conference broke up, they shared good vibes and had each otherís business cards, home phone numbers, and a dinner date. At work the next day Mandy went to lunch with her usual groupóMyra, Melissa, Margot, and Maureen. They called themselves the ĎM Squad,í while others in the cafeteria thought of them as the ĎMagpies.í

As Mandy sat down, Myra asked "And where were you yesterday? We missed you."

"Oh, I was at the press conference downtown. Remember?"

"How was It?" Margot asked, "Dull business stuff as usual?"

"I hardly paid any attention," Mandy said. "You see, I met a nice guy there and spent most of the time talking to him."

"Oh, now," Myra said, "Thatís interesting."

"Tell us about him," Melissa demanded.

"Well his name is Dick, heís very friendly, heís good looking, heís an editor of a business magazine, heís a bit taller than me. He wears glasses but they look very weak; he must not need them too much. Heís ver-r-ry easy to talk to. And we have a date for dinner tomorrow."

Maureen perked up. "Good work. Sounds like a new romance. We want to hear everything, every day."

Dick and Mandy had their dinner date and many more. They enjoyed each otherís company and found many common interests and no end of reasons to be together. One date a week for a while, then two, and now a few months later itís more like three times a week: happy times. Mandy learned to enjoy fishing, hiking, golf, and tennis, some of Dickís favorite activities. He enjoyed the shows and concerts that Mandy suggested. She would have been even happier but for one thing she noticed about Dick. From time to time, in the middle of conversations, his face seemed to go blank as he looked away and missed what Mandy was saying. What could be wrong? Something neurological? Then one evening they had dinner in a small booth sitting side by side and it happened again. She tried to look in the same direction as Dick. ĎHeís looking at a girl!í she discovered.

Mandy told the Magpies. Of course, they insisted on hearing every detail Mandy would tell them.

Myra said "Thatís trouble. You need to watch out for guys with roving eyes."

Melyssa asked "Well, what did she look like? Was she good looking?"

Mandy thought and answered "She was plain looking; I look better. She was with her family. Nice smile, glasses, straight hair, nice clothes, thin."

"Donít worry, Mandy," Margot responded. "Youíve got her beat. Guys just like to look."

Another day Dick and Mandy met for lunch. In mid conversation, it happened again. Dickís eyes seemed to glaze over and turn to the side. Mandy was able to look and see a young woman with a group apparently doing business work at their table. Dick watched intently for a few moments, then he was back to his attentive self. Mandy reported this to the Magpies the next day.

"What did this one look like?" Melissa asked.

"Oh, she was attractive and dressed well for business: a nice suit, black heels, conservative hair-do, glasses, and a notebook computer."

"It sounds routine to me," Myra commented. "Why look at her?"

"I wish I knew," Mandy said. "I donít know what to make of it."

About a week later, the Magpies asked about a party Mandy had been to and how things were going.

"Actually Iím a bit puzzled."

She answered. "I like Dick an awful lot, I guess you can tell. But it happened again. We were talking and then I noticed him looking off in the other direction and he didnít seem to hear me. I looked around; another woman! This one was quite glamorous: a great figure, big boobs, long hair, nice glasses, a long black skirt with a slit showing great legs and strappy black patent heels, and enjoying a cocktail and conversation."

"Mandy, you know what?" Myra said, "every time you describe someone that Dick is looking at, you say she has glasses on. I wonder if he likes seeing women with glasses, or just their glasses. I never heard of someone with that kind of quirk, though."

"Myraís right," Maureen said. "I can remember you mentioning glasses every time."

"Gee, I donít know," Mandy said, thinking.... "Hey, listen! Just thought of this. We were sitting on my couch the other day, having a nice conversation. The TV was on but we werenít watching. Then suddenly Dick turns and heís all interested in the TV. Some girl was being interviewed. And guess what?"

"She had glasses!" all the Magpies said at once.

"Yes. It all seems to connect. I always figured guys donít like women with glasses, but it seems he does. Still, heís always seen me without glasses, and Iím sure he likes me."

"You have to find out," Margot said, "The question is how."

"I couldnít just ask him, and Iíd feel funny showing up some day with glasses on. What if weíre wrong; wearing glasses could ruin everything for me. I do have glasses though; I donít know whether you know that. I wear contacts just about all the time."

"I didnít know that, Mandy," Margot said. "Donít hold out on us; weíre trying to help you. Bring your glasses here tomorrow so we can see them."

"I have an idea," Melissa said. "What if you bought yourself a pair of those drug-store reading glasses. Then when youíre together could casually pull them out to read something, like a menu. Say your eyes have been tired or something. Be sure to pay attention and watch what he does."

"I like it," Myra said, "Letís smoke him out!"

Mandy thought, then smiled and agreed; "I could do that; I really should carry a pair of readers anyway. Iím due to meet him for dinner today. If he reacts to me putting on a pair of readers, then I ought to know. What next? Who knows. But could he really have some thing for glasses or girls with glasses? Thatís still a new one on me."

After leaving work, Mandy stopped at the nearby drug store, looked around and found a rack of reading glasses. They come in different strengths and styles. She remembered that the Add in her newest bifocals was plus 1.50, so she figured thatís what to look for. She found a nice-looking black metal-rimmed pair with oval lenses that looked all right, so she bought them. She tried reading with them and could see they would actually help her when reading with contacts. She placed the readers in her handbag.

Later she met Dick at their favorite neighborhood restaurant.

"Letís sit in the back," she suggested, where she knew it would be dark.

They talked briefly about their daysí activities, and then the menus were brought to them. She looked briefly, then reached into her bag for the readers.

As she unfolded them and put them on, she said "My eyes felt strained today. I can use some help with the menu in this dim light."

Dick watched in near shock, and almost stammered, "Glasses. I didnít know you had... I didnít know you needed any glasses. Are they just for reading? Look here; let me see what you look like."

"Oh," she said, "Theyíre just cheap readers I found in the drug store. Sometimes when Iím tired they are helpful."

He answered "Well you look terrific with them on."

She thanked him, finished her menu selection, and removed the glasses.

"Oh no, leave them on for a while. Iíd like to look at them a little longer."

ĎBingo!í Mandy thought ĎMyraís right.í She put the glasses back on and left them there for the whole meal. They really werenít bad.

As Dick and Mandy were leaving, Dick said "Mandy, if you ever feel you need those readers, donít hesitate to wear them. It surely wonít bother me."

And they found their cars, kissed, and went home.

Next day at lunch, Mandy sat down and said "Myra, you kicked a sixty-yard field goal! You were dead on. A grand slam. Bullís eye!"

"Enough of the rhetoric," Myra said, "Do you mean he likes glasses?"

"Wow, sure looks that way. He wanted me to leave the readers on all through dinner."

Melissa said: "This is really fun. What are you going to do next, Mandy."

Then Margot remembered something. "Mandy, where are your glasses; we want to see them!"

"I didnít forget, Margot," Mandy said, "here they are. I have three pairs; these are for reading, these are for distance, and these bifocals are for both."

"Oh, theyíre very strong, stronger than mine," Maureen said. "Who would ever think you have such bad vision. And bifocals yet. Put Ďem on!"

"I canít. I have my contacts in."

"Get rid of them," Myra piped in, "I think theyíre going to be history anyway."

Mandy excused herself to the womenís room to remove the contacts, and returned wearing the bifocals.

"You look different," Melissa said, "But they do look nice on you. Youíre still beautiful."

Then Margot reminded "We still have a problem. Mandy has to let Dick know she has glasses, thick glasses. How? Mandy, got any ideas?"

"I donít want to just pop them on him," Mandy said. "Iíd rather there was a way for him to just find me wearing glasses. Like if he strolled into my office and I had them on. But he doesnít come here."

Maureen remembered something. "Mandy, didnít you say he found you in church one Sunday?"

"Yes, I did," Mandy answered. "He found out when and where I go and just appeared, suddenly standing next to me. It was nice."

"Just one time?"

"No, heís done it several times."

"Is there any chance that he might show up there this Sunday?"

"Yes, I guess there is."

And so Myra said "This is good. Mandy, I think youíre wearing glasses to church on Sunday!"

Mandy could see the possibilities. "That sounds good: but which ones? Certainly not reading glasses. Itís either distance glasses or the bifocals."

Myra had an opinion, of course. "Give him the full dose; go with the bifocals!"

Early on Sunday, Mandy was up, showered, dressed, and ready. The polished bifocals were perched on her nose, the contacts swimming in their case. She left, and she found her usual place in the church quite early. Meanwhile, Dick was on the way. He arrived well after she did and walked the aisle toward the usual place. ĎThere she is,í he thought. ĎLooking nice as usual. Whatís that? Looks like glasses. She doesnít wear glasses. They are glasses: thick ones. Theyíre bifocals! Whatís going on?í He moved in beside her. Mandy felt his presence, turned and looked at him through her bifocal reading segments, and smiled. "Hi," she whispered, "Shhh." She put her arm around him to pull him close. Dickís mind had all the consistency of spaghetti. He thought he had died and gone to heaven. They could follow this service with his funeral and he would have died happy.

As the service ended, Mandy got in the first comment. "Iím sorry. I tore a contact lens. I didnít want you to.."

"Hush," he said. "Iím nearly speechless now, but I think we have plenty to talk about. All I know is you look wonderful."

Now Mandy knew for sure. Mission accomplished.

"Letís get to the diner quickly," he said. "We can get some brunch and conversation, and I can look at you."

They left in their two cars and were soon together again at a quiet table.

Dick spoke quietly and seriously. "I donít know where to begin. Weíve known each other for some time now. Itís been the happiest time of my life. I thought I knew everything about you, and now I see thereís still more to learn. I guess youíve been wearing contacts all this time. I canít believe I never picked up on that. And then I see you wearing glasses, strong ones. How strong are they; do you know?"

"Iím pushing minus eight."

"And bifocals; how come you have those?"

"Dick, let me tell you my whole history with glasses. It will be much easier than giving it to you in bits."

And so Mandy told Dick the whole story, back to fourth grade, Mrs. Hand, and her friend Holly. He took in every word.

"Well why did you wear glasses today?" Dick asked.

"Because we finally figured out that you like to look at girls with glasses. I wore them to be convinced that itís true, and if so make sure Iím the one you look at."

"What do you mean by Ďwe?í"

"Oh, I mean my lunch group, the M Squad. They always ask about you and how weíre doing. I told them I was a bit unnerved to see you looking at other women. (You do that, you know.) I sometimes described those women to my friends. One day one of them pointed out that all the women I described were wearing glasses. Although nobody knew of any guy turned on by glasses, we wondered if you are. We were looking for a way to find out, and thatís why I brought out those readers one night. Myra loved that scheme. She said we would smoke you out! And then you wanted me to leave them on; sure looked like I found something. Wearing my real glasses was next. We thought you might come meet me at church. I made up some line about contacts; you cut me off and said I looked wonderful. You were tried and convicted without knowing it. Donít feel bad. Iím not upset or anything, just curious."

"Wow. I guess I shouldnít try denying it; you have too much on me. Iím guilty. Please let me tell you about it before you judge me badly."

"Okay, go on."

"Ever since I was little, Iíve been fascinated by glasses. Why? I donít know. Maybe it was my grandmother. She wore bifocals her whole life. Or maybe it was something else. All I know is that I somehow came to like looking at glasses and the people wearing them, especially women. Through practice I can spot glasses on people, estimate their strength, and catch things like bifocals from an amazing distance. I knew you were wearing bifocals when I was still ten feet away. (sigh)

"I have sometimes wondered about myself. Am I weird? Is this wrong? I decided no, it was just the way I am. I never hurt or embarrassed anyone. I concluded I could just live with it. I usually dated girls with glasses. It seems ironic now. Here I find you, someone I think the world of, and you never wore any. I feel an elation now to know Iím attracted to all of you and not just your glasses, although I admit itís exciting now to be looking at them: strong minus lenses and bifocals. Iíve often been afraid I might fall for some bimbo because of some neat glasses she wore. That could be disastrous. I hope you donít think badly of me.

"Another thing; an interest in glasses is not something I could discuss with people; so itís lonely. This is my first time talking about it. Maybe you would tolerate glasses discussions or hearing my comments when I see some interesting glasses. Maybe even comment yourself."

"Thatís fascinating. I donít think youíre weird. Iím not upset. I probably wonít get into this business as deeply as you, but I do notice some things. Like your glasses; you donít need them very much, do you?"

Dick smiled "No, hardly at all. I just like the feel of having them on and my looks with them. I just like glasses. My catís out of the bag now. Makes me feel strange, relieved, excited, surprised. I need time to absorb it all. Itís also getting late and we should get going. I donít think weíre finished with this subject, but I feel a bit overwhelmed right now. I hope you forget the contacts. If I ever see you with them again it will be much too soon."

Mandy said "I donít know about never using them, but Iíll surely wear my glasses with you. Which will be Tuesday, right?" So Dick and Mandy left, to ponder the sudden development in their relationship.

Mandy wore her contacts to work the next day and met with the Magpies as usual.

"Weíre waiting, and anxious," Melyssa announced, much too loud, "Did he like your glasses?"

"Please, I donít want to tell the whole room. But yes, he loved them. When he said I looked wonderful, I knew for sure that heís into glasses."

"Tell us what happened."

"Sure. He arrived and saw me. He knew I had bifocals on way before he entered the pew, he told me later. He had a strange look on his face, a mixture of wonder, admiration, glee, surprise, maybe delight. He looked like he would talk out loud, so I hushed him and smiled. He didnít say anything until the service was over, but he looked a lot. After, he wanted to go get food so we could talk, and we did, for quite some time. He wondered why the glasses today, and I told him of our detective work. He said ĎGuilty. I do look at glasses, for a long time and I donít know why.í It all seems innocent. I donít think he wants more than to look. He wants to see me only in glasses from now on. No surprise there. I expect to continue wearing contacts, probably just at work, but glasses with him."

Mandy met Dick for some food and a movie a couple days later. He was cheerful, said she looked great (in glasses), and had more questions, such as:

"What was it like to get bifocals?"

"Oh, it turned out to be no big deal," she said, "although I was scared. I just wore them and they worked fine. My reading addition was just one and a quarter, so I could see most things with the tops or bottoms of my glasses. They became quite comfortable, and my eyes felt good. The worst part was my fear that everyone was looking at them. But based on the number of comments I got, I donít think anyone cared, or even noticed. So many wear glasses in college though, I was right in step."

And Mandy patiently answered his other glasses questions too.

Then Mandy said "Iíd like to tell you a story. It happened in college, but I just came to understand it today. I was studying in the library for a final exam one day and met a nice guy from my class. I was wearing my bifocals. We spent most of the day studying together, including a break for lunch. He was exuberant. Before we left, he asked me to a movie after the exam, and I said yes. Well it was a date, right? So I wore my contacts. When he arrived and we greeted each other, he somehow looked deflated. We went to the movie and had just an okay time. Then I never heard from him again. I wondered why. What I just figured out today was that he must have liked me wearing glasses, maybe the bifocals, and that wearing contacts disappointed him. He must have been a guy like you who liked glasses on girls, so youíre probably not the only one. Now I have a question for you: If you were that guy, would you have dropped me?"

"Sorry to say," he answered, "I might have. It would have been best to tell you right out that I really preferred seeing you in glasses. You might have obliged. I was shy, though. And I probably wouldnít have asked; Iíd have just given up. Iím so glad it was the other way for me and you: first the contacts, then the glasses."

Over the next few weeks, the topic of glasses receded from their conversation. Then Mandy and Dick were relaxing and chatting one night when Dick asked Mandy how old her glasses were.

"Why," she asked, "and do you mean the frames or the lenses?"

"Oh, they seem a bit old or out of style," he answered, "and I mean frames and lenses. I was wondering if you had plans for new ones."

"You mean theyíre not perfect any more?" she teased. "Anyhow, the frames are the ones I got in college, a little over four years ago. The lenses are just two years old, when I had my last exam. He pushed me up to minus 7.75 then, and my Add to plus 1.5, for both of my eyes."

"I was just wondering if youíre due for new ones."

"You know, Iíve been thinking about that. Iím overdue for an exam; if I think of it, Iíll call for an appointment. I wouldnít mind new frames too. But I didnít think I looked out of style."

"Sorry, I didnít really mean that. Iíd just like to hear about you going for new glasses."

"I understand," she said, "I know your kind! (grin) Iíll let you know."

The next day Dick listened to his voice mail, "I have a date for an eye exam this Thursday at four. They said you can come in with me. If you can make it, be there."

On Thursday, Mandy left work a little early and reached her doctorís office about 3:50. Dick was sitting there.

"Hi," she greeted, "I knew you wouldnít miss this. Actually, thanks for coming."

Soon she heard "Mandy, come on in."

"Okay. Dickís coming with me; is that all right?"

"Sure."

After the preliminary pressure and lens measurements, Mandy was seated in the examination chair, and Dick in a chair on the side. He was delighted: What luck! He wouldnít miss this for the world. The experience was brand new, as his own quickie examination, from a mall doc who hardly spoke, was all he had ever seen. The doctor entered and greeted Mandy.

"How are you doing?"

"Iím doing fine Dr. Martin. This is my friend Dick."

"Hello, Dick," and they shook hands.

"Mandy," Dr. Martin said, "is this a routine visit? Why are you here?"

"Well, I was thinking of getting new glasses, then I realized Iím overdue on seeing you."

"Good. Any problems? Are you using contacts or glasses these days?"

"No problems. I was mostly using contacts since I left school. But Iím wearing my glasses a lot now."

Dick and Mandy made eye contact and smiled.

Dr. Martin looked into Mandyís eyes and said they look fine. Then he placed the trial frame on her and checked her refraction.

"Well, Mandy, The bad news is youíve reached the big eight-oh. Thatís a pretty strong correction. The good news is your eyes are otherwise fine, still very little astigmatism, youíre reading the 20/20 line easily, and you are probably stable now. Next let me check your near vision. How are you with the bifocals? Do you want to continue?"

"Theyíre fine," she said, "but Iíd give them up if it made sense. I was looking for your recommendation."

So he tried a series of reading lenses in the trial frame while asking Mandy to read from a card and some magazines. He then said "Youíre reading now with what would be a plus 2 Add. See if it seems comfortable. I think it is probably what you should have, even though itís more than I expected."

"It feels fine, I can hold the magazine comfortably and read easily," Mandy said. "Letís go with it."

Dick absorbed every word, so well that he could relive it mentally in detail (and did so later, many times). He was delighted to hear all those words used in a vision context: glaucoma, eye pressure, refraction, myopia, accommodation, bifocals, add, cylinder, axis, sphere, convergence, dilation, astigmatism, and so on. And the loot Mandy took home blew his mind. There was a new prescription for the bifocals, -8D, both eyes, +2D reading addition, two new pairs of contacts to try, one a full distance correction, the other at reading strength, a prescription for reading glasses to go over the distance contacts, could be made as bifocals, and another for driving glasses to go over the reading contacts, also possible as bifocals. The doctor explained that Mandy could try these out and get just the ones that work well, or she could continue to use the current contacts. Dick wondered how you could possibly keep this all straight, but his curiosity still was active.

"When will you go pick out frames?" he asked. "How about now; will you take me?"

Mandyís eyes were still dilated, so they went together in Dickís car. They could go back for Mandyís car later. Mandyís long-time optician is a local operation, run by Peter and Joan, a husband and wife team. Joan was there and available to help Mandy. She tried on many frames. Dick, of course, was excited but really wasnít much help. He thought every pair looked great and couldnít narrow it below a dozen favorites. Joan, though, helped Mandy a lot, and she finally settled on a pair with a smooth shiny gold rims in a wide oval shape and shiny temples. Joan kept Mandy away from Ďpicture-windowí size frames, but kept her looking for eye sizes large enough for the bifocals.

Joan looked at Mandyís new script.

"Oh, Mandy," she said, "Iíd better warn you. With this script the lab will probably want to supply lenses with flat front surfaces. I could intervene and specify some curvature if you want. In time, though, youíll be getting more glasses and the question will surely come up again. I think it would be better to make the change now and be done with it."

Mandy agreed to go with the flat lenses, asked to have the lens edges polished, and the order was written up. The glasses would be ready in a few days.

They went to an informal dinner. While dining, Dick asked about Mandyís bifocals.

"It sounded to me that you would like to do without the bifocals but that now youíre hooked and need them. Are they a problem for you?"

"Oh, theyíre no problem. Iím used to them and theyíre comfortable. But sure, if I didnít really need them Iíd happily do without them. I got the same message you did; I need bifocals and better expect to wear them for good."

"Well, I like looking at you wearing bifocals. It sort of makes you look a little, uh, exotic. I sure wouldnít want you to wear them just for my sake though. Your needs are what counts. But do you know what I do like?"

"I canít guess, tell me."

"I like it when weíre sitting close together, and you lift your head a bit to look at me through the reading segments."

"You do, do you. You mean like this?"

"Ummm, yes, like th.....!!!"

 

The next day Mandy reported to the Magpies.

"I went to the eye doctor yesterday and got a new prescription. Dick was with me."

"You mean in the examination room?" Maureen asked, "He would find that interesting."

"Yes, he sat through the whole exam and loved it. He should consider being a court reporter; he can recall every word that was spoken. And he was overwhelmed by hearing all the eye-related words used in context."

"At least heís consistent," Margot commented. "Most people are turned off by those experiences. So Mandy, are you getting new glasses now?"

"Oh yes, we went and ordered them after the exam. They will be just a bit stronger, and I need to stay with bifocals."

Myra asked if Dick was involved in picking the glasses.

"Oh, sure," Mandy said. "Heís wonderful for my ego and encouragement but almost useless for making a selection. He liked every pair of frames I tried on. Fortunately the optician helped me pick some nice shiny gold ones. In a few days, after I get them, Iíll wear them for you."

Dick wanted to be there to pick up the new glasses, naturally. So when Mandy got the call that they were ready, she called him and left a message. It took just a few minutes for him to call back.

"I just checked my messages and heard yours. Can you wait for me? Iíll come right over and drive you."

"Sure, I can wait a few minutes. Iím not quite as anxious as you are. Iíll look for you. Bye."

He was there in almost no time. Joan brought the glasses out and showed them to Mandy.

"I think they look nice," Joan commented, "now you can see what the flat-front lenses look like."

Then she tried them on Mandy.

After making a few adjustments, she said "Look around; how do you see?"

Then "Here, read this chart."

"Well, they work fine," Mandy said, "I can see perfectly; if thereís any extra distortion, I havenít noticed. And theyíre comfortable."

She looked in the mirror and smiled, then took the glasses off for a close look.

"These look nice; you did a great job. The flat fronts do look different, but theyíre fine. Iím wearing them."

And thatís all there was to it.

Dick commented later, "Boy that went fast. Mandy, they look nice on you, and I like the way light reflects off the lenses. And Iím glad you picked those frames. They were my favorite."

"I know they were," Mandy said. "Letís go pick some favorite food at the super market. Iíll fix you dinner."

"Great," he answered, "Iíll get some wine."

 

Mandy wore her new glasses to work the next day instead of contacts so she could show them at lunch. They all agreed they looked nice on her. They loved hearing about Dickís interest and reaction too. As they began to leave after lunch, Maureen asked Mandy to stay for a moment.

"I have a question Iíd like to ask you," she said, "about bifocals. I see you wearing yours, you act very natural, and youíre just my age. How come you have them."

"Oh, I got them first while I was in college. My eyes were tired and sore, and the doctor thought bifocals would help an accommodation weakness. They helped a lot. They have been comfortable and convenientópretty much a non issue. Why?"

"Well my doctor mentioned bifocals to me the last couple of times. I quickly refused, because I thought only older folks get them. Now Iím confused."

"Maureen, itís true that almost anyone near or past forty needs some kind of reading help like this. But itís not just them; there are people of any age who can benefit from bifocals. Maybe youíre one of them. But donít worry. Bifocals donít cause wrinkles. Bifocals couldnít make you look old; youíre only 24 and you donít even look that old. The only thing that counts is what gives you the best vision possible."

"So do you think I should get bifocals, Mandy?"

"Maureen, Iím not qualified to answer that. I could give you a way to work through it though. Want my ideas?"

"Sure, Mandy, Iíd appreciate it."

"Okay. First, if he doesnít mention it again, Iíd drop it, unless you have had some trouble reading; then report it. If he does mention bifocals again, talk it out. Ask why. Make him demonstrate the benefit to you by looking through different lenses. If you like what you see, go for the bifocals, or you can say no. You can also hedge by letting him write a prescription for bifocals and getting just distance glasses. Try the bifocals later, only when you feel like it."

"Thanks, Mandy. That helps. Weíd better get going."

"Yes. Good luck, Maureen. Donít make this a big deal. Some people turn themselves inside out on bifocals, but it isnít necessary. See you later."

Mandy wore the glasses most of the time, and always when with Dick. Glasses seemed to disappear as a conversation issue over the next weeks, as they spent lots of time talking of values and goals. They also spent lots of time doing things they like, attending sports events, concerts and shows, sunbathing at the beach, hiking in the woods, going for drives, and more, enjoying each other at every turn. One day they stopped at McDonaldís for some burgers after a few hoursí hiking. Suddenly Dick turned serious.

"Mandy, by my calculation it will soon be a year that weíve known each other. Iíd like to celebrate, and I thought of dressing up and going for dinner to ĎLe Grande Chateauí with some toasts, some wine, some laughs, and elegant food. We can talk about all that weíve done together. What do you think?"

"I think thatís a great idea. Weíve had enough of this fast food for a while. When? Next Saturday maybe?"

"Sounds good to me. Iíll make a reservation."

 

The Magpies were always interested in the activities and antics, and romance of Mandy and Dick (especially romance). They generally heard a lot of what happened, although Mandy was surely selective in what she related to them. The coming dinner date at ĎLe Grande Chateauí naturally intrigued them. What could they make of this event?

"Mandy, thatís a very romantic place," Myra told her. "Whatís he got planned? Is he gonna pop the question?"

"I donít know. Iím just looking for a nice evening."

"Iíll bring you a directory of places that do wedding receptions," offered Margot.

"Oh come on," Mandy groaned, "give me a break! Just be happy for me that this is going on. I donít know what to expect. Iíll tell you about it when I can."

Saturday came, and Mandy went out to get her hair done and a manicure (just in case??). Then she got ready. Later, Dick picked her up, and they left for ĎLe Grande Chateau.í They really looked good together. Mandy wore a red dress, black patent heels, a gold necklace and matching earrings, and glasses. Dick wore a blue blazer, dark gray pants, cordovan shoes, a smart red tie, and glasses. Dick had made a reservation, so they got a choice table in the back, within hearing distance of the string trio making music. They ordered cocktails, and then studied the menu. When the drinks arrived, they gave their meal orders to the waiter, and Dick asked for the wine list. Dick raised his glass, and toasted "To us." Mandy smiled and clinked Dickís glass, "To us!".

Soon Dick cleared his throat: "ahem". "Mandy," he said, "I brought something tonight I think might interest you. I hope youíll try it on, and if it fits perhaps youíll consider wearing it."

ĎOh-oh,í Mandy thought, Ďwhatís coming. Heaven help me.í Dick reached into his pocket and started to pull out a black box. Mandy spied it and thought ĎItís a ring. No itís not a ring: too big. Iíd rather pick out my ring anyhow. And Iím not sure Iím ready yet. Itís - - itís an eyeglass case! Looks old.í

"Whatís that," she asked.

Dick opened the case and removed its contents: a pair of womanís rimless glasses: Shiny gold cable wire temples and bridge, and gold wire behind the top of the lenses, which were held on with screws passing through drilled holes. The lenses appeared to be bifocals.

Dick held up the glasses proudly. "These are almost fifty years old, but theyíre practically brand new. They were my grandmotherís and worn only for a few months. Arenít they nice? Wanna try them on?"

Mandy, caught off guard didnít know how to react.

"Whoa," she said, "Why?"

Dick just went on "See, theyíre glass lenses, the front is smooth and you canít feel the bifocal segment. They ..."

"Dick," Mandy said, "Slow down. I donít understand. Whatís going on? There must be more to this story. And how come you have these old glasses?"

"Oh, okay. Iím sorry I got carried away," he said, calming down. "I guess I need to tell you about Grandma. They found out she was nearsighted when about nine years old. So she got glasses, about two diopters, I guess. And since the doctor, the only one in their small town, believed in giving bifocals to myopic children, her first glasses were bifocals. Within four years or so, her three younger sisters also got bifocals. So she had bifocals all her life, except around the time she graduated from high school. She did without them for the senior prom and graduation but soon realized she was so used to bifocals that she needed them."

"Grandma was a very stylish and social-minded young lady and in 1949 went to work for a bank after high school. She loved the look of rimless glasses and always wanted a pair for herself. After saving up to buy some, she finally got this pair, but it was just as they went out of style. She soon noticed everyone was getting the new plastic frames, available in different colors, and the rimless styles just disappeared. She loved these glasses, she told me, but she needed to be in style. So after wearing them just two or three months, she was into a plastic horn-rimmed pair."

"Thatís interesting," Mandy said, "but whatís that got to do with you, and me. Why do you have them?"

"Sure, thatís the next part," Dick went on. "When I was a little boy, we often visited at grandmaís house. When I was about six, I was snooping around and found these glasses in a drawer. They fascinated me. Soon every time I was there Iíd go dig out the glasses. I always thought I was alone, but Grandma knew, somehow. Often Iíd try them on. That went on for years. One day, I guess I was about fifteen, I opened the drawer and there was an envelope with my name on it. Inside was this note from Grandma."

Dick pulled the note from the case and showed it to Mandy to read: "Richard, I know how you like these glasses. If you want to have them, youíre welcome to take them home. I donít need them any more. Love, Grandma."

"I was thrilled," he said. "Since then, they have been in my drawer, mostly forgotten. Sometimes Iíd wonder what I might do with them but never had any good idea. We lost Grandma a couple of years later, and these glasses are the main memento I have of her."

"A few weeks ago, after I found out about your glasses, I began to wonder about maybe you wearing them. I finally decided to ask you. I took them all apart last night to polish them up so they would look nice for you. So thatís the deal. Sorry for ranting on like that."

There was silence for a few moments. Then Mandy picked up the glasses and looked at them closely. She noticed a nice feminine shape to the lenses, ovals with some upsweep toward the outsides. She took off her own glasses and tried them on. Getting the temples around her ears was a little tricky. But they seemed to fit well. She could feel the wires around her ears but they didnít pull hard.

Then the waiter came with their dinner. Mandy switched back to her own glasses and laid grandmaís on the table. Dinner was excellent, as was Dickís wine choice. They talked of many things, enjoying each otherís company as usual. But there was no more talk about glasses. When finished, they ordered coffee, and Mandy excused herself to use the rest room. As she left, Dick noticed Grandmaís glasses in her hand. Ten minutes later, she returned. He looked up to greet her.

She was wearing the glasses, walked to his side of the table, gave him a hug and a kiss on his forehead and said "I would be happy and honored to try grandmaís glasses, at least once, enough that you can get a good look at me."

She sat down and fixed her coffee. "Of course, theyíre not nearly strong enough; I need lenses in my prescription. They looked okay in the mirror, though, and so Iíll give them a try."

She took them off, put them in the case, and slipped the case into her handbag.

 

On Monday Mandy joined the Magpies for lunch.

"I donít see any ring", Myra said. "Are you engaged?"

"Oh, címon," And Melissa pleaded for news, "What went on at dinner? What was the special event?"

Mandy chuckled, "Youíre not going to believe this. Dick has a pair of glasses that were his grandmotherís. He hopes I might try wearing them.. I can show you."

She pulled them out and placed them on the table.

"Now Iíve heard everything," Myra chirped, "Heirloom glasses! Iíve heard of engagement rings, even engagement pins or necklaces. But I never heard of engagement glasses. Are you going to try them on?"

Mandy put them on.

"Iím not engaged. They feel okay. Of course I need my lenses. How do they look?"

"They look nice." Maureen answered. "And you know, rimless styles are popular now. May I try them?"

"Sure." Maureen put them on. "They feel nice. I can even see with them. How do I look with rimless bifocals?"

Mandy liked the look and told Maureen so. And she added "I donít know whatís next, but Iíll let you know."

 

She stopped at her opticianís shop after work. Peter and Joan were both available to look and listen as Mandy showed them the glasses and told the story.

"I came by myself, this time, without Dick. I donít need his cheer-leading self this time. I hope you can help me be objective on the good senseóif there is anyóof getting my lenses put in and wearing these glasses."

Peter looked them over, then put them on Mandyís face.

"They seem to fit well; thatís no problem," he said, "And the frame is in perfect condition. They donít make íem like this any more. I would love working with them."

"I like the shape of the lenses," Joan added. "I think they look good on you. You could choose another shape if you want, but Iíd stick with this one. Makes them look unique. Itís good you got the flat lenses last time, because you surely should have them now. Your lenses will look thick, though; you should figure on high-index lenses."

"I agree," Peter said, "But I would polish the edges, and maybe round them off a bit. I think theyíll look fine. You might even want to wear them more than once," he added, winking at Mandy and grinning.

Encouraged, she ordered the lenses, which would take a few days to install.

"Weíll call you," Joan promised.

"Thanks for everything," Mandy said and smiled as she left.

In a few days Mandy returned home from work to find a message on the answering machine "Your glasses are ready. We think youíll like them. Come on in." She started to feel a little excitement, and she hurried to change from contacts to glasses, then left for the opticianís. Peter and Joan were both there. Mandy sat down opposite Joan. Peter brought the glasses out and showed them to Mandy.

"What do you think?" he asked.

"Well, the lenses look nice and bright and donít seem too thick, and the bifocals arenít too prominent," she said. "You did a nice job. Let me try them on."

Joan fitted the temples around Mandyís ears and set them in place. Mandy could see well; no surprise there. She looked in the mirror.

"Gee they look pretty nice on me. They feel comfortable; Ďtho itís a little funny to feel the wires around my ears. So far so good. I think Iíll leave them on."

With her other glasses now in a case, she thanked Peter and Joan, paid for the lenses, and left.

Mandy drove to the nearby shopping mall. She wanted to get a feel for the new glasses and see if anyone showed any reaction. She wandered around the mall for about an hour, looking in windows and visiting some stores. She picked out a book in the book store and brought it to the clerk: a young woman with glasses.

As Mandy paid for the book, the clerk said "Iíd love to have a pair of glasses like yours. I would even buy them from you if you were willing."

"Iím glad you like them. How do you think they look on me? Itís my first time with them on."

"Oh, they look great. They go well with your smile."

"Thank you so much. You donít know how much that means to me."

Mandy then went to the food court, bought a hamburger and a lemonade and sat down. There were no real reactions from anyone, although she thought some guys got some good looks at her. Being attractive, Mandy was used to guys looking her over, and she felt the looks were pretty much routine. So she and the glasses apparently didnít look strange or bad. She thought about her next move; tomorrow she was going to the movies with Dick. And she came up with a plan.

 

First, though, was lunch with the Magpies. Mandy was wearing contacts, but she brought the glasses to show. They agreed with Mandy that they turned out nice.

"I wore them last evening and they feel very comfortable. I was all by myself, because I didnít want Dick excited and telling me theyíre beautiful. So he doesnít know I ordered lenses. Weíre going to the movies tonight. I plan to wear my other glasses, then switch during the movie. I want to see his surprise and reaction when the lights come on."

"Oh Mandy, heíll have a heart attack," laughed Melissa.

"Look," Mandy answered, "If heís getting so much fun out of his thing, or fetish, or whatever, I might as well have some fun too. Iíll tell you about it tomorrow."

After work Mandy changed from contacts to glasses. She also practiced changing between glasses a few times. Dick came, and they went for a quick meal, then on to the movies. Dick likes action, adventure movies, and they found one with Harrison Ford on the list of those playing. Mandy thought it a good selection because Dick would get all involved and hopefully miss the glasses switch. When Dick was deep into the story, she did it. It was a bit tricky, because she needs two hands to get the cable-wire temples in place. But Dick never noticed, and then she sat back to enjoy the movie. When the movie was over, Dick told how it was really good.

The lights came up: "How did you like it Man---. Mandy! You have them on. I didnít know you gotÖ Why didnít you tell me? Gee, they look great."

"Dick, I think they look good too, and theyíre comfortable. Iíll probably keep wearing them. But I see how you get a lot of fun from your glasses thing, and I thought I just might get some fun from it too. Thatís why I surprised you."

"You didnít tell me you went to get new lenses."

"I know, I wanted to be objective, without being swayed by your certain exuberance. I was very skeptical, you know."

"Yeah, I can understand. Did you say youíre going to wear them?"

"Yes. Is that all right?"

"Oh, Mandy, I."

So from then on, Mandy wore her rimless glasses all the time except at work. Now she and Dick could concentrate on romance. They had already built a strong relationship based on mutual admiration, feelings and attitudes in common, and love. The business with glasses applied an extra dimension that cemented their futures together. A few weeks later, Dick gave Mandy a diamond engagement ring, one that she picked out, and they were officially engaged. They both agreed, though, that Grandmaís glassesótheir unveiling and later eventsówere a key to binding them together. Next, wedding plans!

The Magpies were all interested in the news and gushed over Mandyís ring.

"Itís beautiful," they all said. T

hey also asked if a wedding date was set, plans made, and so on. Mandy told them all she knew so far.

"We need at least six monthsí lead time; we have no date yet, but we hope it will be in six to eight months. My mother wants to help in decisions. My sister Julie is excited and wants to help too; sheíll be my Maid of Honor. Dick and I have both met each otherís parents, and that has gone well. This Friday we have a dinner party with all parents together. Then weíre going to a gathering of all Dickís relatives, and another one is planned with mine. Thereís lots to do. We need a date, coordinate with my church and some reception hall, and plan many other things. Itís overwhelming."

"Mandy," Margot said, "I still have that planning guide I told you about. Iíll drop it on your desk for you. Maybe it will help."

Dinner with all the parents went well. They got along like one happy family. Mandy enjoyed meeting Dickís family, spending time talking to Kerry, his sister. Kerry is an engineer, living and working about a hundred miles away. She agreed to be a bridesmaid. Julie, the maid of honor, organized the party for Mandyís family. They all loved Dick, and he had a good time visiting with them. He was amused with a pleasant nine-year old cousin named Meg who was playing waitress, serving hors de oeuvres at the party. Meg brought Dick over to her mother Mary to make sure they met each other. All these get-togethers were fun and friendly. So far, so good.

By the end of the round of parties, just about all in the families knew the story of Mandyís glasses and looked at it with amusement and wonder. Wonder at Dick for his attachment to the glasses and offering them to Mandy, and at Mandy for going along with the idea of wearing them. But no one thought they detracted from Mandyís looks; rather, they felt the glasses looked nice on her. The general attitude seemed to be: If thatís what they want, fine: to each his and her own.

Julie went with Mandy touring likely reception halls and found one they liked best. Then Dick and Mandy went to make arrangements at her church and to confirm a reservation at the reception hall. Fortunately the church and hall were available on the same day. So now they had a date, a little more than six months in the future, a church, and a reception hall. The hall manager invited them to stay for lunch. They used the opportunity to talk about plans.

"We took some big steps today," Mandy said. "Thatís exciting, but we have much more to work out."

Dick agreed; "I feel like weíre really on the way now. What do we need to settle next?"

"I think we need to decide who we want to be in our wedding party and invite them," Mandy answered. "I need to ask bridesmaids and you ask a similar number of groomsmen."

"How many?" he asked. "Iím thinking of four, plus Julie, my maid of honor. I already asked Kerry and then thereís Holly, my long-time friend, Carolyn, my college roommate, and Maureen, one of the magpies. Howís that sound?"

"I guess that sounds fine. Iíd like a chance to meet them."

"Sure, we can work on that. Iíll have to contact them all; I hope they can do it.

"Next I have to decide whether to wear glasses or contacts."

"M M Mandy, I thought you knew that answer already. I assumed you would wear glasses."

"Donít you know when Iím teasing you? Sure Iíll wear glasses. I stuck that in just to see if you were listening."

"Of course I was listening. Hey, talking of glasses, do your bridesmaid friends wear glasses?"

"Hmm. Mostly, yes. Hereís what I know. Julie wears her glasses most of the time; theyíre not nearly as strong as mine. Maureen is nearsighted, less than me, and wears glasses to work; I donít know about other times. Carolyn must be farsighted. She wears plus lenses that look pretty strong to me. Holly has the strongest glasses Iíve seen. When we got them at the same time in fourth grade, mine were just a bit stronger than hers. But she quickly passed me and her glasses got very strong very fast. I think sheís about minus 14 now. She was talking about maybe getting some special lenses that are real thin and light but with little peripheral vision. She also has contacts. In fact, they might all have contacts. And Kerry has no glasses, right?"

"Yes, she never needed any. Uh, just a minute. Do you think any of the girls would wear glasses in a wedding?"

"Oh, I donít know. I think most girls would try to avoid them and wear contacts, or nothing if they could manage. I donít think they would expect to wear glasses."

"What if we invited them to, or asked them to wear glasses."

"I donít think it would work. On the other hand, what if we made glasses part of their outfits, and they could all get matching frames. I would even buy them. They might go for that."

Dick found his mouth watering a bit.

"What a great idea. I know itís crazy, but I bet no one else ever did it. But what about Kerry?"

"First, letís just put this goofy idea to the side for a while before we do anything. But if we do, I would have to get Kerry to agree to wear the glasses too. Frames come with plain lenses in them. Maybe sheíd do it."

"You donít know Kerry too well yet," he said. "Sometimes sheís a little bit wild, drives a pick-up. Sheíll probably object, but if she senses that weíre serious, I think she would join in."

"Dick, I think weíre finished with lunch. Letís put that last idea aside for a while. Who would ever think we would be talking about such a thing?"

Mandy contacted Carolyn and Holly by phone, and she talked with Maureen after lunch. All three felt pleased and honored to be invited, and all should be able to come. Mandy told them all that she wanted to schedule a date to look for outfits together. Soon Mandy reported good news to Dick on the phone.

"I talked to all the girls and they are able and anxious to be in our wedding. Iím very pleased. We agreed that we would all get together to select their outfits."

"Oh, thatís great," Dick answered. "Just thinking, if theyíre together, could they try on eyeglass frames the same day?"

"Youíre still thinking about that, huh? I guessed you would be. Do you think we could pull that off? And is it right to try?"

"Mandy, you know me. Iíd love to see them all wearing glasses. And it would be a unique plus if they all matched. But itís also our wedding. I wouldnít want to push you to do something crazy or improper."

"Yes, I know. I worry about making it a circus. But still, I like the Idea. I think it might be okay if we keep everything else proper and refined, and if we make no big deal about the glasses. Iíd like to try."

"Okay. I guess youíll have to tackle Kerry first. If she agrees to wear glasses she doesnít need, that will be a big start. Let her know weíre serious."

That evening Mandy made the call.

"Kerry, I called to let you know how our plans are coming along, but especially to ask you consider doing us a big favor." "Okay, tell me about the favor and Iíll tell you what I can do."

"Well Dick and I agreed to wear our glasses for the wedding, and then we wondered about bridesmaids wearing their glasses too. The others (all but you) have glasses, and we have the ideaóI know it sounds crazyóto have the bridesmaids all wear matching glasses as part of their outfits, sort of like matching jewelry. But to pull it off we would need you to wear glasses too, with window-glass lenses, I guess. The favor I ask is would you be willing to do that?"

"Mandy, thatís nuts. Girls everywhere trying to avoid glasses, but you and my brother want glasses in your wedding. Must be my brother dreamed up that caper. He really needs help. I donít know; I have to think about this.. Umm. Could I help pick out the glasses?"

"Sure."

"Will the other girls do it?"

"I donít know, but I hope so. I had to ask you first; I canít try unless you agree."

"Youíre serious, arenít you."

"Yes."

"Okay, listen. If the others all go for this, Iíll really try. And so I want to be there to help select these eh .wedding glasses. What party favors!!"

"Thanks, Kerry. Iíll take it from there. We hope to get together for lunch and dress selection soon. Iíll let you know whatís coming."

Mandy hung up, then pushed 1 on her speed dialer.

She heard "Hello."

"Dick, Kerry agreed to try. Now I have to ask the others."

"Great...."

Next she called the other bridesmaids to ask them about wearing matching glasses.

Their reactions were consistent: like "You want us to do what!? Thatís crazy! Nobody wears glasses in weddings. Youíre cracking up! Et cetera!"

But Mandy explained that she would really like to try.

"It seemed a unique idea. The glasses would just be an accessory, like jewelry. She would help pay for them. The girls could all select the frames together. Please consider it. Et cetera."

In the end, each one said she would do it if everyone else did. Mandy called Dick with this news.

"Mandy, thatís a great start. Sounds like nobody said no, but nobody said yes either. You need to push them. Find a way to make a decision easy. Because if it becomes a hassle they might rather say no."

"Yes, I see what you mean. Iíll work on it."

 

Soon the date for the bridesmaidsí get-together was near. They would meet for lunch, then go to look for dresses. And now they could select glasses too. Mandy prepared by looking around the stores with Julie. They liked the look of royal blue with silver jewelry. She also stopped at Peter and Joanís shop to discuss glasses. They let Mandy borrow a selection of silver frames for the girls to see. The day came, and everyone was there. They began with a lot of animated get-acquainted conversation while sharing appetizers.

Then Mandy opened her box of glasses.

"Here, I brought some glasses for you to try on. Maybe youíll like something."

So the girls could see Mandy was serious.

"I still canít believe us wearing matching glasses," Maureen commented.

"I guess it might be a worldís first," Mandy said. "But if you donít want to do this, we donít have to. Iíd like to try, though."

"Pass them over," Kerry asked. "I never wore any of these things; youíll have to help me."

Kerry then tried on the various glasses as everyone commented. And soon everyone was passing them around, trying them all. Someone brought out a mirror.

Kerry looked at herself with different glasses, then announced: "This idea still sounds wild to me, but if we are going to do it, count me in. And I like these frames the best."

She meant the pair she was wearing, with smooth shiny silver rims and temples and a nice wide oval shape. The girls then passed that pair around and each one tried it on for the others. And they agreed they could settle on Kerryís choice. The girls would get their glasses done at Peter and Joanís or else take the frameís catalog number to their own opticians. Mandy was thrilled that they could make a selection and couldnít wait to tell Dick.

Next, though, they went looking for dresses and decided on a nice royal blue velvet number with long sleeves. A nice simple style, the dress could easily be worn for future events. They also found nice coordinated silver necklaces and earrings. They would wear their own black heels. So the day was a success, with dresses ordered and glasses selected. The next time they would be together would be the rehearsal. They all agreed to wear their new glasses then.

"Theyíre gonna do it!" Mandy soon reported to Dickís voice mail. "I hope it works."

Later, Mandy received a call from Julie.

"I just heard something that might interest you. I talked to cousin Mary, and she says that young Meg just flunked the vision test at school. She needs an eye exam and maybe glasses. Meg is bummed out."

Mandy answered, "I know the feeling. Maybe I can offer her some support."

She called Dick to tell him of the dayís success. He was delighted.

She also told him about Meg and asked "What would you think of inviting her to be in our wedding party, now that sheíll probably have glasses."

"I like the idea," he answered. "I would enjoy having her."

Mandy called Mary about Megís vision news.

"I know how it feels; thatís just how it happened to me in fourth grade. Do you think she really needs glasses?"

"Oh, yes. Megís quite unhappy," Mary said. "Weíre just home from the doctor. Sheís nearsighted and needs glasses; all the time, he says. And the eye drops still bother her. I think sheís fallen asleep. Glasses for Meg: Too bad, and sheís so young." Mandy said sheíd like to cheer up Meg, and she told Mary about her bridesmaidsí glasses ("Are you for real!?").

"So hereís a proposal. If Meg would be willing to wear glasses to match the othersí, she could be a junior bridesmaid. They have small-size dresses that match the ones we chose. What do you think?"

"Hmm. Wearing glasses like the big girls might cheer her up. But maybe you should ask her."

"Sure. Could I come over now? Iíll see if Dick can come too."

Mary said that would be fine.

"Meg, come on down. You have company!"

Mary called, guessing Meg would take a few minutes. Soon she appeared, bleary eyed.

"Oh hi. I canít see too good with these dumb drops in my eyes."

Mandy and Dick said hi.

"We heard about your eye problem. What happened?"

"Oh itís that dumb Mrs Foote. I wish sheíd mind her own business."

"Whoís she?"

"The school nurse. It was such a nice day and she ruined it. ĎIím going to check your vision,í she said. It got all gloomy fast, and I knew I was caught. I missed some lines and got one of those notes to bring home. Everyone knew it and started teasing me. Now I need glasses. Yuck."

"Meg, thatís how it happened for me too," Mandy told her. "The good part will be seeing well. The bad part, teasing and feeling self-conscious wonít be as bad as you fear, and it wonít last long. Youíll find glasses are fine, but I know starting to wear them can be hard."

"Actually, we came to offer you a deal, Meg. I guess you know our wedding is coming up. So far I have five girls in my wedding party. Theyíre all going to wear matching glasses. Since you will soon have glasses, weíre wondering if you would like to be a junior bridesmaid. Youíd have to wear glasses like these."

Mandy showed Meg the chosen silver frames.

Meg took them, looked at them, tried them on. "You probably need a smaller size, but youíll look great wearing them. You would also wear a blue velvet gown just like the other girls, with silver jewelry. What do you think, are you interested?"

Meg showed her first smile in days. "Yeah, that sounds cool; Iíd like that. Thanks."

 

In time the big event was close at hand. First there would be a rehearsal the day before, followed by dinner for the bridal party and out of town guests. The rehearsal would be the first chance to see the bridesmaids with their new glasses. Mandy and Dick arrived at the church first. Next to arrive was Julie, along with Mandyís parents. Julieís glasses looked fine.

"Theyíre stylish and very comfortable," Julie commented (Of course the parents wore their glasses too).

Then Meg arrived with Mary, smiling and looking really cute in her new glasses.

"Meg, you really look great with your glasses," Mandy said. "How do they feel?"

"I still donít like needing glasses," Meg grumbled, then warmed up "But they do help me see good, and they feel okay."

Then Mandy spied Maureen arriving with her boyfriend.

"Looks like she has her glasses on."

"Bifocals!" Dick muttered, and Mandy looked closer.

"Maureen, your glasses, do you have bifocals?"

"I do," she answered, smiling.

"What a surprise. You can tell us about them at dinner. And here comes Carolyn."

Carolynís plus glasses looked nice too.

"Hi, youíre looking good. Your eyes look so blue and big, as usual," Mandy said in greeting her.

"I like my glasses," Carolyn said. "Iíve been wearing them steady."

Soon Holly arrived with her boy friend.

As she approached, Dick whispered "Myodiscs!" "

Huh," Mandy responded. "Sheís wearing myodiscs."

"Whatís that?"

"See her lenses?"

Mandy greeted her.

"Holly! Welcome, you look great. But your glasses look different."

"Iím sure they do," Holly laughed, "theyíre myodiscs. This seemed my chance to try them."

"Well we want to hear about them," Mandy said. "Tell us at dinner."

Dick was excited but worried.

"Itís almost time, and everyoneís here except Kerry."

Just then, though, a pick-up pulled in.

"There she is," he said, relieved. A

s she left her truck, Mandy commented "Oh, bless her heart. Sheís wearing her glasses already."

Then Dick said "theyíre real!"

"What do you mean?" "

She has real lenses, strong ones," he answered.

He called to Kerry "Arenít those real lenses in your glasses?"

She laughed "Only for you, dear brother; you owe me big time."

"They look strong. How can you see?"

"I can see fine. I have contacts on too. Iíll tell you all about them."

"Oh my!" Mandy exclaimed. "So many surprises. I never imagined... Well we can hear your stories later. Right now, though, we need to rehearse inside."

The rehearsal worked; everyone knew what to do and heard a preview of the music. Then they were off to the dinner.

There was lots to talk about over cocktails and dinner, but the major topic was glasses. Everyone seemed fascinated by the variety of looks with identical frames. Mandy suggested that everyone tell about their glasses to the group to avoid repetition.

Julie spoke first, saying that although her glasses are not unusual, she feels excited to see the others,

"Iíve observed glasses for a long time, and this is really fun."

Then Maureen said she always wished she could have bifocals but assumed she had to wait.

"My doctor mentioned bifocals before and I refused, thinking I was too young. Then I saw Mandy with bifocals and really felt jealous. I went for a new exam a few weeks ago, and this time I let him show me how bifocals might help me. I jumped when he recommended them, got them put in these frames, and Iíve worn them most of the time lately. Iím delighted."

"Well I know my eyes look the biggest," added Carolyn. "Iím always the token hyperope with plus glasses. I look around and notice how everyoneís glasses look so different; yet when we chose our frames we expected to look alike."

"Mine must be the strangest looking," Holly began in her turn. "These lenses are myodiscs, things for only the very very nearsighted. I guess I am one of those. The advantage is theyíre very thin and light, compared to my regular thick, heavy lenses.. The disadvantage is no peripheral vision. I see very well but only through these circles here in front of my eyes. My doctor said I could consider myodiscs if I got to minus 15. Iím not quite there, but getting these wedding glasses gave me a chance to try them. I can see fine; I think they will be very good to wear jogging, maybe biking and skiing too. But donít you love the way they look?"

Meg had her say too. "This is fun, and Iím having a good time. I like my glasses, but only because they help me see. I still donít like the thought of wearing any. Mine are very plain, not too strong. I hope they stay that way. You can keep the Ďbifokers,í Ďmicrodiscs,í and thick lenses, I donít want any."

All wanted to hear from Kerry.

"I told my friends at work about this wedding and wearing glasses I donít need. They thought it sounded crazy. One guy I work with suggested getting real lenses for my glasses. He thought since I bought into the deal that I should go all the way. He said if I wore plus contacts I would then need real minus glasses to see. He offered to help me. So I went for an exam saying I needed colored contacts for my modeling jobs. Then with the measurements, my friend helped me order contacts over the internet. I got them plus 6.5, and he taught me how to use them. Then I went for glasses and I need minus 7 lenses. Iíve been wearing them a lot. I was surprised; theyíre pretty comfortable and give me a different look, and outlook. I wore them to the mall and got looked at in different ways than I knew before: One date so far with a nice guy who likes my glasses. I suspect Iíll keep using them some times after this wedding is over. But oh, any advice on when I tell him the truth?"

Then she called on Mandy.

"Tell the story of your glasses. Some donít know."

"Okay."

And Mandy told of grandmaís/her glasses. Then she suggested they all remove their glasses and pass them around the table. Everyone got to inspect and try them all on. There were many laughs and comments. What fun! Julie liked Maureenís bifocals.

 "These seem to be made for me. Maybe Iím next for bifocals."

Holly and Carolyn had the biggest mismatch.

They said together "How can you see with these things?"

Meg inspected the Ďbifokersí and Ďmicrodiscsí up close and tried them on.

"I canít see with these, but they look kinda cool," she said.

"Hey, I can see good around the edges of these microdiscs," she announced.

Kerry liked her grandmaís (Mandyís) glasses. She could almost see with them; reading, in fact, was easier for her through the bifocals. And on it went. In the end everyone shared that happy feeling when you get your own glasses back on. Finally the party ended, not for lack of conversation, but the realization that the wedding day was at hand. Time for rest and final preparations. What a night!!

Morning came early on a day with a noon wedding. The bridesmaids all had early visits to hairdressers, then met at Mandyís to get dressed. All were wearing their glasses except Kerry.

"I want to put my contacts in as late as possible so I can manage them and the glasses through the whole day," she explained.

She and the others were ready though in time for pictures. The photographer kept asking if they didnít want their glasses off before getting the picture himself (pun intended).

"Donít worry about reflections," they told him.

Then they were ready for the limos.

 

At the church, guests were starting to arrive. Myra, Melissa, and Margot and their husbands met there and sat together. They, as well as most of the guests knew nothing of the wedding eyeglasses. Dick and the groomsmen were ushering guests while Dick waited, cooling his heels in a back room. The organist was playing soft wedding music, and then with most guests seated the soloist sang "Thatís All I Ask of You" and "The Wedding Song." The ushers brought Dick the word that Mandy and her party arrived. So the groomsmen, Dick, and the priest filed out into the church and processional music began.

Meg led the procession. The magpies whispered their reactions to each other, while most guests kept the same reactions quiet.

"Isnít she cute," Melissa said of Meg.

"Poor kid. Too bad she has to wear glasses."

"Look, Maureen has glasses on too, look like new ones," Margot whispered.

"Iím surprised sheíd do that."

Myra was looking back up the aisle. "

They all have glasses. I donít believe Iím seeing this. They look alike. How unusual."

"The dresses look nice, and the silver jewelry and glasses are all coordinated," Melissa noted. "Is this new age or something?"

Dick was up front, of course watching the procession, and thinking. ĎMeg, you look great with your glasses. Youíll learn to like them. Smile. Maureen, I bet youíre enjoying the bifocals; I know I am. Carolyn, your blue eyes look so big. Your smile is beautiful. Plus glasses look nice. Holly, youíre turning your head a lot, side to side. That must be the peripheral vision thing you mentioned. Itís fun to talk with you about your myodiscs. Kerry, you should wear glasses more often. You look great with them. I need to thank you. Iíll make it up to you sometime. Julie you look almost as nice as your sister.í

Then came whatómake that whoóDick was waiting for. His Mandy was coming down the aisle with her father. She looked beautiful. Funny thing, he never looked at her glasses; he was taken by the whole picture: gown, face, smile, surroundings, etc. Then she was there with him. They recited their vows and exchanged rings. They lit the wedding candle together as the soloist sang "One Hand, One Heart." There was a blessing, and then they heard Gounodís "Ave Maria." Then they kissed, received an ovation, and the priest sent them on their way.

During the recessional the guests got to see the bridesmaids with their smiley faces and glasses. A receiving line was formed outside. The parents, Mandy and Dick, and all the bridesmaids all together. The guests, as they passed by, could hardly help but notice the glasses, standing out in all their glory. Many commented and asked about the glasses. The usual explanation they heard was simply "Mandy and Dick like glasses." Some girls told the guests that they felt more comfortable than with contacts. One of the guests said "Gee, I wish I thought of doing that."

The bridal party went for picture-taking while the guests went to the reception hall. They enjoyed cocktails and hors de oeuvres before sitting down, and the conversation included lots of glasses talk.

"I never saw the like of it, matching glasses,"

"I liked it,"

"They must be nuts,"

"The girls looked nice," etc.

The magpies talked about the glasses too.

"Iíd like to do the society piece for the newspaper," Myra said. "Listen to this, ĎThe bride wore a white floor-length gown and a pair of heirloom glasses that had long been in the groomís family. The bridesmaids were dressed in royal blue dresses with coordinated silver jewelry. They also wore matching silver eyeglasses. Such a line-up. Itís probably never been done before, probably never again. The guests all enjoyed the spectacle(s).í"

Everyone was seated and the bridal party arrived and was introduced. As they were all standing, there was one more surprise. All the groomsmen suddenly pulled out matching horn-rimmed readers and put them on. That was met by a mixture of applause, cheers, cat-calls, boos, etc. What fun. Well there was plenty of food, drink, dancing, and celebration, for hours. A good time was had by all; and Mandy and Dick were officially a married pair.

In time, Mandy and Dick changed from their wedding clothes and left the party in a limousine to start their wedding trip. They relaxed, talked about all the dayís activities, and rehashed all the glasses stories once again.

Then Mandy thought for a moment and said "Thereís just one sad thing on my mind. Iím thinking of: my other pair of glasses. I liked them so much when I got them, wore them a couple of months, and now theyíre somewhere in my luggage, just a back-up pair, unused. I wonder what to do with them."

"Well," Dick responded, "You could wear them some of the time when you feel like it, for variety. Or you could wrap them up and put them away in a safe place. You never know; we might just have a grandson one day who might like to make use of them!"

The End

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