Never Too Old – A Sequel

by Specs4ever

My name was Jessica Holloway for the first 22 years of my life until, in 2007 I came through a portal in the universe, and went back to 1964. I took the name Wendy Jacobs from a murdered girl, as I needed some form of identification. After I met my husband, David, who was the reason I came back to 1964, my name became Wendy Smith

Our daughter Rachel was born in the spring of 1972. Fortunately, my myopia did not increase during the pregnancy, so I had hopes that I would be fortunate enough to escape any further deterioration in my vision during my next pregnancy. David and I had planned to have at least 2 children, and possibly 3. With a -21D prescription, I felt that my glasses were strong enough. David would not have minded an increase in my prescription, but I felt that since his prescription had not managed to raise above the -10.50D and -10.00D that we had managed to induce a couple of years previously, he should be happy with what we had both achieved. David was still wearing -12.50D and -12.00D glasses, but a recent visit to his optometrist had again shown him that his increases had stalled, and his real prescription remained at -10D.

Rachel was only 6 months old when I discovered I was pregnant again. I had not even gone back to my job as a nurse when this happened. But we had been making steady investments of our money in property, and stocks, so our net worth had climbed nicely. These investments were sure things, because I had come back in time with the knowledge of what was going to increase in value, and while we were not rich yet, we had a comfortable dividend income to accompany our salaries. Our son Jacob was born on the 23rd of September in 1973, and before David managed to have his tubes tied, I was pregnant again. This wasn’t planned, and we didn’t have a name picked, so when our second daughter arrived on the last day of summer in 1974, it seemed somewhat appropriate that we named her Summer.

With 3 children under the age of 3, there was no thought given to my returning to work. David worked for a large Optical firm and was doing quite well at work. He had become the manager of the specialty lens division, and handled all the interesting prescriptions. Also, the responsibility had given him a decent increase in salary, so we were quite comfortable even without my income.

When Rachel turned 3, I noticed that she seemed to be having trouble seeing things in the distance. I know David had been spending a lot of time with her, teaching her to read, and I had noticed that he let her sit very close to our television set. David and I had agreed that we would not induce any myopia in our children, and would let what was going to happen do so naturally. I had not had any time to take Rachel out, and let her explore the world, and I hadn’t even thought of the fact that all of the hours spent indoors doing near point work would help naturally create a myopic child. And she was myopic. A thorough vision exam by a pediatric ophthalmologist found that Rachel needed a first prescription of -1.50, a weak enough prescription when you considered my -21D of correction, but a fairly strong first prescription for a 3 year old. David wasted no time in making Rachel her first pair of glasses. I had no way of knowing if the prescription in Rachel’s lenses was the correct prescription or not, however David had promised me that he would not play around with the eyesight of any of our children. So, I had to trust him. But, six months later, when I noticed Rachel squinting at things on the other side of the room, I made sure I was the one who took Rachel for her next exam. I shouldn’t have been concerned. David had provided Rachel with the prescription the doctor had ordered. In my discussion with the doctor, after Rachel was examined for the second time, I decided that instead of under correcting her slightly as he had done the first time, I would have him prescribe Rachel her full prescription. This time Rachel left the doctor’s office with a prescription for -3.50D in each eye. When I spoke to David that evening he suggested giving Rachel a very slight amount of base out prism in each lens so that when she was older she would not be able to wear contact lenses. This sounded like a good idea to me, so I agreed, and Rachel ended up with 5 degrees of prism split between her 2 lenses. A bit over a year later, after her third eye exam, Rachel ended up with a real prescription of -6.50 with 5 degrees of prism split between both eyes. This time David increased the prism to 5 degrees in each eye, and when Rachel got her new glasses I noticed that the fronts were flat, and the edge thickness was quite noticeable. David explained that he had used safety lenses for her glasses, and I didn’t mind seeing the extra thickness that another millimeter of center thickness created.

This was the year that Rachel started kindergarten. I was still at home with Jacob and Summer. Summer had just turned 3, and I noticed that she was bringing everything up very close to her eyes. So, I took Jacob and Summer for their first eye exams. Jacob did not require any correction, but Summer was quite nearsighted for her age. With a first prescription of –9D, Summer could barely see past the end of her nose. So, David had a nice pair of glasses made for Summer. I knew the instant that I saw Summer’s glasses that David had put prism in them, as he had done with Rachel. And, when I asked him, he told me that he had started Summer off with 5 degrees base out in each eye. He felt that this would probably remain the same for the rest of her life, and now, like Rachel, Summer would not be able to wear contact lenses. This didn’t bother me at all.

Now that the Vietnam War had ended, David and I decided that we should move to the US. David had gotten a job offer from a firm in Minnesota that did most of the specialty lenses for the entire USA. Over the past few years there had been many small optical labs spring up, as lens grinding equipment had become cheaper, and easier to use. A couple of one hour chains had come into the market as well, and there was now intense competition. David had actually worried that his company was going to end up going out of business, because they were not able to compete any more. So, since I was an American, our move to the US was expedited. We bought a house in the suburbs, and settled in quite easily.

Over the next few years everything was wonderful. Neither David, nor I required any further increases in our prescriptions. David had finally accepted that his eyesight was going to remain at -10D, so he had reluctantly given up wearing the -12D glasses. It was either that, or he was going to have to have bifocal lenses in the -12D glasses, but he didn’t want to do that, as he was only reaching his 40’s. A natural myope generally doesn’t require reading correction until they are nearing their 50’s. With the correct lenses in his everyday glasses David was once again able to read well up close through his natural myopic correction. Summer had a couple of increases, and was now wearing -12D with 5 degrees of base out prism. Rachel had almost caught up to Summer, and was wearing -10.50D with 5 degrees of base out prism. Both girls seemed quite acceptive of the fact that they had to wear glasses, although I knew that at age 13 Rachel was soon going to start asking about contact lenses.

David had me trying out a new type of myodisc. They were called a blended myodisc, and the circle was not as obvious. I really didn’t care for them all that much. They were made from regular plastic, so the optics were pretty good, but they were on a minus carrier, and the myodisc portion was blended into the carrier, so when you moved your eyes a little away from the optical center, then you got into a portion of the lens that was not clear. I much preferred the distinct line between the myodisc and the carrier. And, another thing I didn’t much care for was that these lenses, in my -21D prescription were made with a negative front curve. I had never tried a negative front base before as all my previous pairs of myodiscs had been made with a flat front base. I managed to get used to them, but I didn’t like the fact that I had a lot of trouble switching back to one of my other pairs because of the front base difference. David liked them though, so I wore them most of the time for him.

Recently David and I had some pretty intense discussions. It was 1985, and in 2 more years I was going to intersect with the time that I had actually been born. I worried that when Feb. 2 1987 arrived, I would no longer be able to exist, but David assured me that if this was indeed the case, he would have told me about this in the years he and I corresponded in later life. I accepted his explanation, although I still worried. How would it be possible for the same person to exist during the same period of time?

David attempted to set my mind at ease. He explained that since I was Wendy Jacobs, then there would be no conflict with Jessica Holloway, and that as Wendy, I could live out my life. That was what I wanted to hear.

In the late afternoon of Feb 2, 1985, I was looking out of the kitchen window at the 3 kids playing in the back yard. They played well together, and were throwing a Frisbee around. David had just come home and had kissed me hello, and grabbed himself a beer. I heard the television come on in the other room, and I glanced at the clock. It was 4:49. In another minute Jessica Holloway would be………..

I heard a crash, and the shattering of plates from the kitchen. I rushed into the kitchen and saw Wendy slumped on the floor, surrounded by the pieces of a broken plate. I checked her pulse, and there wasn’t one. I immediately dialed 911, and a few minutes later the ambulance came screaming up. The paramedics came in, but immediately pronounced Wendy dead. By this time the kids had come in from the back yard, and were very distraught. The ambulance came, and they loaded Wendy onto a gurney, and they left. A police officer questioned me. He was very apologetic that he had to do this, but apparently it is required in the case of sudden unexplained death. After he left I gathered the kids, and we cleaned up the kitchen. I forced myself to make something to eat for everyone, and through the tears we managed to eat.

It was a restless night. I was so angry with myself. How could I, in my later years have let this happen. Surely I would have known, and could have told Jessica, so that prior to her birth she could have returned to the future. I had been convinced that everything was going to be just fine, and that Wendy Jacobs would grow gracefully into old age. Certainly Jessica coming through the portal had changed a number of things in my life. In my life without Jessica I had married another person, and had 2 children with her. Where did that life go? I could not come up with an explanation for this, but I realized that it didn’t matter. I had to go on with this life, for the sake of my children.

We knew a number of people here because of Wendy’s involvement in the church and in the school. She had also returned to nursing, so there was quite a turnout for her funeral. Apparently she had a brain aneurysm, which burst, killing her instantly. This was not an uncommon occurrence, but I was not happy that it had happened to Wendy.

My company gave me 2 weeks of bereavement leave, but I only took a few days off. I didn’t want to be doing nothing around the house. Rachel was very good about helping out. She instantly understood that she had to become the woman around the house, and she was the one who made supper every evening. Jacob and Summer were wonderful as well. Certainly we all moped around for a bit after Wendy’s death, but after about a month we all realized that she was gone from our lives for good.

I hadn’t noticed it, but Rachel came to me one day just before school ended in June.

“I think I need my eyes checked Dad.” Rachel said.

“Are you having problems at school?” I asked.

“I can’t see the blackboard anymore. I asked the teacher if I could sit closer a couple of weeks ago, and that helped, but things are still blurry.” Rachel told me.

“I will try to make you a doctor’s appointment tomorrow honey.” I replied.

“Thanks Dad.” Rachel replied as she went off to do her chores.

The next morning I called our eye doctor, and he was able to fit Rachel in late that afternoon. I took off early from work, and picked all the kids up at school. Our doctor got pretty good service from me with any specialty lenses he required, so he was more than willing to stay late to take a look at the kids eyes.

Rachel was correct. Her prescription required a substantial increase, and she was now going to need -13.00D with her normal 5 degrees of prism for both eyes. When he checked Summer our doctor told me that her prescription would be fine for a while longer, and Jacob still didn’t need any correction. So, now at age 13 Rachel had a stronger prescription than her younger sister. And Wendy had understood years ago that at some time in her life Rachel would think about contact lenses. Rachel had asked the doctor about contacts and the doctor told her that with her prescription she couldn’t wear contacts, so I was pleased that we had given Rachel and Summer prism correction years ago.

During the following school year Rachel needed a little increase in her prescription again. Now she was wearing -14D, and this time I made her new glasses as myodiscs. Rachel wasn’t entirely pleased about this, but I explained that with her strong prescription, and the prism, which made the outside edges of the lenses thicker, she needed this type of lens or her glasses wouldn’t fold so she could put them in the case when she was wearing her prescription sun glasses.

As the end of the school year approached I got a call from a placement agency. There was a new optical lab being set up in North Carolina, and my name had been given to them as a good candidate to be the general manager. The salary was good, and I decided I would go to North Carolina to check the job out as soon as the kids were out of school. It had been a year and almost a half since Wendy had died, and I was almost ready to move on.

The company was very promising. And they made me an offer that I could not turn down. So, I returned home and put the house on the market. We packed everything but the furniture, and fortunately the house sold just at the right time. The movers came in and loaded the furniture, and the kids and I headed for North Carolina. I knew I wasn’t going to have any trouble locating a house to rent, because there were a lot of new homes available around Charlotte. We found one we all liked, and I signed a year lease. For some reason I didn’t want to buy a house this time.

It didn’t take long to settle in. We still had a while before school started for the kids, and I would have loved to spend some time discovering the state with them, but I was really tied up with my new job. Rachel was 15 now, and she was wonderful, although I think the other 2 resented her bossing them around. But this is what we had to do to survive.

The investments Wendy and I had made were now starting to pay off handsomely. It was reaching a point where I could have stopped working and just lived off the money from them. But I enjoyed my job. Where else could a man who had an obsession for glasses, and lenses be so happy. I dealt with nothing but strong prescriptions day in and day out. I easily could have found another lady with a strong prescription if I had wanted to, but in my eyes there was only one Wendy, and I wasn’t ever going to replace her.

Summer had just turned 13 in late September when a family moved into the house next door. They hadn’t been there long when my neighbor came over on a Saturday morning.

“Hi, I am Linda Holloway. Brent and I moved in next door, and we noticed that you have a couple of teenaged daughters. We have a 2 year old daughter, and we would like to find a babysitter for her. Would one of your daughters be interested?” Linda asked.

“I’ll call them. Summer, Rachel, could you come down here?” I yelled.

“What is your daughter’s name?” I asked.

“Jessica, our daughter is named Jessica.” Linda replied.

“What do you want Dad?” Summer asked as she and Rachel appeared.

“Girls, this is our new neighbor; Linda Holloway. She and her husband have a 2 year old daughter named Jessica, and they are wondering if either of you would like to baby sit her from time to time?” I said.

“Sure.” The girls replied in unison.

“I will leave you to discuss things with Linda then. Nice meeting you Linda.” I said.

I walked into the other room. My mind was spinning. Jessica Holloway. Was it possible that this baby was the mother of my children? I knew Jessica came from North Carolina, but she hadn’t really divulged her whereabouts to me. How possible would it be that this was my Jessica? Now I was glad I had only rented this house. We were going to have to leave here as soon as possible.

I had decided that Monday morning I would give my company 2 weeks notice. I didn’t have another job to go to, but I knew I couldn’t stay here, not with Jessica living next door. But I hadn’t counted on my girls. When Linda left both summer and Rachel were excited about having a baby to look after. When I saw the joy in their faces I realized that I would have to stick around for a while, at least until it got to be a problem.

And, it really wasn’t a problem. Jessica was a great baby. The only complaint that the girls had was that Jessica always wanted to grab their glasses from their face. One time Summer let Jessica have her glasses, and, although Summer couldn’t see a thing Rachel told her that Jessica put her glasses on and looked around through them. Both girls figured that Jessica couldn’t have seen a thing.

Linda worked, so soon a routine ensued whereby Rachel, and or Summer would collect Jessica from the day care center, and bring her to our house, where they would look after her until Linda or Brent got home. Funny, but even though I knew that Brent got off work before Linda did, he never seemed to manage to make it home to pick Jessica up. He did however make supper a lot of the time.

From the time she was 13, Rachel had steady, but not astronomical increases in her prescription. And once Summer reached the age of 13, she began having regular increases as well. By the time Rachel was 17, her prescription was -16D, and by the time Summer was 15, her prescription had reached -14D, about the same as Rachel’s had been a couple of years ago. Jacob had also gotten his first pair of glasses. He needed a prescription of -1.25D in his right eye, and -0.75 D for his left eye. He probably wouldn’t have said anything if he hadn’t needed them to pass the eye test for his driver’s license.

One afternoon, I came home a little bit earlier than usual. Rachel, Summer and Jessica were in the living room watching television. I looked at Jessica, and she was wearing glasses. A closer look revealed that these glasses were the second pair that Rachel had worn. These glasses were -3.50D, and they had 5 degrees of prism split evenly between both eyes. I knew that a young child could wear these glasses quite easily, and I also realized that the prism would make it that much easier. Later, after Jessica had left, I asked Rachel and Summer how long Jessica had been wearing Rachel’s old glasses.

“You are not in trouble girls, but I just want to know honestly how long Jessica has been wearing Rachel’s old glasses?” I asked.

“It’s been almost 2 years now Dad.” Summer replied. “We got sick and tired of Jessica trying to grab our glasses off our face, so we gave her Rachel’s first pair to wear. She liked that, and we didn’t have any more problems until the glasses broke. Then she started grabbing our glasses off our face again, so we gave her Rachel’s second pair. My first pair would have been way too strong for her.”

“Ok, I understand. Jessica must like glasses, or else she just wants to be like you two very badly. Oh, and I think this might be a good time to mention this. We will be moving to California at the end of the school year. Rachel has been accepted to UCLA, and will be going to the School of Optometry in Anaheim. I am going to retire, and I am sure that you and Jacob will find lots to do there.” I replied.

Rachel was thrilled. She had applied to study optometry, but hadn’t imagined that she would be accepted. Summer wasn’t quite as thrilled, and Jacob, who had a really nice girlfriend didn’t want to leave Charlotte at all. But I knew we had to get them away from Jessica. Jessica had to develop on her own from now on. If we were a part of Jessica’s life, then she never would have started writing me, and she never would have crossed through the portal to meet me back in 1964.

So, at the end of the school year, we bade a tearful goodbye to the Holloway’s. Jessica was extremely upset that we were not going to be around for her. But we had to go, so off we went.

Life in California soon developed into a routine. I did ask Rachel if she had left her old glasses with Jessica, and she told me that she had. I wondered at that, because Jessica had not mentioned anyone giving her a pair of glasses to wear in her childhood, but I supposed that they got broken, or lost soon after we had left Charlotte, and at the age of 5 Jessica had forgotten about them. But, obviously she hadn’t forgotten about wanting to wear glasses, because of what happened later.

The next 11 years went by in a flash. I discovered the Internet, and a number of sites online that were devoted to glasses and the wearing of them. One day I saw a posting on one of the websites from a 16 year old girl who had started wearing glasses that she apparently didn’t need at the age of 10. She had changed her first prescription from -.25D to -2.50D by extending the loop of the 2 into the dot, moving the dot to between the 2 and the 5, and by adding a 0 behind the 5 so that she had a first prescription of -2.50D.

I knew that this was my Jessica, so I replied to her posting, and before long we started to correspond. As the next 6 years progressed, I was intrigued at how things developed. I lived for the next day to bring me an e-mail from Jessica, even though I knew what was eventually going to happen. I could hardly wait for the day when Jessica would come through the portal, and come back into my life – although I personally would never experience it again. I had my memories of my time with the real Jessica.

Now I realized why I could not bring myself to tell Jessica that she was going to die. I could not have had her in my life if she had not gone through the portal, and I was afraid she might not have done so if she knew the outcome.


November 2009

Dedicated to Dieter, who pushed me to write this sequel