In 1960, I was a 15-year-old boy living in a small town. Unlike my friends, I had a secret; a secret that I could not reveal to anyone, for fear the others would think I was mentally ill. I was enamored by glasses. Whenever a girl in my class got her first glasses, I became much more interested in her. And, even a new pair of glasses on one of my male counterparts left me feeling that I wished I had been the one who needed to get glasses. I didnít realize it at the time, but I have since determined that my admiration of those who wore glasses was mostly due to the fact that my teacher for grade one and grade two was very nearsighted and wore extremely strong glasses.
That year, as the days of summer grew shorter, and school returned in September, I fell in love. Mrs. Gibbons was the Home Economics teacher at the high school I attended, and although I was not in any of her classes, she was my home room teacher. While Mrs. Gibbons didnít wear glasses that were as strong as my former grade school teacher had worn, her glasses were sufficiently strong enough to really attract my attention. They were definitely stronger than any other lady I knew, except for the wife of the owner of one of the gas stations in town where I often stopped to fill my bike tires with air just to get a look at her. So, for that entire year, and probably for the next 3 years that Mrs. Gibbons taught at that school she was the person I most often thought of when I went to bed at night.
My parents owned a restaurant on the main street heading through town. My uncle had a hardware store that was a few doors away, and while I had worked in the restaurant during the summers since I turned 13, the summer after I turned 16 found me working for my uncle at the hardware store. I still worked at the restaurant on Sundayís for a few hours, and it was a job I didnít relish. There was a lot of tourist traffic through the town, and Sunday was a really busy day, so I was the bus boy and the dishwasher for much of that day. That year there were a couple of waitresses who were glasses wearers, but they didnít really interest me that much.
Mom hired girls who were strong enough to carry a tray for food to the table. She usually started them off bussing tables, and doing dishes, just like I did on Sundays.
Most girls who started high school were 14 by the time they were going into grade 9, and that is when they came to work at the restaurant. The summer I was 18, a young lady who started working at the restaurant caught my eye. Or rather, I should say that her glasses caught my eye. Marilyn was quite pretty, and for her age she was much more developed than girls who were a couple of years older. The cute brown plastic framed catís eyeglasses that she wore had lenses that looked to be pretty strong to me. They were definitely a lot stronger than any other 14 year old girl I knew wore. So, I became very attentive towards Marilyn, spending more than my allocated hours back in the dishwashing room and being very helpful to her whenever I could.
Marilynís dad often drove her to and from work, and when I saw his old pick up truck I realized I knew him as a customer at the hardware store. He was a local farmer, and was a very nice, pleasant man. Once I found out I knew him, I realized that I knew who Marilynís older sister Jane was. Jane had, when she was 18, married a mechanic who worked at the local car dealership, and I had, as frequently as possible, observed Janeís glasses, which were of a similar style to Marilynís, but had a lot thicker and obviously stronger lenses. One of the things I had noticed with the other girls in my class was that whenever they got new glasses, their lenses didnít appear to be much stronger, however with Jane and Marilyn, their glasses were already pretty strong, and if Marilynís glasses eventually ended up as strong as Janeís were, that would be fine with me.
An 18 year old dating a 14 year old just wasnít very acceptable in my town. So, that summer I was as nice as possible to Marilyn. I even gave her a ride home once or twice. I was pretty sure that she knew I liked her, but I didnít make a move. However, we did talk about the possibility of me asking her out once her parentís allowed her to date, and she seemed receptive to the idea. I know that my mother had noticed my interest in Marilyn, and she commented once or twice that I should find myself an older girl, and perhaps a girl with better eyesight.
I did hang around with Marilyn at school that winter. I had failed a couple of courses in grade 11, and I was repeating that year Ė mostly because I hadnít applied myself. But I did want to get my high school diploma, so I was doing a lot better the second time around. However, my interest in Marilyn was heightened when in the early spring, just as she turned 15, she got new glasses. These glasses were in a black and translucent frame, and since Marilyn had long black hair, she looked fantastic wearing them. Actually, Marilyn looked darned good. She had a nice figure, a pretty face, and a smile that lit up her whole face. But to me, it was the thicker lenses in her new glasses that made her a girl to die for.
The following summer was almost a repeat of the previous summer, but in August Marilynís parents actually allowed her to go out on a date. So, we went to a movie together, and I was in heaven. I made certain that nothing happened to spoil our dating privileges, and I had Marilyn home prior to her curfew. For some reason, a 19 year old dating a 15 year old wasnít as bad as it would have been if we had dated the previous year. And, when Marilyn had to baby sit for Joe and Jane, I was allowed to come over and watch television with her for the evening. I just enjoyed her company, and I loved watching her eyes behind the lenses of her glasses. It had only been about 6 months since she had her lenses changed, and already I could tell that she needed stronger lenses. This excited me to no end.
My oldest cousin was 25. He had no interest in his fatherís hardware business, and he had gone on in school to become an optometrist. Our town wasnít big enough to support him, so he had gone into business in a larger city about 15 miles away. Kenny had met Marilyn one afternoon when he and I had gone to the restaurant for lunch. She had been our waitress, and Kenny commented that she was a little fox. So, I told him that I was very interested in her, and we had been dating. With that Kenny told me to bring her into see him, and he would love to examine her eyes. I sort of wondered if Kenny also had a thing for girls who wore glasses, because Jill, his wife, wore pretty thick glasses, but of course I couldnít ask him this without revealing my interest.
The hardware store closed every Wednesday afternoon, so I made an appointment for Marilyn with Kenny the last week of August, just before we went back to school. It wasnít hard for Marilyn to get a day off, because mom had a large roster of girls to choose from. We told Marilynís parents that we were taking Marilyn to see my cousin Kenny for an eye exam, and Marilynís dad gave her the money for new glasses without a question. I guess he had gotten used to the fact that whenever one of his girls went for an eye exam they always needed new glasses.
Kenny let me come into the examination room with him, and I was thrilled. He started Marilyn off with her old prescription, and she had to go up 3 lines before she could read the line. Then he started to click the machine, and I knew he was making the lenses stronger. There were a lot of clicks, and with every click I thought I was going to wet my pants. After the exam was finished, Kenny advised us that Marilyn required a substantial increase for her new prescription. I hadnít known what Marilynís prescription was when we went in for the exam, but Kenny told us that Marilyn had already been -6.50D for both eyes, but now she required -8.25D for her new prescription. Marilyn was quite surprised, and a little worried, because her last exam had been just prior to her birthday in early March, and it was only 6 months later. Kenny explained to her that when young girls were still growing it was normal for their eyes to grow longer as well, although he did caution her to be careful with sports, and he gave her the signs to watch out for in case of a retinal detachment.
We ordered Marilyn a new pair of glasses. This pair was a solid black plastic frame, and again it had a catís eye shape for the lenses, with rhinestones on the upper corner of the face, right in the wider area where the temples were hinged. Kenny placed a rush on the glasses, and he anticipated having them the following week, so Marilyn and I planned to drive back down one night after school the following week. School went back on the Tuesday after Labor Day, but we only went in to register. After we were finished, I drove Marilyn home, since she lived on a farm 6 miles from town. When we got there Marilynís mom told us that Kennyís office had called, and her new glasses were ready, so we drove into the city to get them. When the optician, who was Kennyís wife Jill, put the new glasses on Marilynís face I was thrilled. Marilynís new lenses were not quite as thick as Jillís were, nor were they totally flat on the front like Jillís, but they did have a substantial portion of the lens that stuck out behind the frame, and they gave her face quite a decent amount of cut in through the lenses. Marilyn commented on Jillís glasses being pretty strong, and Jill told her that her prescription was over -12D, so Marilyn didnít feel quite as bad about her own glasses being so strong.
Kenny told Marilyn that he would like to see her again just before Christmas, so we made another appointment. On our way home Marilyn asked me if I thought she would need stronger glasses again then, and I told her that I hoped that she didnít, but if she did, then Kenny would give her a new prescription.
Marilyn took a little more than a week to get used to her new glasses, and I sort of wondered if Kenny had given her a little more strength in her lenses than she actually needed. If he had, it wouldnít have bothered me, and I was beginning to wonder just how much stronger Marilynís lenses would eventually get. Since I knew that Marilynís prescription was now -8.25D, I realized that Jane, who was 6 years older than Marilyn, probably had a prescription that was at least -5D stronger. From the appearance of the lenses in her glasses, I suspected that Jane had about a -13D prescription, and I had also noticed that Jane likely needed an update from the way she was scrunching her eyes up behind the thick lenses of her glasses.
When Marilyn looked after Jane and Joeís 2 daughters after school and on the weekends I would often drop by and watch a movie on television with her. After the kids were put to bed we would do a little heavy petting on the living room couch, but other than a lot of hugging and kissing, nothing more than that went on between us. Stacey was the oldest, and was almost 3, and Ann was just a bit over a year old when I noticed that Stacey seemed to sit very close to the television screen to watch cartoons. So, being the curious person I am, I also watched her when she was coloring in her various coloring books. Sure enough, she brought her face up very close to the pages that she was coloring. This in itself wasnít all that unusual, because in the time I had gotten to know Jane and Marilyn, I noticed that they both brought anything they were reading up very close to their glasses. But it did lead me to believe that Stacey was already quite nearsighted, and was well on her way to following in her mother and her auntís footsteps.
Joe and Jane had been away at a function all day one Saturday in November, and they were going to be back just after supper so that Marilyn and I could go to a show. Stacey had her head buried in a coloring book when they walked in the door, and when she looked up at the noise of the door opening I could see that blank stare that you often see on the face of a high myope when they donít have their glasses on. Boldly I decided that it was time to mention to Joe and Jane that I thought that Stacey might need glasses. To my surprise, they both admitted that I was likely right in my thinking. And Joe also suggested that Jane might need new glasses as well.
Marilyn had told Jane that she was quite pleased with the way my cousin Kenny had tested her eyes, so Jane was willing to let me set up an appointment for her, and Stacey with Kenny. Joe needed the car every day to get to work and wasnít home until 5:30, so I suggested that I could make an appointment with Kenny for about 4 PM on a Wednesday afternoon. Then, if Marilyn and I left school a little early I could drive Marilyn home after school, where she could look after Ann, while I took Jane and Stacey into the town where Kenny had his practice. And, that is what I did.
Jill was at the reception desk when we went into the office. I loved to look at Jill, as she was very pretty and wore nice strong glasses, but when I looked at Jill and Jane together, I realized that their glasses were both pretty close to the same strength. Back then there were no such things as auto refractors, so Jill asked Jane if she could have her glasses so that she could check the prescription. Jane took her glasses off once she had sat down, and I took them back to the desk so Jill could check them. I waited while Jill checked the prescription, and when she handed them back to me she commented that Janeís glasses were slightly weaker than hers were.
Kenny wanted to check Staceyís eyes first, and he allowed Jane and I to come into the examination room with him. Stacey is a bright kid, and she knows all her letters and numbers quite well, but when she was sitting in the chair looking at the eye chart she could not even make out the big E. Kenny swung the phoropter over in front of her face, and he set the first lenses. Then he went ahead and fine tuned Staceyís prescription. I could almost see what he wrote down on the prescription pad, and it appeared to be -11.50 x -1.00 x 30 and -11.25 x -1.25 x 155. Then after he was finished with Stacey I got to hold Stacey on my lap while he tested Janeís eyes. There were quite a lot of clicks from the machine for Jane as well, but finally Kenny was finished.
Once Kenny was finished with Jane we went into the reception area, where there was quite a selection of frames to choose from. It was easy to find a nice small plastic frame for Stacey, but the new, larger frames that were now on the market were going to give Jane some pretty thick lenses. I could see why Jill hadnít been in any hurry to get new glasses, because her lenses would have been quite thick in one of the new frames as well. But finally Jane and Jill had decided on a frame that they thought would look pretty good on Jane. And, when Jill was writing up the order I was able to get a look at Janeís prescription. Jane needed -14.25 x -2.00 x 85 and -14.00 x -2.25 x 105. Jill casually mentioned that Jane now had a little bit stronger prescription than she had, so she was very interested in seeing how Janeís new glasses were going to look in case she needed new lenses.
Jane and Stacey got their new glasses a couple of weeks later. Stacey seemed pretty pleased to be able to see well, and Jane was happy also, although it took her a few days to get used to the stronger prescription. I had never seen lenses quite like the ones Jane wore now. They appeared to be slightly dished in on the front, and they were sticking out a lot at the back of her frame. When I asked Kenny about them he told me these were biconcave lenses, and Jane needed them because her prescription was too strong to put it all into the back of the lens. And, apparently the plastic lenses, which were pretty well all that they were using now, were slightly thicker than glass lenses, so in the new larger eye sized frames, for a higher prescription the lenses were a lot thicker.
Marilyn was very surprised that Stacey needed glasses that were stronger than hers, but she didnít say much about Janeís glasses. I could however tell that she was a little worried that her own glasses were going to look like Janeís pretty soon. Marilyn hadnít said anything to me, but I suspected that in less than 3 months she had noticed that her prescription already needed to be a little stronger. We had an appointment booked for Marilyn the week between Christmas and New Years, and Kenny wanted us to bring Stacey in for a checkup as well. Kenny had explained to Jane that when a young childís first glasses were as strong as Stacey required, sometimes they need a change in prescription within a couple of months, because their young eyes have been able to relax because of the wearing of their glasses.
When Marilyn and Stacey and I went into Kennyís office for their appointment the first thing I noticed was that Jill had gotten new glasses. I commented on their unusual appearance, and Jill explained that she had tried the same lenses that Jane had in her glasses, but that she couldnít get used to the biconcave lenses. Apparently they made her dizzy, and I could believe this, because Jane said the same thing. Jane often complained that she got a little dizzy if she moved her head around quickly a lot. Jill explained that her new lenses were called myodiscs, and they were a lot lighter than the full lenses. I asked her if she had a problem getting used to looking through the circles, but she replied that after the first day she liked them a lot.
Stacey didnít require a change at this time. But Marilyn needed an increase of -1.50D, bringing her prescription up to -10D along with -0.75D of astigmatism in each eye. Kenny commented that there were very few patients that had exactly the same prescription in both eyes. And Marilyn took the opportunity to ask Kenny if her eyes were going to get much worse. Kenny replied that there was no way he could tell for sure, but it was likely that she would have similar increases every 6 months until she was 18, and then her increases would lessen a bit until she was 21 or so. I liked hearing that. If what Kenny said was true, that meant that Marilyn would be around -16D by the time she was 18.
Marilyn would have liked to get new lenses put in her old frame, and she had brought her previous frame along with her. But Jill explained that her old frame, which had glass lenses, wouldnít be suitable for the lighter, but thicker plastic lenses. So we selected a new frame for Marilyn. I managed to convince Marilyn to get a slightly larger frame than Jill was suggesting, and eventually we had her new glasses ordered. When we came back to get them the following week after school, Marilyn was quite upset. The fronts were totally flat, and the back of the lenses stuck out behind the plastic frame by over half an inch. But when she put them on I told her that she looked great, and that the frame really suited her. I had not lied. The frame did suit her well. It was a dark blue plastic, and it went well with her black hair, and dark complexion. And maybe she didnít like the lens thickness, but I certainly did.
Kenny had put Marilyn on a schedule to have her eyes checked every 4 months back in August. He explained to Marilyn that it is actually worse going around under corrected than it was to have the proper prescription. Apparently when you are squinting to attempt to see things you increase the pressure on the back of your eyeball, and it tends to make the eyeball grow even longer, which will increase your myopia even more. Marilyn accepted that reasoning, and we had an appointment to go back again for another eye exam in April.
Marilyn turned 16 at the end of February, and everything about our relationship changed for the better. Now there wasnít any reason why we couldnít date, and we were spending a lot of time together. Marilyn still looked after Stacey and Ann for Joe and Jane whenever they went out, and I still came over to visit with her then, but on weekends that she didnít have to baby sit we could now go to local dances and to movies together. I loved being with her, although I knew that some of my friends wondered what I saw in the girl with the thick glasses. I had to tell my best friend one day that the glasses came off in bed, and that under the glasses was a very cute package. He did agree, and he mentioned that if it wasnít for the glasses I would likely have some competition.
When it came time for her April appointment, Marilyn was pleased that her myopia only increased by -1D, although her astigmatism increased by -0.25D as well. This time I was outvoted, and Marilyn ended up with a slightly smaller frame eye size. When we got her new glasses they didnít look any thicker than her old ones had, even though they were stronger.
I was graduating from grade 12 that spring, and Marilyn was going to be going into grade 11 in the fall. I tried to talk her out of going back to school. I was going to be working full time for my uncle, and I figured we could get married and rent a house. But Marilyn wanted me to save my money for a couple of years, and she wanted to get her high school diploma as well. So, I let her talk me into this, although I felt we were just delaying the inevitable.
A couple of months after her 17th birthday Marilyn got her first pair of myodiscs. Her prescription was now -14D x -1.00D, and she didnít want to have the same biconcave lenses that Jane was wearing. So, Jill and I convinced Marilyn to order her new glasses with myodisc lenses. I would have loved it if she had gone for the biconcave lenses, but I also was thrilled when I saw her wearing myodiscs. Now she reminded me even more of my first and second grade teacher. Jane had come in for another exam as well, and she needed an increase also, so her new glasses were going to have myodisc lenses as well. Jill was quite enthusiastic about her myodiscs, so it was pretty easy to convince Marilyn and Jane to follow her example. But the only thing I didnít like about myodiscs was that I couldnít tell if Jill had gotten stronger lenses. I was pretty sure she had, but the myodiscs donít really look any thicker as the strength increases.
I was saving my money to put a down payment on a house, and I was managing to put a reasonable amount away. Mom and dad were not charging me anything for room and board, and I was quite thankful for that. I tried again to get Marilyn to quit school, but there was no talking her out of getting her grade 12, so I realized I was just going to have to wait for another year. But, after Christmas that year, the year I was turning 22, Marilyn and I did start planning our wedding. I know that mom still was against me marrying a girl with such obviously poor eyesight, who found it necessary to wear very strong, thick glasses to allow her to see anything past the end of her nose, but she was quite gracious about holding her feelings in, and she was very nice to Marilyn. Mom helped a lot with the wedding plans, and of course we were going to have the reception at our restaurant. The only date we could get for the church was the second last weekend in June, which meant that Marilyn would have to finish her grade 12 as a married woman, but that would only be for a week and a bit, so it wasnít a big deal. And we were not going to go away anywhere anyway.
Stacey, who had just turned 6 was going to be the flower girl at the wedding. Jane was going to be Marilynís maid of honor, and Christine and Elaine, Marilynís 2 best friends from school were going to be bridesmaids. Marilynís prescription had shot past Jane and Jillís prescriptions and she had gotten new myodiscs in her now -18.50 x -1.00 x 95 and -18.50 x -1.00 x 90 prescription. Stacey was still wearing the original glasses she had gotten three years ago, and about 2 weeks before the wedding Staceyís glasses broke. Stacey was helpless, and could see nothing without her glasses, so Jane and I rushed her down to see Kenny. Kenny was a bit surprised to find that Stacey could easily use a -2D increase in her prescription, as he had checked her during the Christmas holidays, and she had not required any increase. But he now gave Stacey a prescription of -13.50 x -1.00 x 30 for her right eye, and -13.25 x -1.25 x 155 for her left eye. Staceyís old glasses were so badly broken that they couldnít be repaired, and Jill was going to try to place a rush order on the new myodiscs that she was ordering for Stacey. Stacey had wanted to try the myodiscs when Jill suggested she could, and was excited to be wearing the same type of lenses as her mom and her aunt, as well as Jill. Just then Jill told us that maybe she had a solution. She got up and went upstairs to the apartment that Kenny and Jill had above the store. When she came back down I recognized the glasses that she had in her hand as the ones she had worn just before she got her first myodiscs.
Jill told Jane and Stacey that her old glasses were close enough in prescription to Staceyís new ones that she could probably wear them until her new glasses came in. So Stacey put them on, and she felt she could see fairly well through Jillís old glasses. Stacey was about 7 years old now, and Jillís glasses were a bit large for her face, but they were certainly better than nothing, so Stacey had to wear a strap to hold Jillís old glasses on. But, that was only for a week, because Kenny had rushed the order for Staceyís new glasses. I had not known about them ordering the myodiscs, so I was surprised when I saw Stacey wearing her new glasses. When I asked Jill about this she told me that it was very likely that Stacey would need myodiscs in the near future, so there was no reason not to get them for her now. And Jill was right, because Stacey looked very nice wearing her glasses with the myodisc lenses.
Fortunately Stacey had a few days before the wedding to become accustomed to wearing her new glasses. And, the wedding came off without a hitch. The weather co operated, both for the ceremony, and for the picture taking afterwards. We only had about 200 guests, which filled the restaurant pretty much to capacity. That evening when Marilyn and I left for our honeymoon she looked radiantly happy, even though our honeymoon was only going to be a one day affair, since Marilyn had to be back to school Monday morning. We had chosen a motel about 50 miles away, and that turned out to be a good idea. We would never have had any privacy that night if we had gone home, home to the house we had purchased the previous month.
Marilyn and I spent the next 33 years living in that house. We raised our 2 children, a boy and a girl, in the area we had grown up in. My uncle died about 15 years ago, and his will established a means for me to purchase the hardware store for a reasonable price from my aunt and my 3 cousins. Kenny and I had remained good friends as well as cousins over the years, so he had no problem with his fatherís wishes, but Gail and Bonnie, Kennyís sisters, felt that they were a little cheated. However my aunt and Kenny settled them down so for the past 14 years I have been able to make a pretty decent living. Marilyn had worked for my uncle as his bookkeeper, and she continued doing that job after we bought the store. Now I am 53, and Marilyn is 49, and we have begun thinking about retirement, hopefully within the next 9 or 10 years.
Over the years Stacey has had her prescription creep up to about the same as Marilynís Ė about -22D or maybe about -22.50D. Jane and Kennyís wife Jill have both had their prescriptions stabilize, and neither of them went over -17D. Staceyís sister Ann was a surprise to me. She has perfect eyesight, and has only recently started to wear glasses for reading. I couldnít explain it, and neither could Kenny. But, none of her grandparents ever wore glasses, and Joe has only worn readers, so maybe Ann escaped the myopia gene. Our daughters both have nice -10D prescriptions, and like Stacey they wear contact lenses much of the time. Kennyís daughter Diane has a pretty strong prescription, likely a little stronger than her momís, but it is hard to tell with the new hi index lenses that are on the market.
Jane and Jill have gotten away from myodisc lenses, and are both wearing high index plastic lenses in their glasses. Marilyn tried to wear a pair of 1.9 hi index glass lenses in one pair of glasses, but she felt that they gave her a bit of a myodisc appearance anyway, so she switched back to hi index myodiscs, and I love the way she looks wearing them.
As the years passed Kenny and I had enough discussions about myopia that Kenny and I now are able to talk about our attraction to women who wear strong glasses openly together. He admitted that he always gave Jill, and Marilyn and Jane as strong a prescription as he possibly could without ever really overcorrecting them. I had no problem with that, but I was pleased when he told me that he had never done that with any of the children, including Stacey.
So far no one has suffered any ill effects from their high myopia, and I am happy about that. Marilyn has very thorough retinal examinations every year, and has gotten a clean bill of health, although we still are a bit paranoid about the possibility of a detachment.
I have absolutely no idea why Marilyn has ended up with such a strong prescription, but I feel that I am a very lucky man to have found her and recognized the probability that she would become a very high myope such a long time ago.