Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunglasses -- Then and Now -- jcarolek

I had one pair of sunglasses when I was a child. Only one. I was born with what was known as “crossed eyes.” Now, polite speak is “lazy eye.” But let’s just call it what it was. My parents worked hard to give me the gift of sight, which was not mine at birth. I underwent surgery on both eyes at the age of eight months and started wearing glasses at ten months.

When I was three, we moved to Cyprus. Now, for any of you not familiar with this island in the Mediterranean, it was at the time (1961) divided in two. One side was Greek, and the other Turkish. We lived in the Greek side, in the town of Famagusta. We were happy as larks, playing with our landlord’s kids, speaking Greek as if we had been born there within only a few months. But I digress.

Sun is a constant companion to the island of Cyprus, and my parents decided to spend the big bucks to get me prescription sunglasses. This was an expensive proposition for a kid whose prescription changed several times each year. Well, as three year olds do, I lost my sunglasses, but not before I had posed for the photo below with my sister Jeannie and our friends Andrea and Vasso.

My losing my first pair of sunglasses turned out to be a huge mistake, because I was never provided with another pair. I didn’t mind. But the eye doctors always were adamant that my tow-head blonde, blue eyed complexion really needed sunglasses. Even so, as an adult I never wore sunglasses either. Not, that is, until about five years ago.
I was looking through some old pictures today and found these taken in Cyprus.

I had forgotten about those sun glasses. I also found a photo taken about two and half years ago, and there I was, again with the sunglasses! (Please don’t mind the Auschwitz look. I have put a few pounds back on since this photo was taken.

And so I looked back. Forty-five years, to my first pair of sun glasses. I never really missed not having those sunglasses replaced. I was glad to see the world in all it’s brightness. I truly love the light. In my old age, I have become fearful of the eye doctor’s dire warnings and have broken down and started wearing them again. I don’t like plunging myself into the darkness, but, I suppose, relative darkness is better than the permanent darkness of which they warn.

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