Monday, July 27, 2009



For me, glasses have always been a problem.

Take the white girl in the wagon(see attached photograph.) I grew up on Ellsworth Ave. in Shadyside. My summers were spent in Homewood, either at my step grandmother Baker’s house or the apartment of my uncle, John Bing. Bingzy.

I was 5 years old.

Both spoiled me deeply, leading to conflicts in adult life.

Bingzy bought me a swing set and anchored it in the yard behind his apartment in the
....block of Frankstown Avenue.

It was mine!

I asked Uncle Bingzy for it!

I remember it was primarily red.

For three days my cousins Daryl, Rodney, Anita(?) myself and the white girl swung.

At some point I became self important and suddenly snarky. While playing and swinging with the white girl, I blurted, “It’s MY swing! Get off!” I stood before her as she swung. I stepped forward. “Get OFF!”

She swung down into me, kicking my face, her shoed toes striking the bridge of my nose, breaking my glasses mid-point into halves, ripping the flesh where my glasses had split.

My mother took me up the street to the doctor’s office(imagine me crying and bawling loads.) and I was treated with stingy red liquid and stitches to my nose. I still bear the scar.

Leaving the doctor’s office, my mother saw a friend across the street and we went over so she could relate my mishap and gossip. Finishing that, she checked the traffic and walked; urging me across ahead of her. I tripped on one of my own feet and bashed my forehead into the curb and back into the doctor’s office we went(again, me howling and mewling at my mother’s hand!)! Without my glasses, my vision had suffered!

More stinging red liquid and stitches, this time to my forehead. I still bear that scar as well.

What with the stitches and my groping around not seeing well without my glasses, I began to be teased as Frankenstein’s monster! I hated it.

As a teen and as an adult, if I lost my glasses, it could be months to over a year before I was ever able to replace them.


I managed to save my glasses once, though, while boating on the Charles River in the Boston/Cambridge area.. I was 15 or so. I begged some Harvard guys to take me out on one of those racing boats that I always saw them paddling.The rivers in Pittsburgh, PA., where I was raised, were sort of swift in their careers. The Charles, one the other hand, was heavy and slow. It was renown, even in the mid-1960s, for its polution; second only to the burning Cayahuga in Ohio.

While boating out on the Charles with the older Harvard guys, I leaned over side to look into the water and my glasses dropped. Instead of swiftly sinking, they swayed seductively side to side, receding slowly.

I leaned far and down to grasp them and fell into the river, but at least now I had my glasses in hand!
The Harvard guys took me to a campus boathouse infirmary where I was given 5 or 6 shots covering around 15 diseases! "Love that dirty water(old R&R song about the Charles)!"

My glasses have saved me from punches.

I always was embarrassed and hated when my glasses were taped together or had one ear wing missing! If I didn’t have to see I would have done without.

I've done a lot of cab driving without them!

More recently, maybe 3 winters back, I was acting silly. Spouting forth and whipping my head about, one morning, heading for the field to do some archaeology work in Mississippi. The crew chief(Ben Goodwin) was speeding along the road and I stupidly stuck my head out of the window and my glasses went. Seven experienced field techs couldn’t find them where they settled along the road! We gave up. It costed $390 and a few days work until my glasses could be replaced; I was due for a good eye exam anyway. I also, at the time, had beefs about constantly being stuck in nowhere and not being able to drive a company vehicle around like on other projects. I complained, then went on strike and was fired. Ben had to take out time after work to drive me miles away to a train and was silently, seethingly pissed. I felt bad for him and myself! It all seemed to go downstream with the glasses incident.


  1. Excellent 1st post. must figure out images! give corresponding years or perhaps decades.

  2. Duane I am looking for Otis Blue. If you still see him have him contact me through your blog. Thanks!

  3. I'm sorry, not aware of Otis Blue!