Monday, February 27, 2012

A pair of Glasses

Recently my Uncle Rich was telling some of us a story about my dad that I had never heard before. To understand it better requires a bit of background. Ray, born in 1924, experienced the great depression in his childhood and entered the navy at the age of 17 to serve in the 2nd world war.

Ray was born into a german family with an older brother, an older sister and three younger brothers. School was a major challenge for him because his eye sight was poor and his parents thought of glasses more as a luxury then a necessity. These factors had a profound impact on his life and manifest themselves in his creativity, humility and resourcefulness.

After returning from the war he entered art school and worked a part time job at a soda bar. By that time the navy had diagnosed his vision problems and provided him with glasses. His youngest brother Rich was still in high school and Ray recongnized that Rich was struggling with vision just has he had. Knowing that their parents did not understand the importance of good vision, Ray made Rich go the eye doctor and then paid for new glasses with his own money. The cost was, no doubt, significant to a student.

What really strikes me about this story is not only the generosity and sense of responsibility which I have felt first hand, but the fact that in 60 years since that time, not even Jere had heard this story. And probably my dad had completely forgotten about it. His years of suffering with marginal vision seemed to have left him with profound empathy for others, be they students, friends or family.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely story! I have contacts and I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to go through life without glasses.