All kids can see their way

The Rockaway Lions Club members along with the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation have a very ambitious project to check the eye sight of every grade school student in our area.

The Old Geezer

Walt Trandum

With the miracle of science they can now scan the eye and receive a report in just a couple minutes. With other programs that are already in place no child will go without the glasses they may need for corrections. The Lions use the funds they raise in literally hundreds of projects to raise the money and provide the community the opportunity to participate in this wonderful project. The next time you play Bingo at the Lions Hall in Rockaway or enjoy a great hot dog from their purple weenie wagon, you are giving them some help. There is a bill in the State Legislature seeking some funds to help with this wonderful project . Let us all hope they can see the benefits to all students from here on.
This program has given me some thoughts about how eye problems were handled when I was a kid. There were a few students who wore glasses if their parents could afford them.. For all others it was up to the teacher to figure out which kids should sit up front where they could see the blackboard. Oh there were some who sat up there for other reasons. If it was a girl ,chances were that she was the teacher’s pet and if it was a boy it was probably because he was misbehaving and need some close supervision.
I still have the pictures of all my grade school classes and can name most of the kids and even remember where they lived. Not too many of them made it as far as I have. We were all born at the height of the great depression and only a few families could afford eye glasses, so the kids learned to cope. We weren’t always kind to one another and those who did wear them were often the subject for play ground teasing. Girls had to learn not to wear their hair in braids because they just knew the boy sitting behind them would dip the braid in their ink well. Those were the days before the fountain pen had been affordable for most kids. Along with the ink came a black pen that we attempted to master. Not many of us learned to match the examples we were provided and I am sure that is where I got the scribble that I have lived with all these years.
Way back then there were a few kids who had braces on their teeth. They were actually a status symbol because their parents must have some money. Most of us went through some agonizing times when we got our first permanent teeth. For some reason they always looked too big for the face they were in and were not always straight. We all grew into our teeth and had nice lives.
I suppose many of the shenanigans mentioned above are still happening but now we can be assured that all of our children will have the eye care they need. There is also an opportunity for all us to make sure it happens by contacting our legislators and let them know we support Senate Bill 187 that will help financially and it will be a fine investment in the lives of our children. You can also make tax deductible contributions to the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation where everyone’s sight and hearing can be improved and cared for. I will never forget the day I was standing on a corner in downtown Portland selling white cane pins. A cab drove up and double parked and the driver ran over to me with a ten dollar bill. He put it in my hand and told me that the Lions were the people who gave him his first pair of glasses. I still get a good feeling when I have that memory.