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Friday, 27 April 2012

Grandpop's Eye

By Nancy Leitz

Sometime in the late 1940s, Pop Leitz' vision became very seriously impaired. Grandmom Leitz and daughter Frieda took him to a glaucoma specialist who told him that many of his eye problems were caused by his looking into the ovens over his many years as a baker. His right eye was so impaired it would have to be removed.

Mom always told the story of taking Pop to the specialist who made artificial eyes. He measured Pop and his good eye and tried to make the new eye look as much like the other one as he could.

Mom told us that he had Pop sit in a special light as he painted the artificial eye the same blue color and painted in the red veins to make the duplicate as much as possible like his real eye.

She told us that the "eyes" came in all price ranges and they selected one that was in the medium price range. Pop soon became used to the artificial eye and if he didn't mention it to you, it was almost impossible to tell that it was a "glass" eye.

Except when Carol used to go up to the bathroom at their house.

When she was about four years old, she announced that she was a big girl now and could go to the bathroom by herself. She went up the steps and after about a minute, we heard this blood curdling scream.

I ran up the steps and there she was in the bathroom with her panties down around her ankles screaming and pointing to the window sill. And, THERE IT WAS - Grandpop's eye!

He had removed it to take a nap and left it on the window sill. Ever after that, Carol would make sure Grandpop was in the living room with TWO EYES before she would go to the bathroom by herself.

One Thanksgiving Day, the whole family was gathered around Mom's table and Roy happened to look at Pop and there was a big tear coming down his cheek. Roy said, "What's the matter, Pop" Why are you crying?"

Pop said, "I'm not crying. It's this eye. It hurts sometimes."

Well, that statement infuriated Mom. She jumped up from her chair and shouted, "I did everything I could for this man. I took him to the best eye doctor around. I took him to the surgery. I took him to the artist who made the eye look so real.”

Then came the line that we have all repeated for more than 50 years. "If I knew Pop was going to live this long, I would have bought him a better eye."

We moved to Virginia in 1962, and by that time Pop was retired and he, Mom and Ernie were living very uneventfully on Front Street. We drove up to Pennsylvania as often as we could to visit.

In the fall of 1964, we received a call from Mom who told us that Pop was sitting in his chair in the living room and would not move. She and Ernie thought that he had had a heart attack but he refused all medical treatment. He said he just wanted to die in his chair.

Roy and I packed up the kids immediately and rushed up to Darby to see him. Roy was the only one he would listen to.

He was still sitting in the living room and Roy asked how he felt. He told him that he didn't feel well at all. Roy mentioned that he could tell that he was in a lot of pain and Pop nodded his head "Yes," agreeing he was in pain.

So, Roy reasoned with him by telling him that although he was in great pain, it didn't look like he was going to die so wouldn't it be better if he went to the hospital where they would relieve the pain?

Pop agreed and said, "Well, call the ambulance, I pay for that service every year. Let them take me."

Roy suggested that he was better off to let him take him in the car so all the neighbors wouldn't be looking, so that is what he did.

I called the hospital and told them that Roy was bringing his father to them because he thought perhaps he had had a heart attack. They told me they would be looking for them and would take Pop in right away.

When they got to the hospital, they put Pop on a gurney and wheeled him into the examining room. A young intern came in and looked at Pop, then took out his flashlight and looked into Pop's GLASS EYE, then looked up at Roy and said, "How long has this man been this way?"

Roy answered, "About three days."

The doctor very sarcastically said, "You rushed him right over, didn't you?"

He looked in the GLASS EYE again and pronounced Pop DEAD! "Sorry to tell you, but your Father's dead."

Pop, who had been very quietly lying there through all this, jumped up and shouted. "Gosh shenk it, I ain't dead yet."

Whereupon the young intern turned white and as the blood drained from his face like a window shade going down, he ran from the room, never to be seen again.

A different doctor came in and we mentioned the glass eye to him. He had a gigantic laugh and proceeded to examine Pop and said, "We have to run some tests to determine what is the matter with him. He will have to stay here for a few days."

Pop lived for more than 10 years after that. I'm not sure how long the young intern survived.

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Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Funny but also scary…

Keep those young interns away!

I always look forward to your stories Nancy.

Great fun. I love your stories. Keep'em coming.

Nancy, I cannot see the keyboard for the tears running down my face. Poor Pop being told he was dead!

I wonder what ever happened that intern.... Maybe he spent his days stacking shelves.

Nancy: What a great story you wrote. Glad Pop was able to live another 10 years, but poor intern.Keep writing as it keeps us laughing so maybe we'll all live longer.

As usual your punch line has me laughing out very loud, Nancy. I do love your stories.

My neighbor has worn a glass eye since she was an infant. She has to tell people she has an artificial eye because it matches the other one so well. She sees more with that one eye than the rest of us do with two. ;-)

Dear Nancy,
I laughed all the way through your story. It should be posted in medical training journals so interns are better prepared.
Thanks for writing it.
Michigan Grandma

Nancy, great story! I laughed aloud this morning, don't do that often!

Great story -- perfect execution and it left me laughing out loud.

I have to tell you it reminded of a story my brother found in a book of best practical jokes:

A man who had a glass eye decided to have a spare one made for special occasions, such as July Fourth or during some political discussion with a stranger, when he would retire for a moment to swap his everyday eye with the 'special' eye, then re-appear to go on as usual.

The special eye, instead of a tiny painting of his iris and pupil, now bore a fine representation of the American stars and stripes!

Oh my gosh the part about the intern was so funny. I can just imagine his face. I can also imagine little Carol's face when she saw Pop's eye sitting on that window sill...poor little baby. What a great story Nance...again. You always make me laugh. Hugs, Joy

Nancy, you NEVER disappoint!! This was hilarious from start to finish.

Nancy - This was great!

The intern is probably still running! - Sandy

Claire Jean:

I imagine that young interns see quite a bit of "Strange"
happenings in the ER. This had to be his scariest.

Thanks for your nice comment.

Hi Lyn:

I always read and enjoy your stories,too,Lyn. Aren't we all lucky to have an audience to bounce these fun experiences off on?

Hello GM:

I suppose that doctor would rather spend his days stacking shelves rather than having old men jump up like Lazarus rising from the dead
right in front of his eyes.


Everybody needs a good laugh every day; Like an apple.. Keeps the doctor away. That intern didn't need any special encouragement to leave the room when Pop jumped up like that.


Thanks for always laughing at my family stories, Darlene.

The incidents I write about weren't half as funny at the time they actually happened.

As the years go by they take on a very humorous light....

Hello Michigan Grandma:

What a great idea. Too bad they didn't have video cameras
in 1964. This is one "You Tube" that would surely have gone viral.

Hi Marcy:

Happy to make you smile and hope I can make you laugh again very soon.

I always enjoy your tales,too.

Hey Steve:

I loved the special eye that fellow had made. I know he made a lot of people do a "Double take" when they saw the Stars and Stripes looking back at them.

I'll bet they all smiled and maybe even threw him a salute! Good story.

Dear Joy:

Yes, after Carol saw the eye on the windowsill she would always go over to Grandpop and look into his EYES (Notice plural) before she went anywhere in the house.

Hi Judy:

Thanks for always being so complimentary about my stories. You all make me want to write more of them.

Hi Sandy,

You think? The poor guy was probably a patient at Bellevue
shortly after this episode in his life.

Can you imagine pronouncing a man dead only to have him jump up like that and curse at you in German?

Thanks for your comment...

I am so sorry to be late getting here today. We had to leave town for some medical appointments and thankfully neither of us were pronounced dead!!! You are just too funny. That was such a great story as I knew it would be. Poor Pop...he must have been quite a fellow. Thanks again for the laughter.

Hi Annie,

I am always so happy to hear from you. Late or not.

Hope your medical appointments turned out well.

Thanks so much for your wonderful comment especially after having such a busy day.

I'm late (not that unusual) but came right over from Grannymar's page. I'm so happy I did, because I love good story telling--and Nancy, you're a hell of a storyteller! Thank you for this one.

Hello Alice,

I'm delighted to see you here.

There are hundreds of stories on this site and I hope you will come back often to read the old ones and the new.

Thanks for your generous comment.

So much for "the eye(s) being the window(s) to the soul", huh!? Ha ha! Lots of life and soul left in Pop, no matter what that intern's Medical Diagnosis.

Isn't it funny how curmudgeonly some older people can be? And so un-fussy, like leaving his eye on the windowsill. Maybe he just wanted to keep an eye on things in the neighborhood while he was downstairs reading the paper!

You're right, Nance.

One of Pop's favorite sayings was " I'll keep an eye out for you."

And, he meant that literally!

Great story Nancy!

Thank you,WWW. It's so nice to see you here.

Great story. I'll be looking for more from you.

Thanks, Dan. It was nice of you to read the story and take the time to comment.

Hope to see you often at ESP.

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