Seeing Is Believing

By Eileen

As I awoke today to submit my post, just like last week’s, our Wisconsin weather pulls rank with the “day’s planned goings-on!” Instead of a snowstorm, we have heavy fog.  Not just springtime still-snow-on-the-ground-melting-fog … I mean thicker than-pea-soup-can’t-see-the-field-FOG! So, as my seed-starts are all nestled snugly in their starting mixture in the dining room, the rakes, wheel barrel and shovels lay in waiting … AGAIN.  

I’ve learned not to question these “forks in the road,” just change the recipe! With that being said, speaking of recipe, I start the day’s change of venue in the kitchen. There are cupboards to clean, photos to dust … When on comes a heavenly nudge to “open the back of the photo.”  

“Wait, WHAT?”  

“Open the back of the photo frame!”  

So, as I disassemble a favorite photo of my folks that rests on my kitchen counter, out falls a torn envelope that contains the letter you’re viewing from “The Lions Eye Bank.”  As you can see (no pun intended), it’s a letter of thanks upon my dad’s passing, for gifting of his corneas and assurance of the transplant success of one, and the other frozen for future use. My dad passed in 1986 and my mom in 2003. This frame kept this beautiful concealed gift all this time!

What to do with this newly found information now required prayer. As I received direction on what to do, I followed instruction to look up “The Lions’ Eye Bank” (which I found), and email them the actual letter. I received a response within hours! They are looking for the recipient (or recipients), or families of, Dad’s special gifts, to offer any information about the wonderful donor if they’re interested! A continued “Godwink” in this story is that the woman doing the research has the last name of Smyth!    

Now, as to switch tracks, but riding the same train …  next “fork-in-the-road” change of task plan is one last closet to clean. What do I find, but yet another envelope, a brown clasp one this time. It contains the “Reading Circle Awards” as shown here, six in all.

They are my dad’s dated from 1933-1938. You’ll notice the photo of his one-room schoolhouse (that’s Dad, the blond at the end of the far left row, in the back by his teacher, Mrs. Myrtle Esping). She signed the reading awards.

Also in this envelope were two Reading Circle Awards given to yours truly back in my first and second grades. Although there are 30-plus years separating their testimonials, it’s eminently “clear” where my love of books started!  

As I gaze in wonder at this collection of details, the photo with each child’s individual stories jumps out at me. (Most of the students seated, by the way, were Dad’s relatives!)  

I see the proud Mrs. Esping, flanked by the paintings of Presidents Lincoln and Washington on the adjacent walls. The reference books placed on the table with chairs and on the cabinet in the back. The blackboard where no doubt many a math problem was solved. Above that the maps, tidily rolled up, that inevitably held world travels abroad for these Lake County, Illinois, students. The school bell, the very school bell I have now in my living room! The wonder in their eyes, that sparks the very same in mine …  their eyes – the eyes that read all those books that entitled them to reading awards. Their eyes that lived and saw day by day the very details that so intrigued me.  

Through the books my dad read, it sparks the innate interest of mine to ponder where he sat when he read each of them. Was it at his desk? Was it under a big oak tree? Was it by the stream where he’d go fishing, or in Grampa’s barn? This love I have and have always had for all things literary, now is clearly provided for me. Right down to some of the names of the books listed that I’d read.  

“See Us Play,”  “See Us Come,” See Us Have Fun.”  

All this, meant for me to see once again as I await the arrival of the sought information on my dad’s corneal gift. What if his gift lifted “the fog,” the opaqueness that someone was imprisoned to look through? All this supremely orchestrated on this foggy Wisconsin day. All this to be the favorite last ingredient in this recipe of my life. All this to coin the phrase “Seeing Is Believing!”

  • Published on Mar 10, 2015
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