Summary: An eye professional's view of some chalet characters.
Categories: Ste Therese's House Characters: Con Maynard, Hilda Annersley, Kathie Ferrars, Margot Maynard, Matron Lloyd, Mike Maynard, Nancy Wilmot, Nell Wilson, Richenda Fry, Rosalie Dene
School Period: Switzerland
School Name: Chalet School
Series: Misc Drabbles
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Word count: 1733 Read: 2791
Published: 24 Mar 2012 Updated: 24 Mar 2012
Might only appeal to me, but this one off hit this morning so thought I would write it. Couldn't write about contact lenses as there were nothing like as many choices of them in the 50s!
Just need to add an apology onto this - I was shown an early stage of an N and K drabble section by Eleanore a long time ago, and completely forgot about it till now, after posting this. She is being lovely about it, but I feel awful as if / when she posts it, it could look like her idea came from here, when in fact it was thought of a long time ago.
I haven't intentionally copied anything, but wanted to make it very clear who thought about the idea of the two of them having issues with glasses first.
Herr Auge reflects. by Beecharmer
Herr Auge settled down into his armchair with a tired sigh. It had been a long day. It always was when that school up on the Gornetz Platz sent down great groups of girls to check. Half of them were just complaining of eye problems to get a trip away from school, or to get a bit of attention.
He had tried suggesting to the school Matron some basic screening tests that she could do, but she had been determined that the current practice of mass visits should continue. It wasn't until some time later that Herr Auge had realised that these visits with the girls were one of her few breaks from the school, and she didn't want to give them up. At least she waited until the girls were due for their check, or complained with eyes. His neighbour, the dentist, had hoardes of these girls arriving regularly through the term, for she held teeth inspections and dragged the girls in on the tiniest twinge.
He let his mind wander. There were many who didn't need anything, but some of the more interesting or frustrating cases came to mind.
The young french girl, Odette. Hugely short sighted, barely able to make out a thing beyond her arm's length. He knew that she must be struggling with faces and seeing the board, avoiding situations where interaction was required, hiding in her own space; But she shied away from the idea of glasses, and the school mistress with her at the time seemed to think it would make her even more timid and shy, so wouldn't insist. He almost wished that she had been accompanied by the fiercesome Matron on that visit, for she would have had none of it. He could see that girl would only increase in her difficulties with distance, until she avoided the world entirely, but she had never yet returned for him to broach the subject again.
He had seen that girl with the corneal injury today as well. She had been very lucky, the chemical burn had been halted relatively soon, and the change in her prescription due to the scarring was getting less. He still kept her in the glasses, for the protection they provided, but could see that she would soon be able to stop wearing them, which was better than he had hoped when he first saw the mess that the injury had created.
The girl afterwards was one of the Maynard triplets. With a slightly shortsighted mother and longsighted father, he saw a huge variety of prescriptions in that family. This one however had clearly had astigmatism and longsightedness from a young age. He wished that he had seen her then, for there was little that he could do to change her attitude to life by the time she arrived in Switzerland. She had reduced in prescription enough that she didn't have to have the glasses unless she complained of symptoms, but she never did. However he could tell that while her elder triplet sisters had been slightly shortsighted and able to enjoy reading and close work, she would have found it hard, would have avoided those tasks, while being clever enough to get by without anyone noticing too much how much her vision held her back compared to the other two. As with so many children, he would wager that she had been dismissed as less academic, or in fact lazy.
She found distance vision so easy that no one had thought to get her checked, after all she didn't complain. She simply didn't like doing her needlework or reading, and wanted to be out running about. After all she was good at sports, so why would she chose to do something harder?
Her young brother Mike was much the same, and Herr Auge was trying to get up courage to approach Herr Doctor Maynard about him. He hoped that the family would be willing to listen, but you never knew. Sometimes doctors were the hardest to treat, for they thought they knew the science of the subject. He hesitated to correct them, but their level of training on the eye was often so minimal, there was no way that they could know enough to properly advise except on basic first aid. After all they had to learn about the whole body, they couldn't dedicate the years of training to the subject that he had. However it was nearly always the childrens' carer who brought them, so as yet Herr Auge had not been able to judge whether Doctor Maynard would be reasonable or not. The attitude so far when the subject of study difficulties was raised was that Mike was just a boy, being a typical boy, and that he would be going into the Navy anyway soon. Herr Auge hoped that the boy would pass the vision tests to enter the Navy, but hopefully he would, for his distance vision was still good.
He had seen the dark one of the Triplet girls today as well, and could tell that she hadn't been doing her exercises. When tired or not concentrating, one eye wandered out, and she seemed to be slightly absent. "Moony" her family called it. "Correctable with effort and exercises" was more the case, but she seemed to drift along without anyone really making her do the advised tasks to get the eyes working together. He wondered sometimes why he bothered to tell people his advice, they rarely remembered to follow it.
His thoughts wandered to the mistresses and staff that accompanied the children on occasion.
The charming lady in her mid fifties, who was just starting to get a need for glasses, but resisting with all her might. For all that he explained to the headmistress that her mild shortsightness in one eye was why she had put the need off till now, she was convinced that it was because she had avoided glasses, and nothing would shake her from that belief. It didn't worry him, he knew that she could manage well enough for a few years yet, in the bright Swiss daylight. She would perhaps give herself a few headaches, but possibly not. After all, she had a secretary to do most of her paperwork.
He rarely saw the secretary, she was so overworked, but when he did, it was usually for posture problems, headaches from being hunched over a desk all day. She was one who was convinced that she must need glasses, sure that it would relief her aching eyes. He knew that some less honest practitioner would probably give her them, to make her feel better, but he kept trying to make her stop blaming her eyes and acknowledge her stooped tense shoulders and frowning forehead from over work, not squinting through lack of vision.
Others he had less problem with, they simply saw the benefit, got the glasses and got on with life, able to see and happy to be able to do so again.
The cheerful maths mistress in her forties had been another who had fought the need for reading glasses, until her much younger friend had accompanied her and gently persuaded her to try, and now the older woman was finding her work much easier, and acknowledging how hard marking in the evening had been before the glasses.
He smiled at the memory of that visit, out of term time, and without a gaggle of girls in tow. He had recognised the pair from their driving all around the area in a battered little car. Having nearly been knocked down a couple of times when the younger one was driving, he had grabbed his chance when the young one accompanied her friend to his clinic. He had suggested a health check, and as suspected, found her vision to be poorer than that recommended for driving. She had been shocked, since her very far distance vision was so good that she was sure her eyes were perfect. But the closer quarters of the car dashboard, then the reactions needed for relatively close things were far beyond her ability to see. He had gently suggested some driving glasses, and thankfully her older companion had enthusiastically agreed. He looked over at the mantelpiece, and grinned at the sight of the clock, presented to him by several grateful locals, who could now brave the streets again when the pair of women were around in their little car.
Others had been far less touchy about the whole matter. The tall lady with white hair streaked with chestnut had taken his advice as soon as he demonstrated her vision, and was unashamedly wearing her bifocals all the time. She didn't miss a trick, and wasn't vain about it at all. She had invested in a few pairs, so that she need never be without.
The absent minded singing master was one of his best customers. There were very few months where the eccentric gentleman's sister didn't appear in the practice, laden with broken glasses, or ordering more to replace those absent mindedly left behind or lost. The man was not vain, but tended to irritation at the interruption in his composing that looking for his glasses represented. He tended to keep them perched on his head and then swept them off when moving about between sessions of composition, or when conducting.
He had to be reminded several times for his regular recheck, and often only attended when accompanied by his sister. Her Auge liked the sister a lot. Didn't call attention to herself, but just got on with whatever task was required.
He stretched, got out of his chair and set his mind to more important things, like what was for Abendessen. He had survived the termly invasion of over working seniors, vague teenage girls and fidgety juniors. Unless any problems occurred he was safe to return to his nice simple regular practice until the next time.
He supposed that he shouldn't grumble. These regular visitors made life interesting, and he did like the continuity of seeing these girls grow from shy 12 year olds to confident prefects. The school did seem to provide generally happy, confident girls, and they supported the local businesses, so he couldn't complain.
Overall, even with these invasions of girls filling his clinic, the Chalet School seemed to be a good thing, and he was glad for their custom.
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