The 50c piece

I was teaching in Pietermaritzburg and living in College Road with my parents. On Sunday mornings we’d go to the Anglican church in town. One particular morning, mom and I bundled into the car (I was driving) and roared off to church; we got there, parked, dashed inside and sat down.

The minister announces the first hymn.

Mom picks up her bag and starts scratching around for her glasses; it was totally un-mom to ever keep her glasses in a case and finding anything in the bag-of-wonders took about 74 minutes a shot—it was always full of junk. One day a thing herbal laxative that (of course) was blinging around in her bag broke open and seeped all over everything. Typical. So…mom is looking for her glasses, finds them and puts them on so that she can sing the hymn.

Looking down at the hymn book, voice at the ready and…panic; mom grips my arm and looks up at me, saying in a quiet shriek (it’s possible—trust me), ‘Love, I can’t see out of my right lens. My eye! I must be going blind!’

I turn to her and look at her glasses. They’re filthy. They’re so filthy that a big 50c piece is stuck to the right lens.

I informed her that she was not going blind and that perhaps she should take better care of her specs.


Storyteller: Clare Paterson

Author: Andrea Zanin 

Iris Aitchison died in her early 60s. Her husband Ray never remarried and lived well into his 90s. She was, and still is, missed by her 5 children but her larger-than-life personality lives on in stories told to her 10 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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