April 22, 2011
From Sears in Chicago to Sears in Corpus
News From Your
How I See It How I Came to the Seeing Profession By Dr. Mary Craft, Optometrist I often get asked how I came to be an optometrist and the answer is because of my best friend since 8th Grade, Judy. It was a circuitous route. I went to college in the 70s and needed a part-time job. My best friend, Judy Koszyk, was working full-time for our neighborhood optometrist and the office needed someone for Saturdays and after school hours. Back then there were not optical chains so every neighborhood had an eye doctor that did exams and sold contacts and eyeglasses. They were friendly places where the doctor got to know the local families. I lived in a blue collar ethnic neighborhood in Chicago not far from downtown. Judy’s family was from Poland as was Dr. Kasperek who she worked for.
By Maybeth Christensen borhoods. She invited me in and we got to be chatty to the point where she was showing me family pictures taken of the recently passed Christmas holidays. She was in a chair in the photos and the weight distribution in her body indicated she sat a lot. I phoned in the report that she is legit and got a check in the mail. I only lasted in this work a few months because I had to work when my friends were out playing. Most stakeouts to catch those cheating were on weekends and that was a large part of the business. Sears Has Everything My next job was with Sears, Roebuck and Company working in the sporting goods buyers department. The Sears headquarters was in a bad inner city neighborhood but would soon move to Sears Tower. I got to join the rest of the employees in the parking lot to write our names on the tower’s last beam. So next time you see the Sears Tower remember Mary Krkljes is written up there on the top beam.
I loved working there because of the laid back friendly atmosphere. Women would drop by with home cooked goodies. We decorated the office every holiday big or small. It was common for those in the waiting room to know each other. New patients were scheduled to be with the doctor an hour and previous patients 45 minutes. Even with that schedule the docCelebrating the last day of I worked for the sports appartor was always running late because he Optometry School el buyer and the team sports buywould get involved with talking to the er who had window offices on the patients about various topics. Besides the usual reception type work I helped with frame selec- 37th floor. The Sears catalogue was used by many then tion. Frames then were not one size fits all. There was and I was responsible for making sure the data was cora bridge width, temple length and frame width. If you rect and make the entries in what was then called the broke a temple we could order it. I taught contact lens PMIS system (project management information syswearers, most of whom wore hard contacts, how to in- tem). I had one major goof when the item number for the green hunting glove was actually for the orange one. My sert, remove and care for the lenses. younger brother Steve benefited because manufacturInner City College Life ers would bring in their products such as baseball bats, During those years I never thought of becoming an op- basketballs, tents hoping Sears would put them in the tometrist because they were all men. I was sixteen when catalog and the buyers would give them to me. I got to I started college at the University of Illinois Circle cam- know Sir Edmund Hillary who climbed Mount Everest pus near downtown. It was a newly constructed then fu- and baseball legend Ted Williams since they visited ofturistic campus. It was a commuter school and most took ten because their name was used on camping equipment buses or trains to get there. This is how I then described and baseball items. the campus: Gray slabs of stone, immense pillars, cement ,7DNH$I¿UPDWLYH$FWLRQ landscapes; everything is drab, symmetric and uniform. It doesn’t look real. People themselves begin to look as I was very aware that all the window offices were occudead as the scenery, walking about like automated ro- pied by men and the assistant buyers, also all men, had bots. This is our university, the most modern of its kind – office cubicles. The women were out on the floor outbut also the coldest. However, our university does build side the men or in large typing pool areas. Affirmative action had come around then and one characteristic – independence. It I made sure my voice got heard. I has to - no one could survive in this would write letters to the CEO and desolate oasis for there are no teachsend them to him in those intra-ofers, only instructors. fice lined envelopes and he would Sounds a little dramatic but, hey, I write back that the company was was sixteen. It does explain why I making changes. Right about the have no friends from college. time I figured out that working 8 Maybe because of my age or mayam-5 pm punching a clock was be because of my free spirit I did not for me they offered me trainnot look at college as a means to an ing in computer programming end. I wanted to take classes that in(fairly new at the time) at their extrigued me such as archeology and Me and Dr. William Craft with Dr. pense. I had already decided that, psychology classes where in one I Kasperek on graduation day even being a woman, I could be even learned how to hypnotize peoan optometrist. Dr. Kasperek was ple. Criminal Justice was a new major and offered inter- very influential and was good friends with the then presiesting classes involving forensic science, evidence and dent of the Illinois College of Optometry located in Chicriminal law. After four years I had a degree in Psychol- cago across the street from IIT and a short bus ride from ogy and in Criminal Justice. my home. Test scores and grades did not get you in but a family member being alumni did. Many, like Dr. KasHitting the Streets After College perek, got in on the GI bill after WWII and their relaMy first job out of college was as a private investiga- tives were able to follow suit as the career became more tor but because I was only 20 I could not carry a gun. I popular. worked for several agencies when they needed a woman. For stakeouts it was convenient to look like a couple I left Sears and went to work for Dr. Kasperek full-time in a parked car so as not to be conspicuous. One of the while going to night school to pick up all the science and investigators I worked for had a Karmann Ghia which math classes I needed. That took four years because I had was a very small two-seater sports car. I am 6’ tall and to take a series of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math have been since I was 13 and grew six inches in one year. courses. Not exactly fun courses but I did have summers Needless to say the hours spent in that car seemed even off to go to Europe. In Optometry school I was one of 12 women in a class of 155 all white students. I was the longer. only woman without a relative connection. For years afSome of the situations where a woman was necessary ter graduation I would be asked during the middle of the were not very glamorous. At a methadone clinic I had to eye exam “When is the doctor coming in?” I had patients watch the women addicts urinate so they did not substi- leave because they said they wanted a male doctor. tute the specimen. Often the cases were called in to me +RZ7LPHV+DYH&KDQJHG and I would just phone back a report. One such situation was for an insurance company that had a workmen’s Now about 75% of optometry students are women and compensation claim they were paying for a woman who patients tell me they like women doctors better because hurt her back on the job. They wanted me to find out if they feel they are more compassionate. I moved to Corshe really was restricted to a wheel chair. They gave me pus Christi in 1993 and how ironic is it that I started and her name and address which happened to be in what we still have my practice in the Sears building. It’s been a called “a changing neighborhood.” Chicago was a very journey and now I write. The required classes I had difsegregated city and if blacks were to move into a white ficulty with in school were Composition and English. neighborhood the property values plummeted and the Moon Mike would always tell me to write about what whites would flee usually to the suburbs. I put on “col- we called my Mary stories and I would tell him I can’t legiate” garb and rang her doorbell. When she answered write. He would constantly encourage me to “Just write the door in her wheelchair I introduced myself as a soci- like you would tell it.” So Mike, I have taken your advice ology major doing a research project on changing neigh- and I wish you were here to read them.
It seems that some of our residents either do not read the articles, or think what I’m writing about doesn’t apply to them, but I’m going to try, again.
bill. They are now not picking it up, but you still will receive a fine.
We have a lot of dogs on the Island. I have a great Boston Terrier named Romeo. So believe me, I am not antidog. I am, however, being critical of some dog owners who just don’t get it.
I know there has been a great deal of frost damage to shrubs and trees and getting the yard cleaned up is a priority. I also realize that you have to do the work when you have the time and that doesn’t always fit into the City schedule. We have been trying to work with the City about this problem, but don’t have a solution yet. The City does have a program where if 3 residents in a neighborhood request a truck, they will bring a truck out and leave it over the weekend and pick it up on Monday. This might work in some of the neighborhoods.
Pet ownership carries responsibilities other than just providing food and water. Dogs are to be on a leash if they are not in your own yard! We’ve had several reports recently where folks just open their door and let the dogs run. People have been knocked down, other dogs - on leashes - have been attacked. It is a pet owner’s responsibility to keep your dog leashed and controlled! Other complaints recently received include dogs barking all day or night long. I know that could not possibly be your dog, because they are so quiet when you are around. But, when you are not home, they make a lot of noise and that noise is a nuisance. Dogs like to dig and digging their way out into the neighbor’s yard is also a problem. So, please check to see what your dog is doing and take steps to prevent the noise and digging. It is also the pet owner’s responsibility to pick up after your dog. That doesn’t mean washing the feces into the canal or ignoring it and hope that no one notices you didn’t pick up after your dog. Vacant lots are not fields, they are properties owned by someone just like you. Do not leave the dog droppings on those vacant lots. The other concern we have is “early set-out” of brush and clippings. The City has reduced the number of these types of pick-ups, so there is a longer time between the City coming through our Island and hauling it away. The next set-out time does not start until May 2. Brush that has already been set out is not going to magically disappear before May 16 - which is the day the City will next be picking up. Several residents have received, or will receive shortly, a notice from the City that a fine has been added to their utility bill. Up until now, the City would fine the resident, pick up the brush, and add the charge to the utility
The Litter Critter will be in the POA parking lot on Saturday, April 30 starting at 9 AM.
You may bring brush, household items and just about anything you need to get rid of.
Do not bring old tires, batteries, paint or chemicals. We have volunteers to direct traffic and can always use more. We also have a volunteer with a trailer who picks up some of those things that mysteriously appear on vacant lots. He can always use extra hands to help. Just call me at 949-7025 to volunteer.
If you are out walking, take along a plastic bag and pick up the items that have been discarded out someone’s car window, blown out of a pickup truck, or wasn’t disposed of properly in the trash container. It is good exercise you can even do deep-knee bends while picking up.
R. Kyle Hinkle Attorney at Law
Criminal Defense—Civil Litigation Probate Matters Phone: 361-549-6525