The Eye Patch Incident

On July 4th of 1967 (our first summer in Utah), we had been invited to an afternoon outing at the Wasserman’s - Professor of Piano. I had been annoyed about our garage door for a very long time. We didn’t have an electric door opener and the door was very heavy. Phyllis could not open it because the spring was not tight enough to assist adequately in the lifting of the door. I looked the situation over and saw that there was a spring that went around a rod that was connected by cables to the wooden door. I suspected that the spring needed to be tightened. I got a wrench and a screwdriver, and with the door closed, started to loosen the mechanism which attached the spring to the rod. I had no idea of the power of that spring, especially since the door was completely down.

When I loosened the collar, the spring released and threw the wrench into my right cheek, after which it flew over my head and hit the wall in the back of the garage. I knew that I had been hit but didn’t realize just how bad I had been hurt. Phyllis was standing at my side. When she saw that the wrench had knocked plaster off the back wall (probably 25 feet away), she remarked that we were "lucky it didn’t hit us." Then she realized that I had been hit. Phyllis led me to the yard and told me to "lie down" (the yard sprinklers were spraying water everywere.) She ran inside, got some ice to put on the wound and we headed for the local hospital.

Forged steel wrench.
NOTE: The wrench was completely straight before it struck me!

The doctor (Dr. Jensen) examined me and later told me that I had disintegrated all my bone structure in my right cheek. He said it looked like a Greyhound bus had driven through a plate glass window at 70 miles per hour and just shattered all the bones. Later that evening, he performed the surgery. Because the muscles that control eye movement (the inferior rectus) had been damaged, I was forced to wear an eye-patch for almost a year while the muscles healed prior to reconstruction surgery.

Eye patch
April 14, 1968 (photo from Logan Herald Journal)

A Family gathering in Kentucky - the first time they viewed my eye-patch, 1967

During the "eye-patch" ordeal, various students made me colorful eye-patches to wear. One day the famous Leonard DePaur Chorus performed on the Community Concert Series and asked if they could visit our Chorale rehearsal. When I walked into the choral rehearsal hall with the Mr. DePaur, there sat the entire Utah State University Chorale wearing eye-patches!!!

After wearing a variety of eye patches for almost one year, the following June I had surgery and was completely healed and back to normal.

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