March 19, 2014 — Ephemera of the Day from the KBL Family Collection
I expected to find a set of old mouse-chewed goggles inside the small gray paper box in Dad’s trove of stuff, but there was only a set of instructions from Rochester Optical for the “Flying Goggle Type B-8” and a bunch of little tickets, postcards and letters. I read through the instructions anyway, and they gave me an idea: What if we could see other dimensions or people from other times when we looked through s set of well-used goggles such as those described here?
I put the idea into play in THE TAIL GUNNER and it became an important element of the story, both for Sylvie, the main character, and Penelope, her best friend. But the real use of the goggles was clear. They served as both eye protection and a means to cut the glare. The instructions note how to “fit and wear the goggle,” including how to thread the headstrap through the helmet loops and adjust it to fit over the flyer’s oxygen mask.
The varied color lenses had specific purposes as stated in the instructions. Clear lenses “are to be used when seeing conditions are normal.” Amber lenses “reduce the effect of haze conditions and increases the contrast of the target against the background.” The polar green absorptive lenses were to be used in times of bright sunshine or extreme glare.
In The Tail Gunner novel, Sylvie, the main character, finds Bish’s goggles in the box saved from the burn pile. In real life, the only place we found Dad’s goggles were on his head in a photograph.
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