Eye Injuries at the Eisenhower’s

From the Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, March 28, 1967:

In a magazine article out today, Dwight D. Eisenhower tells about his childhood fights, his poker playing, his plaudits for acting in a school play, and a guilt feeling he harbors over his brother s accidental blinding.

The article in the Saturday Evening Post was excerpted from a forthcoming book by the former President. “At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends.”

A particularly poignant story concerned the blinding in one eye of brother Earl, one of six sons of David and Ida Eisenhower of Abilene, Kansas.

“When I was 9 or 10 and Earl was about 3 vears old, he and I were playing in a workshop attached to the big barn behind our home. He crawled up on a box near a window, unnoticed by me. On the window sill was a knife which I had placed out of his reach when we first arrived.  I was busy playing when he, with the knife in his hand, jumped off the box. I heard a scream. Looking around I saw that his hand had flown to his face. The blade had punctured his left eyeball . . .”

“The doctor believed that Earl’s accident would not blind him: but we were exceedingly worried . . . as the wound began to heal. Then a second accident occurred.”

“MIilton [another brother] and Earl were playing a game called crokinole. This involved a board of considerable size and weight. As they went at it — Earl amusing Milton, who was not much older than a baby — the board was accidentally tipped over and the corner of it struck Earl’s injured eye. This time the doctor said nothing could be done to save it.”

“Earl went on to be graduated as an engineer, went into newspaper work, and even tho retired from industry, he has recently been engaged in Illinois politics. Apparently his blind eye has not bothered him much: but it has always bothered me. I was with him when the first accident occurred, and if I had been more alert, it would not have happened.”