Cat Eyes

I’ve been blessed with good eyesight, until recently. Yet, I’ve been attracted to eyeglass frames since my beloved grandfather, Aron, bequeathed me his personal collection upon his passing.

Decades after that, I was at an antique fair in Rye, New York. While perusing the booths down each aisle, I came upon one from Long Island that was displaying gads of fabulous and funky eyeglass frames. They were cat-eyed in shape, some with rhinestones, obviously from the 1950s. I felt my heart pitter-patter and reminded myself to remain cool. There was a deal to be made. I riffled my way through their display and selected a dozen of my favorites. I came up with an offer that I hoped they couldn’t refuse and gratefully it was accepted. My heart was full.

Driving home I began to wonder which ones I would want to wear and what optician would be willing to use my frames for their lenses? Not too much money to be made.

That night I kept trying to decide. One after another, I kept trying on the vintage, cat-eye shaped frames and seeking opinions from my husband and kids. I did that two or three times until they told me, “Stop already!” I tallied up the votes, giving my vote twice the weight.

Still unable to decide upon one or two because they were all my favorites, I took the twelve pairs in hand and made my way to the closest retail optician. The first, second and third optician wanted nothing to do with my eye jewels. Deflated, I decided to visit just one more store before giving up. I made my way to Cohen’s Optical where the young woman at the counter greeted me. I pulled out my finds, asking her if they would use these frames with their lenses? She had no idea but offered to ask the owner. After a sizable wait, he approached and I repeated my request. He carefully examined my goods, and then looked up to ask me where I had gotten these frames. I told him about the antique fair with the booth from Long Island. After hesitating, he said, “Would you mind coming back tomorrow?” I thought that strange, but there were a lot stranger things going on at the time, so I agreed.

The next day I repeated my steps and the owner was called again. As he approached I noticed that he held an envelope in his hand. He politely asked to see the frames again and when they were lined up in a row on the counter, he removed the contents of the envelope. What he showed me nearly knocked me over. They were photographs, clearly from the 1950s–of his (deceased) mother wearing all of my eyeglass frames!

His father, like him, had been an optician and his mom had really poor eyesight. She took advantage of being able to get her frames wholesale, and she, too, had formed her own collection. Which was now mine. Mr. Cohen and I bonded over the synchronicity of the story, and he, thankfully, agreed to put his lenses in our frames.

From time to time, I will be writing about synchronistic events, which is one of my favorite subjects. I welcome my readers sharing their own stories with me. Please email me: lynn@lynngladstone.com.

–Rev. Lynn

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