A Hidden Gem

A few months ago, Maddie decided she wanted to see if my glasses were made of play-dough, so she grabbed the earpiece in one hand, the lenses in the other and wrenched them apart.

And just like that, I was out a pair of glasses.  Fortunately most of the time I wear contacts.

Last week I finally visited my optometrist who informed me that (a) they couldn’t be repaired; (b) the frames had been discontinued and couldn’t be ordered; and (c) I could buy replacement frames to fit my existing lenses for the low, low price of $180.

I hemmed and hawed about it, tried on frames, found some cute Vera Wang ones that didn’t fit my lenses (of course), and deliberated some more.

While I tried to make up my mind, the lady who was helping me quietly said, “you know, there is a repair guy…down off of Independence Road…you should look him up.”  So I took my sad sad broken glasses, thanked her profusely, packed up the children and hot-footed it outta there.

Yesterday I visited “the guy.”

It was quite a trip… a long trip down a tree-lined street in Plaza Midwood, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Charlotte, clearing speed bumps as I went.  Then the “Dead End” signs started popping up.  The GPS told me to go on, so I forged ahead.  Quite randomly, at the end of the neighborhood street, there is an industrial park.  It looks like it’s deserted.  After a little exploration, I came across a series of tiny storefronts.  Each is about one room wide.  “The guy” has a sign on his little window made of adhesive letters:  “Dan’s Eyeglass Repair.”

I went in and found a man in his early 60’s wearing a black industrial apron with “Dan” embroidered in red on the front.  He stood behind a counter in an area filled with equipment and tiny tools.  He looked at the damage to my glasses, set them in a tray, and motioned to the chairs in the waiting area.

As the boys ran up and down the sidewalk outside, I sat with Maddie and talked with the older man who was also waiting.  He shook his head and laughed at my situation, having four boys in a row.  He said two boys were enough for him.  Now he enjoys his grandchildren and sends them home when he gets tired.

After a little while, the boys got hot and sweaty and came into the air conditioning.  They looked at nature magazines and Popular Mechanics while we waited.

Twenty minutes after I entered Dan’s Eyeglass Repair, I was happily walking out the door with a working pair of glasses, having spent only fifteen bucks.

Dan has a good business, from what I saw.  Over the course of my brief visit, I saw four other people there.

It was worth the drive.  You should visit him if you are in need of a repair.




“Oh! Mr. Frank Churchill, I must tell you my mother’s spectacles have never been in fault since; the rivet never came out again. My mother often talks of your good-nature. Does not she, Jane?–Do not we often talk of Mr. Frank Churchill?–“
Miss Bates, in chapter 38 of Jane Austen’s Emma

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