In 1988 I did stupid things with the ridiculous amount of credit I’d managed to acquire. It seemed there was no card I didn’t have and it all began when on a lark at the age of 20 making about 13,000 a year as a courier for a travel visa company I submitted an application for an American Express card, listing my title as a Regional Consular Liaison.
To my surprise they didn’t laughingly reject my otherwise unqualified ass. Neither did Nieman Marcus three years later — and it was at their flagship store in Beverly Hills during a spree I couldn’t afford that I bought all sorts of stuff I didn’t need — including these throwback Ralph Lauren Polo-brand sunglasses. I loved the styling for some 12 years, up untilÂ the frame around the right lens cracked in 2000, as can be seen in the image above.
The condition I long thought they’d also been in was Gone. After several years spent fruitlessly searching for a repair shop that could restore them, I was pretty sure I’d pitched them in the trash, perhaps as far back as 2004 when I’d moved in with Susan. But yesterday while looking for something else entirely I found an old eyeglass case at the back and bottom of a drawer, opened it up and there they were.
I prefaced with all that because back in August Los Angeles magazine came out with its annual Best Of issue and while I flipping through it I found a brief on just the place that just might be able to do the trick: Paul Gross Eyeglass Repair, a literal hole-in-the-wall shop inside a dry cleaners in Glendale. I tore that page out of the magazine and saved it â€” albeit somewhat forlornly given the high probability I had thrown the glasses away.
Then with the shades so serendipitously rediscovered I went looking for that piece of paper I, of course, misplaced. Eventually I found it, and I’m planning a visit to the place to see if a resurrection can be made to happen.
UPDATE (9:22 p.m.):
Et voila! How nice it is to have my old friends back after a decade. Funny thing though … Paul tried to talk me out of it saying where the break was he couldn’t guarantee the soldering job would last. How much, I asked. $25, he said. I told him that for sentimental value alone I’d probably pay $75 just to have these shades whole again, even if for just a day (though I’m going to treat ’em with ultra care in hopes they last longer than that).