Wearing A Bit Of Family History

Day 6 - Eyeglasses Watercolor Blue - Doodlewash

Just this past weekend, I picked up a new pair of glasses, which is not particularly noteworthy, but these came with a story behind them. I own contacts, but rarely wear them because they usually dry out at some point in the day and become uncomfortable. My previous glasses had to be taken off in order to see things close up properly and my doctor told me I was dangerously close to needed bifocals. Instead, he gave me a new prescription and recommended a special lens that’s far more subtle, but would help with the reading of menus. I was fine with my previous glasses and fine with simply taking them off when required, so I didn’t buy a new pair at the time. Then, when Philippe and I were in Paris a couple of months ago, his mother brought out several pairs of glasses that had once belonged to my father-in-law. He passed away at the end of 2016, shortly after Philippe and I had just visited, so we had to quickly return to France within a couple of weeks for the funeral. When Philippe’s mother brought out one particular pair, I was completely fascinated. They were a wildly bright and translucent Doodlewash blue and neither Philippe nor I had ever seen him wear them. So, I selected those frames and Philippe took a pair of very retro sunglasses. I finally made it to the eye doctor to drop them off and now have my brand new prescription housed in a rather unexpected family heirloom. I really cherish these new glasses.

Prior to visiting France, Philippe and I had been watching a French show on television where people bring in their antiques to be assessed and then bid on by a panel of antique dealers. One of the dealers is known for his impossibly blue glasses and I told Philippe that I wanted a pair like that. We looked online at various places, but couldn’t find anything at all similar anywhere. I secretly wanted to try my new prescription, but I didn’t want to pay for frames I didn’t really want. So, when Philippe’s mother pulled out these particular glasses, we both looked at each other rather stunned. They were the perfect blue, one that could only be painted from my watercolor palette and exactly the glasses I had imagined in my mind. I think I managed to calmly accept them, but I was so moved for so many reasons that I’m not sure now how I reacted. My mother-in-law simply wanted those frames to have a bit of a second life. A chance to see the world again with new eyes. And, as an artist, that’s all I ever really hope for every single day.

I didn’t get to really know my father-in-law that well and only saw him on a very few occasions before he passed. He was already ill and at the end of his life, but the creative spark I saw in his eyes is one I still see in Philippe each day. Also, he was an amazing chef, something I actually did get to experience, which gave Philippe his own joy of cooking. That’s the beautiful thing about family. It extends beyond our own lives and continues on for generations. We’re but a moment in a long history of people that have come before us and people who will come after us. Even if we’ve never even met them, they’ve already played a role in our lives. They’ve placed a piece of the puzzle that will reveal who we will ultimately become. And I love knowing that these glasses will still get that second chance to see the world. I can only hope to honor the eyes that came before me and make choices that would make those eyes smile. Life is incredibly short, but it never really ends. There are memories and joys that follow those we adore well past our own time here. While there are certainly people who achieve fame, the rest of us can still rest assured that we were, at the very least, once famous to someone who loved us. And I’m honored, humbled and thrilled to start each new day, wearing a bit of family history.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Eyeglasses Watercolor Blue - Doodlewash
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
36 Comments
  1. louiseaprimeau 9 months ago

    Those glasses were just meant to be yours. This is a touching post! Love items with a story behind them as the item then is so much more meaningful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Louise! 😃💕So happy you enjoyed this story. I adore these glasses and I’m so proud to wear them now.

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 9 months ago

    This is one of the sweetest stories you’ve written, full of memory and heirlooms and seeing past generations in the person you love. It’s not just about sight but having a vision. Just a lovely story, Charlie. I’ve read it twice.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Wow… thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 What a sweet compliment. I’m so happy you enjoyed the writing on this one. I ramble, as you know, so it means a lot to me to know the intent and emotion came through in the writing.

  3. Sharon Nolfi 9 months ago

    Beautiful story of the frames! They’re perfect for you!

  4. memadtwo 9 months ago

    What a wonderful story Charlie. And that is a great blue! (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this. This is my favorite blue, so it was amazing to discover a pair of family glasses in the same color!

  5. Jodi 9 months ago

    how wonderful! I hope you will share a photo of you with the glasses on!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Jodi! 😃💕 hehe… yeah… you know me… I don’t really do selfies. But… there’s a prompt coming later this month, so… who knows! 😉

  6. Lisa 9 months ago

    Cool frames! I currently have red ones with red rhinestones. I tried contacts twice. Once in HS, just didn’t work out. The second time in grad school dried my eyes out so much that at one point I passed out in a class. I found out that I have really big eyes and therefore don’t blink completely. Hence the dry eyes. So it’s been glasses ever since. I have bifocals too. They have no lines, so no one can tell.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Glad you liked them! Now you’ve got me wondering if I might just as big eyes as well! hehe… contacts just dry up in 4-5 hours, so I just sort of abandoned them unless if only for going out in the evening.

  7. LoriCtoo 9 months ago

    So when will we see a color pic of you in your new specs??? What a great story and sketch of them!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Hehe! Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Yeah, I know I do everything wrong… one is meant to post the requisite selfie every now and again, but I’ve never liked doing that. I may perhaps sketch myself later this month though when the right prompt arrives.

      • LoriCtoo 9 months ago

        That’ll work! We are all imaginative people. 😉

  8. Laura Hale 9 months ago

    Thank you Charlie for sharing such a touching story. They really are cool glasses. I’m part of the bifocal crowd too, but hey–we’re pretty cool too. ;op

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Laura! 😃💕 Glad you liked these and this story. And yes!! Even though my doctor assured me mine are not “yet” bifocals… they work the same way! lol Yay to the bifocal crowd… we are totally the coolest! 😉

  9. creatingincolors 9 months ago

    What a special story. Things like those meaningful blue glasses are real treasures in our lives.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      So happy you enjoyed this! 😃💕 Yes… the littlest treasures can mean the most in life indeed!

  10. June Hadaway 9 months ago

    This is such a great story. These frames will always be your favorite. I am a certified optician. Having been in the business for over 20 years. We collected a lot of used frames over the years to pass on but the best was when someone came in to have lenses put in frames that were heirlooms. I found one of the hardest thing to do when my husband passed was to find just the right person to give his glasses to. Especially someone like yourself who will remember who tgey came from and cherish them. I still have a few pairs I just can’t part with.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 I had no idea you were a certified optician, or somehow forgot that along the way. That’s so cool! And that’s so sweet of you to say. I truly cherish these glasses. I’m sure you’ll find just the right person to cherish your husband’s glasses as well!

  11. pmschulteavon 9 months ago

    It was definitely fate that those cool glasses were meant to be yours! I’m in the bifocal crowd but talked my Dr. into two single-vision pairs. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Yes, I think these were destined to be mine indeed! 😃💕 And yeah, I’m okay with being in the bifocal crowd… I think it just means we’re a bit wiser, right? 😉

  12. Mary Roff 9 months ago

    Wonderful story, Charlie, and what an honor to wear those frames!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 It does feel like an honor and one I cherish each day now!

  13. smzang 9 months ago

    Charlie says, “That’s the beautiful thing about family. It extends beyond our own lives and continues on for generations. We’re but a moment in a long history of people that have come before us and people who will come after us. Even if we’ve never even met them, they’ve already played a role in our lives. They’ve placed a piece of the puzzle that will reveal who we will ultimately become.”

    To know this while you are still young is a beautiful gift. It gives added meaning to most mundane minute. It reminds that we are gifted with a legacy that we preserve while adding to it. that is a pretty iawesome destiny!

    The glasses or super neat and the story is soul touching.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕It’s such an awesome destiny… I’m so happy you liked this one. These glasses mean so much to me!

  14. anna warren portfolio 9 months ago

    Serendipity! That is such a wonderful, heart warming story. You will cherish those glasses. And they look very cool!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Anna! 😃💕 It was totally serendipity! I adore these glasses even more for the story behind them!

  15. Sandra Strait 8 months ago

    Those glasses (both your painting and the real life version) are seriously cool! I hope I get to see you wearing them some day!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 I was so thrilled when my mother-in-law pulled them out of that drawer! I was thinking… I want them!! And I am finally appearing on video next month (more revealed soon), and I just might wear them! 😉

  16. Kara Goldsborough 8 months ago

    What a beautiful story and tribute to your father in law!

  17. JB 8 months ago

    A truly touching mini memoir that maxes on familial sentiment and appreciation for those tiny precious legacies that can easily be overlooked. It has so inspired my to work today on a WC sketch of my own sunglasses.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      That’s so awesome to hear! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled this inspired you in your own watercolor sketch! That’s always my hope when I show up each day!

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