Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Get New Glasses for the Desert

It seems like a good idea to get as many things in the US as possible before we make Aliyah. Mitzpe Ramon has no opticians, Be'er Sheva being the closest city at 50 miles away that does. Getting new glasses is very stressful. It's one of the things that changes your appearance more than anything else, perhaps dentistry being the second, so I am stressed out about doing this, putting it off for the last minute.

I've never been happy with the opticians I've used in New Jersey. Some have been down right truculent, like when I told one that some progressive lenses had a manufacturing defect. They couldn't see it, but so what! I was the one who had to look through the glasses.

So I decided to try out a new (to me) place in downtown Englewood called Jacqueline Stanley. (JS has been there for 12 years, but this is the first time I've been in.) I was looking for something more stylish and different than the regular wire-frame glasses I usually get, and "Jacqueline Stanley" sounded very chique.

I wanted tortoise shell frames, since I've always liked an old pair of tortoise shell reading glasses I've had for about 20 years. Jacqueline Stanley had about every style of tortoise shell frame you can imagine and then some. Jacqueline, one of the two owners, goes to Europe every year to visit the optical trade shows where she finds very stylish, handmade frames from France, Italy, and England. Deffinitely not your run-of-the-mill, mass produced Chinese product! Not only did she regale me with more than a dozen choices, she also showed me some unusual titanium frames from Paris that had tortoise shell temples. The titanium frames are great, especially for rugged desert life. You can tie them in a knot without damaging them and they spring back to their original shape. They are also naturally springy, which helps keep them firmly attached to your head.

Some of my many choices at Jacqueline Stanley

After trying on many of the frames Jacqueline showed me, I finally settled on the roundish, titanium frames at the top of this post. I liked the titanium metal very much, and the tortoise temples gave it a softer, more finished look. It didn't hurt that the lenses were roundish, my historically favorite shape that also results in the thinnest lens. Pam accompanied me for the first time ever in choosing new frames, and I got her to take these photos, without which I never would have been able to see what I looked like with the frames on, since I am blind as a bat without my glasses.

I am very finicky about my prescription since I am very near-sighted and now use tri-focals. A lively discussion ensued in the shop about new computer-driven machining for progressive lenses. It made me feel so inadequate that I couldn't use them (never have been able to use progressives or contacts) that I said I felt like crying. In any case, Stan(ley), Jacqueline's business partner, is an expert optician, teaches his trade in New Jersey, and has trained many of the opticians in the area. So, I felt I was in very good hands with him.

Stan(ley) and Jacqueline (Note the stylish specs)

All in all, a very pleasurable and satisfying experience at Jacqueline Stanley. As Stan said, "No one ever feels like they had to settle when they leave Jacqueline Stanley." Highly recommended.

Jacqueline Stanley, opticians
12 East Palisade Ave.
Englewood, NJ 07631


  1. Trifocals! What are trifocals? Is that what you get when you're so old that your bifocals need their own pair of glasses? What's next, quadrifocals?

    I can definitely relate to the anxiety of getting new glasses. When you're a neurotic anything "eye related" is always trouble. I used to bring three pairs of glasses whenever I went camping, plus a pair of sports goggles. The way I rationalized it was that glasses are more important than underwear, and if I was bringing a few pair of those, 2,3, or 4 pairs of glasses...

    Here's to your new pair of tortoise shell glasses. May they never pinch your nose or bite into your ear. By the way, what are tortoise shell glasses? Are they actually made from the shells of tortoises?

  2. They aren't made from tortoise shell anymore, but they used to be made from the shells of Hawkesbill Turtles in the '70s and '80s. Since the turtle is now endangered, trade in it is banned.


  3. The opposite happened with shtreimels. The originals were made out of rats and other "lesser rodents". Today, a quality shtreimel has to come from an animal on the endangered species list.

    Q: What did one mink say to another mink?

    A: See you in shul.


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