Colleen Hannegan

Finding the words....and the perfect pair of glasses.


Ode to Modern Eyewear

Featured, Spirited WorkColleen HanneganComment

To say goodbye to something you love, after 22 years is no easy feat. Today as I scanned over all the names of my clients, I chose a few to call personally and let them know I was retiring from optical after 31 years. And to let them know how much I’d enjoyed serving them the past 22 years as owner of Modern Eyewear. A few of the 700+ clients have been faithful customers since the beginning and had followed me through three different location moves. Faithful indeed.

When I decided two years ago that the time had come to find the right Optometrist to buy Modern Eyewear, I had myself an awesome cry fest realizing I could not carry it into the future; that it was time to sell to an OD who could bring full service to the clients and offer the business the growth needed I alone could not provide.

Through dark and light, thick and thin, sad days and extremely happy days, Mod Eye and I had survived my youth, my stressful second marriage, then expensive divorce, four different Presidential administrations, two recessions, (or was it three), moving the store three times, an IRS audit, a break-in, flooding from three different storms, my turning 40, then 50 and all those hormonal wild rides that came along. My daughter was 15 when Mode Eye opened. Twenty two years later she is the Optician in charge. I became good friends with so many of my wonderful clients and shared the stories of their lives; their childrens lives, the partners who had cancer, the loved ones who died, losing their jobs, finding new careers and sharing  my adventure stories with them about life after 50. So much shared in over two decades. So much love.

I cried then when I thought about how Mod Eye had been a haven from dark days at home, and became my sanctuary and safer place of love and joy and freedom to be my true self with clients. I loved them and they loved me. It’s ok to write those words down and see them in print. For they are the truest parts of me, the healing joy that blessed my life by serving every one who stepped into a very special place called Modern Eyewear.  I helped them see clearly and oh, how they did the same for me, though they may never realize it.

Now Modern Eyewear has become a new place called Modern Eyewear Optometry. The perfect new owners have arrived and have begun to embrace this special place as their own. A husband and wife team, that are as excited as I was the day I opened for business. I recognize in them, the excitement and first time joy of owning your own business and putting your hand to it and seeing what you might create because you feel the call to be an entrepeneur and serve something bigger and grander than anything you’ve imagined before. And you just KNOW you can do it!

My daughter and optician Leah, remains as full time office manager. Over the past four weeks I’ve assisted her and the doctors in transitioning the business into their care. This afternoon, most of the furniture was put in storage so re-design could begin tomorrow. Some things will remain, but most will be beautifully upgraded to create the new look of “MEO”.

As I made the last of my phone calls from Mod Eye this afternoon, Leah having overheard so many of my good-byes over the last month, said, “Don’t cry, Mom! No more tears!” I replied, “No more crying, ” I smiled.  ”That’s all done. I did all that two years ago!”

We both knew that wasn’t true. She and I had cried a few crocodile tears together this past month knowing our sweet days working together were ending. Her tears falling on my shoulder once as she hugged me from behind. “I’m going to miss you Mom. I’m going to miss working with you and seeing you every day.”

I made sure Leah didn’t need anymore help before I left my official duties today. I turned around to look one last time, at the empty walls, well worn carpet and holes in the walls where the cabinets I had used for 22 years had been this morning; now packed away in storage or ready to be disposed of. So much of my life spent within this space. So many wonderful clients and friends that shared all this with me. Such a wonderful life. What was next everyone had asked. Much rest, some outdoor adventure and then, I don’t know. Another chapter yet to be written.

“When a stargirl cries, she sheds not tears but light.” from the book, Stargirl.

This evening my home was filled with so much light. The happiest and brightest light, my Ode to Modern Eyewear.