And so I trudged on. I remember first calling my Uncle Merv – my Dad’s brother. He was over 80 at the time. I don’t believe that I had spoken to him for at least 20 or maybe even 30 years. He and my dad had split somewhat after he and my father had ended their partnership in the family company, California Optical Leather Company – a company that manufactured eyeglass cases – a company that was started by my grandfather, Mervyn Marks, Sr. in the late 1930s. He had started making key cases out of leather and had the good fortune to get a contract during the Second World War to manufacture eyeglass cases for Ray-Ban, who was providing sunglasses to the Air Force. More about that later.
Uncle Merv was probably my first “older relative” contact. All of my Mother’s “blood” relatives had passed. And I seemed to have more of an interest in my Father’s side of the family – probably because I knew so little about them. I was closer to my Father’s family anyway – since I had worked at the “Shop” as we called the company since I was little.