Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How the Glass Buster was cured by the Glass Doctor

by Terry Grillo

VOLCANO - It began as a normal Saturday, with a few chores and projects - all quite pleasant - and quickly crashed into grief all around me.

My wife asked me to hang a very old, hand-colored photograph of her grandparents. It is their wedding photo and dates from around the First World War, so it is probably a century old. Held in a lovely old frame, it’s covered with the kind of raised and curved glass popular in those days, but now found rarely and in antique shops.

Joseph Kusic arrived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from his native Slovenia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in the early years the 20th century. Three years later he sent for his intended after she told him that if he didn't get busy and do something about their relationship she was going to marry a fellow from the next village.

You see, my wife comes from strong and strong-minded stock. Her grandmother Mary had little patience with Joseph, even though he was thousands of miles away, across a broad and heaving ocean. No matter: either get on with it or get along.

And so, the precious photograph was delivered to me for hanging on the living room wall. Well, how tough can that be, I thought to myself. Armed with a hammer, a nail and a small level, I proceeded to prepare the indicated spot on the wall. Looking back, I probably should not have tried to hold the tools and the photograph at once, but that's a lesson for the next time – if there is one.

It happened, as such tragedies do, lightning-fast but also in extreme slow motion. A simple slip of my hand and the lovely old frame began to slide down the wall, gaining speed as it fell...dang that pesky gravity. Down and down it went and I was frozen in the spot, watching my grief unfold. It seemed to take minutes, not a fraction of a second. It hit the floor like the blade of guillotine. The smack of impact was immediately followed by the tinkle of broken glass.

"Well Buster, now you've done it," I remember saying to myself.

The look on my wife's face would have frozen Lake Erie, whole and solid, and I have yet to unthaw, in parts.

I knew immediately that if I did not repair this, my pleasant existence on this lovely plane would be questionable. I spent a few minutes in panic on-line, searching for curved antique glass for an old photograph. The search returns were legion and irrelevant. You must find the exact piece for the frame with the exact curve. No manufacturers came up.

Panic deepened. And then I had a thought: maybe the Glass Buster should call the Glass Doctor in Jackson. I knew Mark Borchin from mutual business endeavors and as a past president of the local chamber of commerce. Maybe there was a glimmer of hope.

My tense email to Borchin was returned with: "Bring it in so I can get specs. I will research. I have always been told that we can find anything or get it manufactured."Tentative relief followed. Mark and his staff carefully measured the broken pieces and the curve, and he explained that the Glass Doctor corporation has a comprehensive intranet where such searches can be made.

It took a few weeks, but a source was found – in Texas of all places. The new glass slid into the frame with ease and everything looks like the original. Whether I will be allowed to hang the precious artifact again is in question. 

Let’s hope that when the thaw is achieved, another opportunity will arise, especially now that I know where to go if time, gravity and ill fate combine once again.
Mark Borchin, owner of the Glass Doctor in Jackson, Amador County, holds the restored glass with antique frame and photo that the author dropped right in front of his wife. The photo, frame and new glass, and the ham-fisted hanger survive, thanks to Mr. Borchin.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"History By The Creek" returns, with Frank Tortorich's rendition of "Bear Flag Revolt of 1846" - Sat June 15

HISTORY BY THE CREEK - Sat June 15 from 5-6PM, Creekside, Minnie Provis Park, Sutter Creek Back by popular demand, “History by the Creek” returns to Minnie Provis Park.

Local historian Frank Tortorich will be sharing his rendition of the “Bear Flag Revolt of 1846” which Frank refers to as the “Silly Little War”. Frank’s style of historical story telling is humorous and entertaining, and always very interesting.

Bring a lawn chair, refreshments and snacks if you like and come down to the Creek in Minnie Provis Park to enjoy this FREE and fun experience. Brought to you by the Sutter Creek Visitor Center. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 6, 2014


Hey Amador County! Some intrepid student reporters toured Fiddletown and put together this student project. Enjoy! Starts with a short KCRA clip and goes from there. Thanks for sharing your great town with us!

Sent by:
Nellie Norris Bloom
Rancho Murieta