Friday, August 15, 2008

Old Shoes

“Can you fix the toe on the right shoe?” I asked as I showed Joe the pair of 5-year-old black Eccos which had certainly seen better days. “Hey, I know what those shoes cost. It’s worth a try. Let me see what I can do,” he answered.

I feel about old shoes the same way I feel about old toasters, old blenders, old things that I’m not ready to part with. I just can’t bear to throw out a pair of shoes I like until I know it’s hopeless.

I grew up in a family that got new heels, toe plates, and even half-soles to prolong the life of a pair of shoes that still fit. I can still remember the wonderful smell of shoe polish as I opened the brown paper bags they would come home in.

Today I still take my shoes to old Joe, the big African American guy who has run the Bradlee Shoe Repair store for as long as I can remember. Every time I go in, the pile of shoes behind the counter is a little higher. I sometimes wonder if anyone is coming back for a lot of those old shoes.

True to his word, Joe repaired my Eccos reinforcing the toes and polishing them until they looked close to brand new. There’s a lot of walking left in those old shoes.

Check out this butterfly which was not there for shoe repair, but rather to soak up the afternoon sun on the side of the building.


Blogger bulletholes said...

Is that a real Butterfly?
I've ne'er seen one like looks more like a jellyfish.

1:11 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Is that a Luna moth maybe?
I'll go look it up.
Gorgeous- regardless of what it is.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Bulletholes, Gewels -- I have never before seen anything like this insect. At first I thought it was just some sort of "shell". I would love to put a name to it if you figure it out.

But back to shoes -- Do you think many people still take their shoes to be repaired, or do they just throw them out with all their other broken garbage?

2:01 PM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

barb, I started to say that there was a shoe store a few years back close by me that went out of business because people would bring in shoes and not come back.
From what I understand, that is also why you can hardly find a small appliance repair shop these days....people don't come back and you can buy replacements so cheaply.

myself..i can't afford an expensive pair of shoes so I do like everybody else and just buy cheap replaceables.
I'll let Gewels tell you about the Moth...she was right!

2:07 PM  
Blogger lettuce said...

i love that 3rd photo.

i still sometimes repair favourite shoes myself.... sometimes it works

2:32 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Bulletholes -- I think the growing pile of broken shoes is an indication of abandonment here, too. Joe must have enough paying customers who return to pick up their shoes that he's able to stay in business. He only charged me $5 to fix my shoes.

Lettuce -- You do seem like the sort of person who would not want to throw something away that still had life in it!

As for the photos, I rather like the two posters that have been on the wall for as long as I have been going there that advocate shoe repair!

3:41 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I used to get my shoes repaired, re souled, etc. It's a good reminder that I don't have to throw them out on the street and buy new ones.

The moth is a Luna moth. Very auspicious!

9:13 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya, Gewels -- Luna Moth reminds me of a beautiful character by that name based on Rosa Saks in the graphic novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. The body and wings of the moth almost looked velvety. It was very COOL!

9:25 AM  
Blogger focusfinder said...

That's a good grab shot, Barbara.

2:12 PM  

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