Monday, November 10, 2008

Shoes - A Girl's Best Friend

As much as I love the hunt for the perfect pair of shoes, one thing I enjoy even more is the ability to be able to wear those shoes for as long as I want.

For years I’ve been a fan of the cobbler. There aren’t many left and when I recently moved farther north from Boston, finding a new one was a challenge. It’s a dying business. I remember as a child and into my teens the local cobbler was in my town center and my mom would bring her shoes there as needed. I was on a mission, I had to find one.

Lucky for me he did. He’s Russian, an older gentleman and my new best friend!

I stopped by his shop one Saturday afternoon with my bag of shoes – seven pairs to be exact. Heels that needed new heels, soles that needed replacing, snaps that had fallen off, straps that needed sewing. He didn’t blink – it was his business, his craft and I was lucky to find him, although I wouldn’t know until much later how lucky I was.

I pulled out my last pair for him knowing deep in my heart that as much as I’d like to have them fixed, my favorite pair of black Joan and David’s were well beyond their last legs and there would be nothing he could do for them. I was wrong. He picked them up, admiring them as only a shoe aficionado could. “Ah, these are original Joan and David’s,” he said. “Now they only make them in China, but these, these are original. You must have paid over $150 for them.” I did – it was more like $180 and that was nearly 10 years ago. “Can they be saved?” I asked. Fully expecting to hear an apology. Of course they can. And so I handed them off to him with soles that not only were split but were worn through and a hole in the side which was quite embarrassing. “No problem,” he said with a smile. “It’s what I do. Come back Thursday.”

Last Thursday I picked them up. They were like new. A new, sturdier sole, and no hint of where that hole once was. I also had six other pairs of newly fixed and shined shoes. At a total of $70 ($10 per shoe) you can’t beat it. I have what appear to be seven new pairs of shoes for the price of one – and the best part is they are my favorites and are ready to live yet another day – or 10 years – assuming my cobbler friend stays in business.

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