Wednesday 5 December 2018

Shoe polish

- you know what I mean?
It's that sticky sort of stuff you dab a brush into and then all over your shoes and then, supposedly, rub it up to a nice shine.
When I was a very young kitten it was the Senior Cat's job to clean all the household shoes. He would line them up each morning and go down the line in order of size and then send us off to practice the complex business of tying our laces.
As we grew older it became my job and then my brother's job to clean the shoes. All our "school" shoes were heavy "lace up" or "Oxford" type shoes. They were called "Pathfinder" and made by Clarks. My sisters and I had brown. My brother had black. We all wanted the sort of shoes that had t-bars and that you only needed to buckle up but my mother did not like those. I never found out why. The only "proper" shoes we had were those heavy lace up shoes. My sisters and I  envied the other girls who had black patent leather shoes (with a single strap) to wear on Sundays and white sandals to wear out of school.
We also had what would now be called "sneakers" for around home in the summer. We called them "sand shoes". Mine were passed on by a mother whose daughter was "delicate" and who never moved far. Those sand shoes were barely worn by her. I put holes in the toes very rapidly. Because of my propensity to kick the toes out of all footwear I don't think I had a new pair of sand shoes until I reached the second year of the secondary school. Those sand shoes were cleaned with a sort of white, chalky liquid. Cleaning them was a waste of time but of course our parents didn't think  like that. 
Over the years, as a little more money came into the house, we eventually had "school shoes" and "best shoes" and "sand shoes". My siblings had "thongs" (flip-flops) too. They were cheap and lasted an entire summer.
Shoe fashions changed and there was "light tan" and "dark tan" as well as "black" polish in the cupboard.  I can remember we eventually had a tin of "navy" in the cupboard. Oh, we had to  buy a new brush for that tin! The odd thing is that I cannot remember who had navy shoes. It must have been my mother but I cannot remember her shoes at all. I know exactly what my father wore. I know exactly what my siblings and I wore.
Yes, there was a limited range of shoes available - far more so than now. And yes, we were short of money - although not quite as short as my mother made us believe. She simply didn't see the need for us to wear anything else.
Yesterday I went to a "boot maker". He has a tiny little shop in a side street between two halves of a local shopping centre. I needed shoe polish,  blue shoe polish. I was told he had some. Yes, he did. He had  pale blue, mid blue, dark blue, navy, dark red, bright red, tartan green, khaki green, grey and more. He had the sort you brush on and the sort you sponge on. He had other cleaning materials too. I looked. I picked up the right sort of blue. He approved. I paid for it.
The polish was, as such things go, expensive. But these are my summer shoes. They are not brown. They are not lace up. They are blue. They are t-bar in design. But, they don't have a buckle - they have velcro fastenings. Hmmm....that may be even better.
I doubt my mother would approve but I like them.


Jodiebodie said...
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Jodiebodie said...

It's good to know there are still good shoemakers around. I remember having to polish my black school shoes every Sunday evening ready for a new school week on Monday.
Good for you - having those coveted T-bar style shoes and in a fun colour at last. That says 'happiness' to me.