Friday, September 16, 2011
Leather bag and memories of shoe repairs
First, you have to let me show you the bag that I designed and had it made a few years ago.
It travelled half of the planet and landed with me here in another country.
At that time I did not have a powerful machine to stitch through the leather, so I took the leather pieces to a shoe repairs booth and paid less than one dollar to get it made--by that kind of hand cranked black metal shoe repair machine.
Even now, there still are a lot of shoe repair booths in smaller cities, or ,in a big city's back street corners.
I love those memories of shoe repairing time when I was small. I used to enjoy very much when I was told to bring a shoe to the repair booth in my home town, which was a mountain village occupied by less than 10 thousand people.
I liked to watch the cobbler doing his job. It always give me great satisfaction watching him get his job done, say, a falling heal put back, a worn out sole mend anew, dropped stitches sewn back, or two pieces of moon-shaped iron punched to the newly bought shoes' heals.
It was almost like I did the job...I admired the cobbler's rough, dirty, strong, gnarled fingers immensely.
Probably not only myself is missing the good old times, when a pair of shoes supposed to last for many years.
I found these pictures of shoe repair booth statues. Now the real cobblers might be too old to stay fit, or maybe the city doesn't allow them to be there any more, or probably they have something else to do, like enjoy taking care of their grandchildren or making big moneys using their skills and brains...
My father used to repair our plastic saddles by himself. Once a year, we could have a new pair of bright coloured plastic saddles bought specially for the summer, for us to go to the river to bath. Usually they would not last long, as the quality of plastic at that time was not as good as it now, they were stiff, non flexible. When our saddles broke, we often shed tears and gave a good cry over the accident. Then, my father would mend it for us. before night falling, after dinner, in front of the fading cooking fire. He used a iron hook as the tool, put it into the cooking fire and heat it up until it turned red, then he would put the red iron bar in between the broken plastic pieces.an awful smell rose and swirling around our heads..Don't touch, he would say, it is still hot.......After that, after it cooled down .We could have a scarred pair of plastic shoes for the rest of the summer.