Because shoe care matters. Or did, once upon a time

show-care kit

Did the household you grew up in have one of these kits, by any chance?

Our friend Lindi – who writes the excellent Ancestral Roofs and In Search of Al Purdy blogs (both of which I have mentioned numerous times before), and who is a historical and architectural researcher/writer extraordinaire – gave us the perfect gift for the Manse not long ago.

How perfect was it? I’m glad you asked.

It was so perfect that when Lindi presented it to me, wrapped in a bag, doubtless thinking that I would never guess what this oddly shaped thing was, I in fact knew what it was instantly – before it was even out of the bag.

shoe kit open

The contents of the vintage shoe-maintenance kit are several fine wooden-handled brushes, probably all of a different level of coarseness. Now all I need is some shoe polish and I’m off!

And the reason I knew instantly what it was – which was: a home shoe-polishing and maintenance kit, in a wooden box – was that my father had a kit exactly like it when I was a kid growing up at the Manse. It was important for my dad, a United Church minister, to look presentable when he was out on ministerial duty, and in the early 1960s part of looking presentable was having shoes that weren’t all scuffed up. And since there weren’t exactly a lot of shoe-shiners in the little towns near Queensborough (and since there was no money to spare for such luxuries in our household anyway), one had to do one’s shoe care oneself. Hence the need for the shoe-care kit in the wooden box, with the angled thingy on top on which you placed your shoe while polishing and buffing it.

What a wonderful gift! And now it is right back where Dad’s old shoe kit used to be, in the closet of the master bedroom at the Manse. It makes me smile every time I see it; and one of these times I must take out the brushes, acquire some polish, and actually try using it. I would look much more presentable if I did.

And my father would be pleased.

Thank you, Lindi!

7 thoughts on “Because shoe care matters. Or did, once upon a time

  1. And as soon as I saw the email notification of tonight’s post – I in fact knew what this story was instantly – even before I read the first word, or saw the photos! I’m so glad the kit brings happy memories of your well-shined dad ready for church. I have so many old b&w photos of the family (3 of us because dad would have been behind the Brownie box camera), spitted and polished for church. Must scan one and email it to you to compare Sunday Best fashion statements.

      • Denis has been known to 🙂
        Sometime I’ll show you the wonderful old long-handled brush with advertising on the back that Den was using for shoes when first we met – I immediately rescued it for the curiosity that it is. Now I just have to locate it in storage!!

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