As I was searching for shoe polish on my shelf where I thought it was, I thought back to my grandmother and mother.
My grandmother walked a short distance to town. I don't know how far or for how long. But, I seem to remember it was one mile and for a short time. Mama said when her mother walked to town, she always wore old shoes and carried her good ones in a bag. Memaw then sat down in edge of town and changed to her good shoes.
Mama said all the other women who walked to town wore their good shoes to town and thought it strange that my grandmother changed shoes.
When I was a child, I remember my mother polishing our shoes. Before I wrote this, I tried to remember when she did this, the time frame. I remember her polishing our shoes from first grade through eighth grade. I was the oldest, so she did this much longer. Plus, I remember polishing my own shoes in seventh and eighth grade. Maybe she did it sometimes for those last two years. Since my youngest brother was born when I was in high school, I suppose she polished shoes longer.
My mother did not just polish our shoes once a week, she polished them every night. We were poor, but we had the cleanest shoes in school, of that I am sure. I remember noticing other kids with scuffed shoes. We only had one pair of shoes, so they were worn at home, in the yard, walking to the school bus stop, and on the playground at school.
I don't remember anything but lace up leather shoes. But, each night she faithfully washed the mud or dust off, rubbed on the wax polish and buffed all four pair of shoes. She performed this act of love whether she was ill, overworked, abused, or pregnant. I never went to school with shoes not freshly polished.
For Sunday, we three girls wore patent leather shoes. Did you? I took a wet cloth and removed every speck of dirt and put Vaseline on them to make them shine and rubbed it all off and rubbed them often before leaving for church. I suppose all the Vaseline I put on my shoes just drew dusty dirt to the shoes...lol. Mama told me not to use so much. I cared for these shoes.
Outside church before entering I knelt to get all the dust off. I remembering carrying a bit of toilet paper in my patent leather purse to wipe off my shoes before entering the church. One day, some ladies were smiling at my wiping my shoes. I thought they were smiling because my shoes were shiny. Now, I imagine they were smiling at the third-grader keeping her shoes shiny.
I don't know if we used shoe polish or shoe cream. As for the difference in shoe cream and shoe paste (both are shoe polish): Shoe cream has a higher oil content and a lower wax content, and shoe paste is just the opposite with a lower oil content and a higher wax content.
She used a small rag to apply and spread the shoe polish. Then, she held the shoe between her knees and buffed them with another rag drawn back and forth, like at a shoeshine stand. She finished them my buffing them all over with the same rag.
Back to now. One shoe toe is exceptionally scuffed to the point of little polish. This is from dragging my foot on the one high step at the door! This is an older pair, but it is the pair without a hole in the sole. It cannot be seen on the other pair, but water does seep through. I just hope the best old pair will work with polish and not have a leak. Maybe Santa will bring me new shoes!
Kiwi was the brand at WM. It seems that we used Cavalier brand.
Did anyone else have a mother who polished school shoes every night? Did you ever use Cavalier brand? What brand did you use then and now? Do you polish your leather shoes regularly? Do you have these kinds of memories about your mother's loving sacrifices? Share with me.