Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

September 25, 2011

Dad’s Shoeshine Box

Filed under: At home,Family — Janice @ 10:10 pm

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I’m bound and determined to write something, anything, more often. I thought to myself that I could at least just put up a picture and write something about it, but that proved harder than I thought it would because each photo seemed wrong in some way or another.

Then I found the picture of Dad’s shoeshine box that I’ve meant to write about before so I might as well right now. This is the box that Daddy kept his shoeshine supplies in all my life… several old toothbrushes to spread the polish, a brush to brush it in good, and strips of old khaki pants to do the final polish. Mackie and I would sometimes BEG to get to polish Daddy’s boots. The kit was always in the back of his closet.

When he died in 2006 I said I wanted the shoeshine kit, just because it was such a part of my whole life. I always liked the fact that the box was wooden and has a little ring on the top to pull the lid out with. It has had a label, as you can see, but I had never studied it or wondered where this box had come from. Mark examines things more thoroughly than I do.

Mark studied the label more closely and said, “You know what this once held?” No, I said. “Embalming fluid.”

It made sense. Daddy worked at a couple of funeral homes in Lubbock when he was going to college. He often said he might have become an undertaker if he hadn’t gone home in the summer and came back to find someone else had taken his job. This box was the heavy duty box that embalming fluid was shipped in from the funeral supply company in St. Louis.

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Inside were all sorts of ancient shoe products. I bet everyone of these was at least 20 years old and that blue bottle probably went back to the 1960s.

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There was quite a variety of boot polishes, too from Gibson’s, TG&Y, and Skaggs along with generic grocery store tags. 33 cents, 27 cents, 53 cents… a timeline of price increases.

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This was the pile of everything that was in the box when I cleaned it out (with a view of a curious Phil checking it out). There were even some of those paper towel rags from motels with “For Your Convenience” printed on them. When was the last time a motel considered that you might want to polish your shoes in their rooms? I did toss the old rags and I think I tossed most of the toothbrushes, but of course I put the bottles and cans and brushes all back in the box and put the box back on our fireplaces as a conversation starter.

Smells hold so many memories and just popping the top on that box takes me back to the 60s and my childhood in an instant.

1 Comment »

  1. That box held a lot of stuff!

    Comment by Pat — September 28, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

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