By Paula Mitchell
In this community, the shoemaker’s entire occupation involved working with leather. A farmer could mend shoes that needed fixing, but he lacked leather-working skills to make a pair of shoes from scratch.
A cobbler could both make and repair shoes. His shop didn’t require much room for his tools and workbench, but he did require good light to see in order to have precise sewing. It was a slow and hard process to make several pairs of shoes in one day.
Shoemakers made shoes first by making wooden “lasts,” or blocks of foot-shaped wood carved into different sizes. The shoes were made with a single piece of leather that was cut, folded, and fastened to the foot. Next, a leather “upper” was stretched over the last and fastened with glue until it was ready to be fastened to the sole. The sole would be pounded with metal tools and an awl was used to cut holes. Then the upper was removed from the last and the sole and upper were sewn together before the shoe was cleaned, polished, and fitted with a heel. Finally, the shoes were hung in the shoemaker’s store. A standard pair of shoes would take between eight and 10 hours to make. Early shoemakers used the same pattern to make a pair of shoes, meaning the left and right shoes were exactly the same. The shoe would gradually begin to fit the foot properly after some wear. On the upside, that would make them interchangeable. On the downside, they were likely a lot less comfortable
The cobbler’s tools included a knife shaped like an awl, chisel, a scraper, pincers, a hammer, a lapstone, and rubbing sticks for finishing the edges. The lapstone was, as its name suggests, a rounded stone or piece of metal held in the cobbler’s lap so he could hammer leather on it.
George F. Baker, (Henri Baker, born in Germany, Sept. 12, 1854 – May 12, 1942, married to Sarah Jane Mitchell and Anna Magdalene Smith) lived with Arlie and Mary (Crummett) Smith and was known to be a cobbler. He had learned the trade of being a cobbler in Germany and brought it with him. Most families had lasts, chisels, scrapers, pincers, hammers, and tacks to make their own repairs of shoes, once the shoes had been originally made.
Other cobblers were Daniel Puffenbarger and Harvey Simmons.
Shoes cost about the equivalent of a day’s wages. They could last about two years under heavy use before repairs were needed. Here is a famous nursery rhyme about cobblers:
“Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe,
Get it done by half-past two,
Stitch it up, and stitch it down,
Then I will give you half a crown.”
Some of life’s little instructions are as follows:
- Every day look for some small way to improve one’s marriage.
- Know when to speak up.
- Try everything offered by supermarket food demonstrators.
- Regarding furniture and clothes: if a person thinks one will be using them five years or longer, buy the best a person can afford.
- Rekindle old friendships.
The mornings have had temperatures in the 20s, causing one to wear layers of clothing. Frosts have taken the zest out of the fall foliage, leaving them a drab color. Indian Summer arrives this coming week, with temperatures promising to soar up the thermometer.
Quotes for the week are as follows:
“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.” — Lucille Ball
“When you really want to show some love, keep the flowers and say it with spaghetti.” — Rachel Ray
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.” — Andy Rooney
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy
“We find comfort among those who agree with us, growth among those who don’t.” — Frank A. Clark
Sitting by the fireplace is the best place to hear the “Talk of the Grove.”
On Saturday, Shaun, Ava, and Leslie Bowers attended a beautiful wedding for Wells and Holly Warner.
Bill and Donna Arrington celebrated their grandson’s sixth birthday at the VFW pavilion. They had a bounce house for the kids. Everybody had fun.
The Sugar Grove Lions/VFW BBQ chicken was sold out by 8:45 a.m. Saturday morning. It appears that if one would like to have some BBQ chicken, they will have to arrive very early in the morning.
Cindy Puffenbarger celebrated her birthday on Monday. Hope she had a special day.
Bob and Judy Grimm were pleasantly surprised with two nice pumpkins placed on either side of the driveway. Whoever the “pumpkin fairy” is, a great big thank you is sent one’s way to show how much they are appreciated.
Steve and Vickey Smiley of Craigsville, Virginia, and C J Eckard were Tuesday visitors and enjoyed a luncheon in the home of Willard and Judy Rader. Benny and Linda Custer were Thursday visitors in the same and they all enjoyed a drive to enjoy the beautiful leaves and a delicious meal at Gateway. Bill and Charlene Rader of Plantation, Florida, are spending a week at the Rader homestead in Sugar Grove.
Nathan, Ben and Emma Puffenbarger spent Friday night with their grandparents, Robert and Nancy Hodges of Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Last Saturday, Wesley and Becky Puffenbarger drove south on the Skyline Drive. They enjoyed visiting Valley Road Vineyard and Hazy Mountain Brewery. Emma spent Saturday night with Butch and Mary Puffenbarger. Emma says she loves spoiling Pappy and Memow.
Phil Downs visited with K.D. and Verla Puffenbarger this past week. Monday, he joined Evelyn Varner, Wanda Pitsenbarger, and Erma Moats to attend the funeral of Vernon Simmons of Staunton, Virginia.
Visitors of Rosalee Grogg were Junior and Marleta Wimer, Leanna Leap and Hendrix Bogan, Terri Grogg and Claude, Diane Kuykendahl and Dakota Grogg.
Clickety-clacks for the chin waggers are as follows:
- Hailstones larger than softballs have fallen in the United States.
- Australia is wider than the moon.
- People who volunteer are happier than those who don’t.
- “Jingle Bells” was originally intended as a Thanksgiving song.
- John Steinbeck’s dog ate part of a draft of “Of Mice and Men.”
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Mercedes Aumann, Charles Anderson, Bill Arrington, the Lonnie Arbaugh family, Lynn Beatty, Jack Bennett, Jimmy Bennett, the Browning Boggs family, Bill Brackman, Charles Burgoyne, Jeff Evick, the Lee Roy Evick family, Ina Evick, Dan and Margaret Ferrell, Ron Gilkeson, Lola Graham, Marlene Harman, Steve and Armanda Heavner, Starr Hedrick, Gary and Jackie Hills, Virgil Homan, Jr., Charlee Marie Hoover, Keith Hoover, Lorena Hoover, Myrtle Hoover, Enos Horst, Doris Hull, Bob and Cynthia Hurry, Lisa Dawn Jamison, Alice Johnson, Kim Kline, Richard Judy, Melissa Lambert, Robin and Kitty Lambert, Robert Lambert, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Betty Mallow, Roger and Skip Mallow, Yvonne Marsh, Neil McLaughlin, Naomi Michael, Gloria Moats, Joe Moats, Lincoln Moore, Ernie Morgan, Shelby Morrison, Aaron Nelson, Ken and Ruth Nelson, Bennie Nesselrodt, Cheryl Paine, Sutton Parrack, Alda Propst, Betty Lou Propst, Betty Shay Propst, Kathy Propst, Sheldon Propst, Verla Puffenbarger, Pam Rexrode, Donna Ruddle, the Estyl Shreve family, Annie Simmons, Barbara Simmons, Davey Simmons, Erin Simmons, Eva Simmons, the Vernon Simmons family, Robbie Sites, Ona Smith, Stanna Smith, Patricia Swecker, Rosa Tichenor, Sandra Vandevander, Jack Vogel, Ron White, Judy Williams, Larry Wimer and Junior Wimer.