Kawartha Lakes Public Library - Digital Collections
Looking Back: Grazios
, p. 30

Hooper, John, Author
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Item Type:
Written: 28 March 1997
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.35012 Longitude: -78.73286
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Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rightsholder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Kawartha Lakes Public Library
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Agency street/mail address

190 Kent St W.
Lindsay, ON K9V 2Y6
(705) 324-5632

Full Text

I recall the best shoe shine emporium in the town was located on William St. S. on the east side just around the corner from Kent St.

It was a well-run establishment by a short, slim gentleman of Greek origin and if memory serves me correctly, his name was Chris Grazios.

Chris was also very astute when it came to cleaning and blocking hats that we don't hear tell of to-day. Fedoras were, of course, a very popular hat and owners found it much cheaper to have Chris clean and block them rather than renew them every few months.

I remember in particular how his male customers would hop up on his bench and place their shoes on the metal forms and for 10 cents Chris would go to work making their shoes look like new.

He would always wash the shoes off with a wet rag and then take a small oil can, containing gasoline, and put a squirt or two on the shoes to rid them of any stains that might have been thereon.

From there on it was great to see a master at his work. Bare fingers would slap the polish on the shoes but only after he had tucked the shoe laces in between the sock and shoe. Then came the brushes. With one in each hand he would brush the shoes until he neared a good shine.

The finishing touch would come when he would take a soft cloth and pass it over the top of the shoes and then around the heels, snapping the rag as he went along, until one could almost see their faces in the toes.

There was a story about the time a fellow bet Chris one dollar that he couldn't convert a black shoe into a brown one and then return it back to its' normal state again.

Although it took the best part of an hour, the master had completed the task and picked up the dollar his customer had bet him.

There is a lesson to be learned here; a layperson should never make a foolish bet with a master of his trade!

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Looking Back: Grazios