Letters to the Editor

Shoe shine boys once roamed Fresno's streets

This letter has nothing to do with all the political jabber-jabber. This has to do with a much more important issue -- the shoe shine, and the era when 8-, 9- and 10-year-old street-savvy entrepreneurs roamed the streets of Fresno shining shoes. These kids were masters of their craft.

The tools of their trade were an old shoe rag, a toothbrush, shoe brush and various cans of shoe polish. They carried these tools in their homemade shoe shine boxes. The price for their services was hand-written on the sides of their boxes.

Winter, spring, summer and fall, these hardworking kids would be out there, from downtown to Chinatown, spit-shining shoes. They would pop that shoe rag and brush that shoe as if they were searching for a new sound.

There were no crybabies or spoiled brats in this league of kids. These kids of the shoe shine era, that I speak of, weren't like many of the Toys-R-Us kids of today. My salute goes out to all those kids of the past with their shoe shine boxes.

Robert D. Palacios