Thursday, February 26, 2009
COBBLERS AND KINGS
On a day trip to Sonora, I chanced to meet cobbler, (Eric) Rick Hanson who is Swedish. I dropped some sandals that needed fixing and he thanked me with a “toss a mosha” spelled prominently in his antique and tool laden shop as tac sa mick ca. Since this was my first visit, I stood in awe of the many fascinating artifacts covering the high walls and every nook and cranny of the place and politely listened to customers as they chatted with an amiable neighbor. Rick obviously enjoys the sociability of his business and the ability to discuss local politics, or family relations at leisure.
Cobbler shops are almost extinct and a guy like Rick keeps the craft from disappearing. Curiosity made me wonder and I asked a few questions.
“I began working at Gabe’s Shoe Service in the 50’s. I started doing it with him and then decided to open my own shop. I went full time in 1962 and moved to Sonora in 1972. I guess I just like working with my hands. Its fascinating, creative. The people are wonderful and you are helping someone and independent at the same time. But any success I owe to the good Lord,” claims Rick.
As for the antiques, he always liked them. “I’ve got the Permission To Sail certificate of Eric Jacobson, my grandfather who was born in 1833, set sail in 1851. I also have his marriage License to wed Kathren Johanson, dated 1858, a damn yankee, so the family told. I’m named for a slew of Eric Jacobsons, grandfather after grandfather.
“The Jacobsons were at one time jewelers for the King of Sweden.
“Another a grand master carpenter for the ship building trades. I have my grandfather’s Thesis, which was a hand built and hand veneered wooden box dedicated to Olga, his wife. “State side, one grandfather was among the founding fathers of Dayton, Ohio. He settled and farmed there on 100 acres that he bought for $144 and a contract to pay at $12 per month. I have all the paperwork. I also have relatives on my mother’s side that were hell bent for brimstone Lutheran, and that is just how it was stated in some family papers. Fascinating. Fascinating.”
Rick is definitely fascinating and could have told stories all day, but I had to leave.