Museum L-A honors shoe workers' history by djsgjg0045


									LEWISTON 鈥?Herbert Koss remembers coming home in the summer so dirty from
cleaning shoe warehouses with his dad and older brother Eddie that his mom had to
scrub them down:鈥淲 e looked like we came out of a minstrel show.鈥漁 ne of Irene
Harvey 鈥檚 jobs during 40 years in shoe shops: plugging with hot cement:鈥淵 ou
only got 2 cents a rack. So if you want to make money, you've got to go, so you had a
lot of burnt fingers.鈥滾 orraine Brown and Jeannine Roy have spent their lives in the
industry. They won 鈥 檛 give it up. Both 77-year-old women refuse to talk
retirement.They 鈥檙 e five of the 52 faces.Museum L-A launched its new exhibit
Saturday, 鈥淧 ortraits & Voices: Shoemaking Skills of Generations,鈥?with private
and public receptions that had 500-plus people reading snippets of oral histories next
to 52 portraits of people who lived and worked shoes.Executive Director Rachel
Desgrosseilliers said it was the most complex exhibit the museum had undertaken,
about three years in the making.鈥淭 hey have such pride, such pride in what they
were doing,鈥?she said. ghd straighteners Some of the portraits, by documentary
photographer Mark Silber, show the men and women now relaxing at home, retired
after long careers. Some are still on the job, at machines. Their stories tell of fun times,
trying times and decades of dedication.One shoe worker, Barney Charest, contacted
the museum for a follow-up interview from his hospital bed, saying, 鈥淵 ou don 鈥
檛 understand, we have to do this now.鈥滵 esgrosseilliers said oral historian Andrea
L 鈥橦 ommedieu spent a half-hour with him before Charest told her, 鈥淥 K, I think
it 鈥檚 time. Can you ask my wife to come in? He passed an hour after we left,
鈥?Desgrosseilliers said.Charest 鈥檚 wife, Louise, is holding his picture in his
portrait. cheap ghds The exhibit features several family members, like the Koss
brothers, and three generations of Rancourts: David, Michael and Kyle
鈥?grandfather, father, son.Roger Nadeau is one of the 52 and a museum volunteer.
He started in shoe shops at 16.鈥淚 relocated a lot, aggressive, always looking to
make an extra nickel,鈥?he said. He retired after 30 years at Falcon Shoe.鈥淚 think
it 鈥檚 quite an honor to go down in history for other generations,鈥?Nadeau
said.Morris Silverman walked the long museum room recognizing many of the faces.
Silverman has owned Louie 鈥檚 Clothing, a clothier to generations of shoe shop
workers, for 61 years.鈥淭 he shoe industry was not just a place that people worked
鈥?it was a foundation for the community,鈥?he said. 鈥淲 e don 鈥檛 have that
today. People work here, they work there. It 鈥檚 a culture we don 鈥檛 have.鈥?

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