The answer’s more involved than my father working as a shoe repair man. When I watched my father stand over the last, his face less than a foot from his work, he concentrated deeply. The shoes he fixed were perfect. He sewed leather with thick thread, pounded soles, buffed and polished.
This perfectionism carried over to me. It’s what got me in trouble in preschool when a kid stuck a felt eyebrow upside on the face we were making in class and I yelled, “He did it wrong.” The teacher put a finger to her lips and frowned in my direction. I was four–already an editor. As I came of age, I loved the exactitude of words spelled correctly, coloring inside the lines and memorizing nursery rhymes.
He toiled Monday through Saturday, 9 to 9 for the first several years he owned his business. And when I was five, I got my first job peeling boiled eggs at the Gondola Restaurant for three dollars a day. I am a cobbler’s daughter for my work ethic. I’ve been a door-to-door greeting card saleswoman, papergirl, babysitter, fast-food employee, lifeguard, diet aide, retail sales clerk, navy data technician, video store clerk, teacher, tech writer, the list goes on.
My father taught me “Work will see you through.” For this gift, I am most grateful.