Ever since the fourth grade after school hours, Frank Catalfumo, now 91 years old, has been making shoes.
He started helping his father in the Brooklyn-based business, then took over and now he helps his son.
The New Yorker went to trade school for making shoes. As a WWII veteran, he reopened the store in 1949.
“And I”m still here,” he said in the film.
Cohen’s film doesn’t just focus on Catalfumo’s trade, but his long-time residence in the Brooklyn neighborhood. When he was first starting out, there were more than a half a dozen shoe repair shops and several grocery stores within a few block radius.
“And now there’s nothing,” he said, wearing a Goodyear apron. “Different worlds.” It was a friendly neighborhood then, he said.
Back in the day, ladies could sit and wait for their heels to be repaired. A new pair of soles on a men’s shoes cost $1.50.
Catalfumo’s son is the reason, he says, that he’s not retired. Michael dropped out of college and took up the shoe repair business. Catalfumo comes in five days a week to help.
“What would you be doing at home, Dad?” Michael asked.
With a smirk he replied, “I’d be fighting with your mother.” Then when Michael mentions sarcastically that she’d loved to hear that, Catalfumo says “ehhh, I’m just kidding anyway.”
“I’m not the retiring person,” Catalfumo explains later in the clip. “I keep on going. You got to keep moving in life.”
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