Colonial Williamsburg is known for its interpreters, many of whom have channeled the personas of the characters they play. The “nation founders” include Washington, Jefferson, Lafayette, and Patrick Henry. They live and breathe their character to such an extent that they can answer any question in the very words those gentlemen used in the 1770s. It turns out to apply to shoemakers as well.
This arose while sailing the York River with Patti and Jim Johnson of Gloucester City, New Jersey. Patti is a dressmaker who works in bridal gowns for weddings and period pieces for the stage. “I asked the cobbler in Colonial Williamsburg if he had ever built shoes for stage shows. My kids who play in the period shows wear tennis shoes for a period play, and it’s awful. I just wanted to know if he could do it but he wouldn’t even respond, as if he didn’t understand me. It was very frustrating.”
Jim added that this happened years ago, and smiled. “Patti is still pissed. She’s the Costume Nazi.”