Anthony and Don Bredice -- 67 and 71 respectively -- have been cobblers virtually all their lives, having taken after their father, Frank, who opened a shoe shop in Georgetown in 1921. They've seen plenty of soles in all those years, including those of the great and the near great. Not that it makes a difference to them.
"We don't keep track of who's famous and who's not. That doesn't faze us one bit. We don't have the time. We treat our customers all alike," says Anthony, though he does get around to mentioning that "John and Jackie Kennedy" were customers.
"In fact, we have some uncashed checks with their signatures on them," he admits. "We did President Johnson's shoes occasionally too. One leg of his was longer than the other, you know. Senator Pell on the corner comes, and Chief Justice Burger would come by when he lived in Virginia."
"Kitty Kelley brought her Sinatra book in," says Don. "She autographed it for me. She wrote some beautiful thing, but I can't remember. Joan Bennett used to come in. She lived at 31st and Q. And Myrna Loy, who lived at 36th and O."
Years and years of special service. Mending heels and soles. Repairing luggage and handbags. Reworking, dyeing, refinishing, elevating and polishing. Quality crafts- manship.
Each has played his part.
Says Anthony: "I draw the line. If someone gets demanding with me or a little arrogant, I don't like it. My brother, he's a little older and more indoctrinated in catering to people because he'd take care of the counter when we were younger while I worked in the back. I specialize in repairing small ladies' handbags, ripped and torn shoes."
Says Don: "I don't fly off the handle. I specialize in luggage repair, mixing and matching dyes."
And they've learned a thing or two in all this time.
Anthony: "Politicians really know about re-welting. A lot of senators and congressmen keep their shoes for years and years."
Don: "We don't judge people by their shoes. There are some very fine ladies with pretty well-worn shoes."