The Evanston Fairy Tale: The Old Lady and the Shoemaker’s Son

During a gray day last fall, my doctor gave me the harsh news that I needed toe surgery.

So I was left to contemplate how I would be able to survive in my apartment, and off my feet, during my (long) two to three month convalescence. How does my dog ​​Casper walk four times a day?

What does that have to do with the shoemaker’s son, you might ask. Well, the answer to this question is pretty much everything.

I have tried to avoid this surgery. My last chance was with Felipe Marin, who owns Mike’s Shoes on Central Street in Evanston. He’s worked at Mike’s for 40 years, and has been the owner for the last four.

I sat, waiting, in the shop while Felipe cut the front of my shoe to take pressure off my toes. I was grateful for his efforts, but it was clear to me that the solution would not work in the coming winter months. Felipe knew I would need something more too, and maybe that’s why, when I asked him if he knew someone I might use to help me if I had the surgery, he volunteered so willingly that his 21-year-old son could not only help me for a few months, but also live in my place. .

“Neo is a really sweet and wonderful person,” he said. “He works two days a week for me and won’t be back in school until September.”

“How do you know he wants to do that?” I asked. And what’s more, I said to myself, Why would I want to do that? A 21-year-old has been at my place for several months and I haven’t even met him?

Felipe arranged for me to meet Neo at the shop. However, the only person who did not ask him or tell him about this plan was Niu.