I met Wallace a few years ago when looking for a tailor to repair some clothing. I went to him often over the years as his rates were reasonable and the quality of his work was unmatched. Sometimes I would come in and just hang out and watching him work. His deft hands ran a sewing machine that looked as old as he did with the skills of a master. He designed and made his own clothes, and was always well-dressed in his self-made garb. Designing was his real passion, and he had racks of patterns in the corner of his small shop waiting to be used.
It was always interesting to go and see him. Walking through the door of his storefront was like walking into a time machine. Everything in the place was aged, and the clothing that hung in the windows was bleached by the sun. Two racks of suits hung behind his work table and plastic crates full of thread and fabric were scattered around the shop. I’m sure he knew exactly where everything was, too.
Originally from Atlanta, he joined the Army and served in the Korean war. During his time in the Army he met Elvis, which probably fueled his desire to make it big as a singer. Even in his old age, he loved to sing, and would sometimes break into song when I’d come in.
The day of my friend’s wedding this past October, I needed a last-minute alteration on a pair of suit pants I had just purchased.
“How soon do you need them?” he asked.
“Well, the wedding is in 5 hours,” I replied. And Wallace was happy to help. He put a temporary hem in place until I could come back and have him spend more time on them later. We made small talk while he worked and he told me of his Thanksgiving plans to go see his family in Akron. It was during this visit that I took this photos of him. A half hour later I was on my way.
A few weeks later, I tried to get Wallace to finish the hems on my pants, but his shop was closed. The door sign said he would be back at a certain time, but I had to work that evening and figured I’d just stop in later. A week later it still said the same thing, and the next day and the next. It was then I did a Internet search and found out he had passed away.
Rest in peace, friend.