Posted tagged ‘new shoes’

“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

August 31, 2017

Today is a delight. The humidity is still among the missing. The morning was even a bit chilly. I wished I had a sweatshirt on when I was outside waiting for Gracie. It rained all Tuesday night into Wednesday early afternoon but then the sun came out and the rest of the day was lovely. I hung around the house yesterday and finally did the laundry. It has made it upstairs only as far as this floor, but I still feel accomplished.

The kids around here go back to school next week, the day after Labor Day. It was also when I went back to school. I complained every year because that is the responsibility of kids the world over, but I didn’t really care. By the end of the summer I had run out of things to do. I was bored though I would never have admitted it.

On the weekend before going back to school, I checked out all my school supplies again and again. I sharpened my pencils and loaded and unloaded my school bag. I used to carry it with the strap across my chest, and I’d check out the look in the mirror.

I got to wear a new outfit on the first day of school, the only day of no uniforms. My mother would lay out our outfits on our beds. New clothes and new shoes were special.

On the schoolyard, I’d see my school friends for the first time since the summer had begun. When the bell rang, a hand bell rung by a nun, we’d go into the building but not in lines. Those would start the next day after we had found our classrooms and classmates. There were two classes of every grade, each with 40 or more students. One class got a nun while the other class didn’t. The nuns by their very natures kept us quiet and attentive. We didn’t dare do otherwise. The not nun teachers were just as strict. We all knew the being attentive position. It was sitting at our desks with our hands folded on top of it.

After the first few days, school became routine. We were back in uniform. Bells ruled our lives. We entered and left the school in lines. We did homework. It was a long way until June.

“The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.”

August 29, 2017

Yesterday was a lazy day. I watered the newly planted flowers and took a shower. That’s it for the day except for the two naps I had. My mother would have said I must have needed the sleep. Today, however, will be different. It is the dreaded laundry day. It’s not the doing but the carrying I hate, the lugging of all that laundry up two flights of stairs. I do it in shifts: one flight, a pause then the other flight. Sometimes the pause lasts a day. The laundry sits on the rocking chair glaring at me.

The day is cloudy and a bit dark. I felt chilly so I shut the windows. It is only 67˚ and won’t get much higher. What happened to the dog days of August?

I remember late summer and school shopping with my mother. The first stop was always the shoe store. My mother had to drag the four of us though only my brother and I needed new shoes. My sisters were still young and didn’t go to school yet. At the store, they’d measure our feet with that silver slide and then have us put each foot, one at a time, into the x-ray machine. I always thought it was so neat seeing the x-ray of the bones in my feet. My mother bought sturdy shoes for us hoping they’d last a while. The next stop was for new uniform clothes. I needed white blouses, a blue wool skirt and a blue cowboy looking tie. My brother needed white shirts and a blue tie. The Children’s Corner, a clothing store up town, carried the uniforms. Uptown was sort of close so we’d walk. My mother bought me a few blouses but only a single skirt. She’d also buy a couple of long-sleeve shirts for my brother. From there we’d head to my favorite stop, Woolworth’s, for school supplies. I got to pick out my pencil case, lunch box and school bag. We’d buy crayons, always Crayola, glue and pads of paper, the ones with the Indian chief on the front. I was so excited with all the purchases and was thrilled to carry the bag home.

When I was working at the high school, I used to call my mother this time of year and asked her when she was taking me school shopping. My mother would laugh, and that was her only response. I hoped for more, shoes at least.

“I went to a Catholic school, so of course we had to wear uniforms. My only form of expression was in shoes and the style of my hair.”

August 18, 2015

The hoopla is over, the festivities finished. The floor is covered in confetti. The balloons have lost helium and now are floating close to the ground. The cake is but a memory, a sweet memory. Last night my friends took me to dinner at the South African restaurant. It was the culminating event. Now my birthday is put away for another year.

The heat continues. We are still living behind closed doors and shuttered windows. Yesterday It became official. Boston is in the midst of a heat wave, three consecutive days above 90˚. We have been a bit cooler thanks to the ocean so no heat wave. The high 80’s don’t rate. They are just plain hot days.

Usually by this time in the summer, I’d done everything so many times I was getting bored. The joy of playing outside late had lost its luster. It was no longer a novelty. It was too hot during the day to do much. We’d bike ride, stop at a shady spot and just sit there until the sweat had stopped rolling down our cheeks, and we were cool enough to get back on our bikes. At every bubbler we’d drink water and wet our heads so we’d feel cooler. Bottled water was a long way in the future. Behind the town hall was a bubbler and another was in the middle of the field at the back of the baseball diamond near my house. That last one gave me the energy to get up the hill to my house.

We’d never have admitted it but it was exciting to get new clothes even if it was for school. We always got new shoes and socks and one new outfit for the first day of school because we didn’t have to wear our uniforms that day. We’d shop with my mother for the new outfit. The rest of the school clothes she’d just buy without us. The new white blouses and new blue skirts, our school uniforms, were never exciting so we didn’t care what my mother chose. It wasn’t as if there were a lot of options.

When I worked, I’d be back full time by now. Seldom did that mean new clothes for me.The excitement was gone.

“You’ll wake up on Easter morning, And you’ll know that he was there, When you find those choc’late bunnies, That he’s hiding ev’rywhere. “

April 4, 2015

We had more rain this morning then the sun came out for a while then it disappeared behind the clouds and the sky got darker. The sun made an attempt to reappeared but in a poof was gone again but only for a bit. The sun is now brightly shining in all its glory. The sky is blue and the clouds are gone. The sun has won the day in a spectacular fashion. It is even warm outside. My heat hasn’t come on all morning. Today I’m doing Easter things. I have a few eggs I’m going to color and a couple of baskets to fill.

At Christmas time we had Santa Claus to keep us on the straight and narrow. We didn’t dare cross the line for fear of getting coal in our stockings. The days before Christmas always felt interminable. Christmas Eve was really three days long. Falling asleep on Christmas Eve took forever, but then we woke to Christmas morning, the best morning of the year.

Easter didn’t have the giddy anticipation we gave to Christmas. We had nothing to lose being bad because Easter didn’t have the watchful eyes of Santa Claus or the dire consequences of being bad. The Easter Bunny didn’t seem to care so my mother had no threats to hold over us. We fought like usual and got yelled at the same as we always did.

Easter egg hunts were one of the fun parts of Easter. I remember a giant egg hunt in the field below our houses. All the kids in the neighborhood took part. We carried little baskets to hold our eggs. I remember finding a few here and there and one golden egg, but I gave it no mind and kept looking. At the end of the hunt I found out it was the prize egg. Inside was a dollar bill. This was when a penny had value and a nickel or a dime was wealth. A dollar was a king’s ransom.

The night before Easter was for egg coloring. My mother hard-boiled them, put newspapers on the table and filled paper cups with colored water from packets of dye. We used spoons to put the eggs in the colors and we’d roll the eggs all around so they’d get darker. My mother would display them on the table during Easter dinner. The week after Easter we’d always get colored eggs in our lunch boxes.

My mother would lay out our new Easter clothes on Saturday night. I loved getting new shoes for Easter because usually I only got new ones when the old ones gave up the ghost. We took baths, it was after all Saturday night, watched a little TV, went to bed and fell asleep. In the morning the baskets were on the kitchen table or on our bureaus or even in the living room. We’d eat some chocolate as we’d look through our baskets. That was always our Easter morning breakfast.

We’d go to church where every kid was dressed in new Easter clothes. The colors were light like a spring morning. I swear every Easter was warm and lovely. In the afternoon, after dinner, we’d go to my grandparents’ house in the city. My million or so cousins were also there. My grandmother had chocolate rabbits for us all.

On the way home, I always fell asleep.

“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away.”

December 2, 2014

My house smells of rosemary. I just came from Agway. I needed dog biscuits, and I ended up also buying two wreaths for outside, a rosemary plant for here, two small poinsettias, and I scooped some greens off the cutting area for my outside bowl. It is definitely beginning to look like Christmas. I went outside last night and admired my lights. They are lovely. I’ll take pictures, but I am so bad at posting. A bunch are sitting in my camera.

After 60˚ yesterday, we have a raw, cold day today. I was out before ten as I had PT then I  had a list of places to go and things to get. I made it to all six places, and it took me two trips to bring everything into the house. Most are for decorating though I did buy myself a new pair of shoes. My physical therapist kept telling me I needed new shoes as even the treads were gone on my old ones. At the shoe store the clerk told me I had certainly gotten my money’s worth from the old ones. The new ones feel great.

Cats tend to throw up. Sometimes it is just hairballs, gross I know but not gag worthy. Fern will sometimes eat too much too fast and then get sick. This is the story of one cat and her throw up. I got up during the night to go to the bathroom and in the darkness I stepped in cat vomit and was totally grossed out. I tried to walk without using the affected foot, but ended up with a weird limp.I cleaned both me and the floor then went back to bed. This morning I went to put my slippers on and saw that Fern had left her mark on one of them. I cleaned the slipper but didn’t choose to wear it.

I have one small errand to do later, but I’m going to read a bit and have lunch. My book is a Clive Cussler. I find his fun to read. I don’t have to think a lot about the plot or the characters. They are perfect for when I put my feet up, brew a new pot of coffee and just relax.

“I did NOT have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.”

October 17, 2014

We are still in that warm cycle of weather. I have my front door and a couple of windows opened. It rained all Tuesday night and most of yesterday. Lots of leaves fell in the wind so the lawns and sides of the streets are multi-colored. Today is sunny and a bit breezy. The streets are drying.

Getting a new pair of shoes was a big deal. Usually I’d get two new pairs a year: one for back to school and one for Easter. My school shoes were always sturdy and practical while my Easter shoes were dressy, sometimes patent leather. After Easter, they’d morph into church and special occasion shoes. I never wore my school shoes anywhere but to school because they were expected to last the whole year. In late August my mother would herd us all to the shoe store. Until it was my turn, I’d wander the store looking at the shoes on the racks. If I found a pair I liked, I’d bring one shoe to my mother who would decide whether or not I could try that pair on. Back then, most of the shoes were tie shoes and sturdy didn’t usually mean fashionable, but I was young enough not to care about fashion. My mother stretched her budget and bought expensive shoes for us because they were more likely to last. I remember Buster Brown and his dog Tige and the picture of them on the inside heel of the shoe. I never did question the long hair and the funny cap. That was just Buster Brown.

I loved looking at my feet in the x-ray machine and having the shoe salesman measure them with that silver slide. He’d sit on the odd-looking stool which was close to the floor and close to feet. It had a front part where you put your foot to be measured and where the man would put the shoes on your feet when it came to trying on the new pair.

I walked up and down the length of the store to decide if the shoes felt good on my feet. I’d also stop at the foot mirror to see how they looked. If they passed both tests, my mother would buy them for me. I was thrilled to carry my new shoes home. They made me feel proud somehow.

“Even in the familiar there can be surprise and wonder.”

November 8, 2013

Late, late start to Coffee this morning as I went out to breakfast down Cape then had one more errand to do. The breakfast is a once a month get-together of women with whom I’ve worked who are now retired. Sometimes we are many. Today we were few. It doesn’t really matter the number. It is still the chatting, not the eating, which is the best part.

I went home on the Mid-Cape Highway, Route 6, an anachronism of one lane in each direction. A slow car always has a line stretching behind it because that part of the road is a no passing zone. The two lanes are separated by permanent cones down the middle of the road. Being impatient doesn’t help. I just go with the flow. Today as I drove I noticed the scrub oak trees along the roadside were either covered in faded red leaves or dead, brown ones. Soon enough the trees will be bare.

The day is sunny. I noticed in the backyard the sunlight is slanted through the trees in an odd direction as the Earth makes its autumn move. Darkness comes so very early now. The house was cold when I woke up, and I just wanted to nestle under the comforter for a bit longer. Gracie didn’t mind so she stayed cozy beside me. Fern, on the other side, was just as cozy. All of us are into creature comforts.

When I fill out a form on-line, I often have to include my date of birth. The month and date are quickly found, but I have to scroll way down the list to find the year. That always surprises me even though it shouldn’t.

I buy shoes on-line, and they have always fit, but I do miss that big metal sizer they used in shoe stores. When I was a kid, I had to stand up while the shoe-man measured the size and width of my feet. They were always longer than the last time. That never surprised my mother. Sometimes we outgrew the shoes before they wore out.

I was not a fan of many vegetables when I was young. I loved peas and corn and potatoes. Mostly we ate canned vegetables back then except for corn in the summer. As I got older, my list of vegetables expanded, and I ate them fresh. I always believed they were the healthiest. Come to find out they may not be based on the distance from field to grocery store. Farm stands probably have the best fresh vegetables, but grocery stores don’t. Frozen and even canned vegetables may have more nutrients than fresh. That surprises me.

I like surprises, even in vegetables.

“You can wear anything as long as you put a nice pair of shoes with it.”

August 26, 2013

Today I’m tired for no reason as I slept just fine. It may be the clouds and the coolness giving me a bit of a down day. My to do card has change litter, change bed, shower, do a wash and go to the dump. I’m thinking that list has something to do with my mood. Not one thing is fun. If I were a Disney character I could just sing The Happy Little Working Song and the spawns of Satan, the chipmunk who lives in my lawn, the mice probably still hiding in the cellar and the birds from the feeders could join in the cleaning. Then again I could just Whistle While I Work and even make it a happy tune. Somehow, though, none of that is appealing. I choose to wallow in my mood.

This is it: the final week before school starts. It was a mad dash for my mother to get us all ready. Mostly we needed new school shoes and whatever parts of the uniform we had out-grown over the summer. I usually got a new blouse or two, always white, and my brother generally needed new pants and new white shirts. The shoes were always sturdy, meant to be worn most of the school year. We didn’t have much money, but my mother never skimped on school shoes and clothes because we had to wear them every day. She always figured it was cheaper in the long run to buy more expensive clothes rather than constantly replacing them. The rule, of course, was to get out of our school clothes into our play clothes as soon as we got home.

I don’t remember when the categories disappeared and all of what I wore just became clothes. When I was little, we had school clothes, play clothes and church clothes. None of them were ever interchangeable. Most of my clothes were play clothes because I wore a uniform to school and a dress to church, usually an old Easter or Christmas dress. My Sunday shoes were also dressy, sometimes patent leather with a strap. My play shoes were usually sneakers or shoes which in a former life had been school shoes demoted because they were worn and scuffed with a sloping heel.

I really liked going to the shoe store, putting my feet in the x-ray machine to see the bones and having the shoe salesman check my size using the sliding silver sizer. I’d wander to look at the shoes on display, always only one shoe of a pair, and them pick out some to try on until I’d found the perfect pair: the pair my mother and I could agreed upon. She’d pay for them, but I always proudly carried the bag with the shoe box inside. They were my new shoes.

“Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things but in terms of ideals.”

March 31, 2013

The sun is shining on this Easter morning. The air is still, and the day is getting warmer. No winter coats will cover pastel Easter dresses. I can hear birds singing even though the windows are closed. Yesterday I saw a few buds on one of my bushes. The buds are tiny and closed tightly, but they are another sign that spring is gaining hold.

The alarm rang at 6:15 this morning, and I turned it off and went back to sleep for an hour. I had set it early so I could sneak down my friends’ house and decorate the tree which hangs over their deck: it’s an annual Easter surprise. Though if it’s annual, is it really a surprise? Anyway, when I realized how late it was, I was afraid they’d be awake, but Gracie and I went anyway. The car was covered in frost so I scrapped the windows and off we went. At their house, all the shades were down so they were still abed. I went on the deck and started decorating. One of the giant decorated paper lanterns fell over the deck rail. That meant walking off the deck then all around the outside of the deck and through the underbrush to retrieve it. That was an adventure. The leaves and branches were soaked and sucked up one of my slippers. I had to yank it out of the muck. I found a bird feeder covered in wet leaves and put it on the deck rail. I also saw a mango. I’m still perplexed a bit about the mango, strange spot for one. While I was mucking about, the door opened and out came Darci, their dog. Whoever let her out never looked so I wasn’t caught. I walked back to the deck, petted Darci for a while, hung the lantern then sneaked away. I just got a call thanking me for the surprise and telling me how lovely the tree looks.

I remember so well Easter Sunday mass when I was young. The church was always beautiful and filled with light. The sun shined through the stained glass windows. The dark purple of lent had been replaced by white and all the statues were uncovered. Flowers decorated the floor in front of and all around the altar. I remember the lilies because they were the tallest. The church was always crowded. Women wore hats, fancy hats with veils, small see through veils that went down as far as their eyes. The men wore suits and carried their hats into the church. Little girls wore dresses in pinks and blues and all the different shades of pastel. They wore short white gloves and round hats with ribbons. Their shoes were patent leather, both black and white, and were worn with fancy white socks with lace around the edges. Some boys wore suits, ones with jackets checkered in the front. Others wore white shirts and ties and new pants with deep creases. The shoes were always new and always with laces. The choir sang at Easter. If I had known the word back then, I would have said it was majestic, mass on Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter!