Posted tagged ‘school shoes’

“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.

“I want to write a book about shoes that’s full of footnotes.”

March 15, 2013

This morning is winter. When I left for breakfast at 9 o’clock, it was 27˚. I saw people wearing winter coats, hats and gloves while walking their dogs, also sporting coats. While I was eating, the temperature rose to 32˚, but that cold didn’t stop me from being hopeful. I still believe that spring is taking hold. The front garden is filled with blooming crocus, and the birds are singing and greeting the morning. The sound is joyful.

The other day I bought a small pot of pansies for the kitchen. The flowers are yellow, my favorite color this time of year, the color of the sun. The daffodils I bought have finally bloomed and they too are a bright yellow. The sun is shining today, and the sky is blue. I am content despite the cold.

Today I have a few errands so I’ll go out in the afternoon. I’m sure Gracie will be glad for the ride. I try to take her all the time now because when summer comes, Gracie stays home except when we go to the dump where I can keep the car and the air conditioning running between stops. The heat is otherwise too much for Miss Gracie.

When I was a kid, I had three pairs of shoes: well, two pairs of shoes and a pair of sneakers. One pair of shoes was for school every day and church on Sunday. The other pair was for playing. That pair started out as school shoes then got worn and eventually demoted to play shoes. I wore those mostly in the winter or on cold days. In the summer I always wore sneakers. Nobody wore sandals back then except little kids. My sisters had white sandals with straps. My sneakers were red or blue when I was little. When I was older, they were white. We all wore white sneakers, mostly Keds, which narrowed at the toes. We kept them as white as possible. Sometimes we even used white shoe polish to cover marks. That had its disadvantages as the polish would seep to our socks and through to our feet, but that didn’t matter. White sneakers were a point of pride.

For my eighth grade trip, my mother bought me new clothes: a pair of sneakers, a blouse and clam diggers. I don’t know if that was a purely regional name. They were also called pedal pushers, and they looked a lot like Capri pants, the Mary Tyler Moore type, but to us they were clam diggers. It was the perfect name. Not many clothes boast a name which fits their function. If you wore those pants while clamming, they’d stay dry and out of the mud. We never did, but we could have.