My husband says I have a shoe fetish. If you read the definition of fetish, that is not true. I like shoes. I am attracted to shoes. I look at shoes. I buy shoes. I am fascinated by shoes. Shoes are fun. Shoes are interesting. And, of course, the shoes make the outfit.
I have my very first pair of shoes. And, of course, they are red. Handcrafted just for me by my dear Auntie Clara, red felt and black embroidery thread, blanket stitched with love and lazy daisies. They are, oh! so small Mary Jane’s with a little clear button. One button is now missing and the felt is worn off in a few places. Over fifty years old they are now truly vintage and might sell for a pretty penny but to me they are priceless.
As much as I love shoes I don’t remember much about the shoes from my childhood. I had a pair of sandals when I was a little girl that were like jelly shoes but they were white. I traded shoes with Bonnie Ross in fifth grade. I had a pair of multi-colored flower child suede shoes bought from John’s in Battle Ground. She had a pair of yellow sneakers that were also suede (come to think of it now they would be considered skate shoes). We traded and both thought we got the best pair of shoes out of the deal.
My other shoe, the Biker, wears moccasins, he has for almost thirty years. They are heavy leather, double soled fastened with metal rings that clink when he walks. He has bought many pairs from Hayward’s Trading post. When they wear out I cannot bear to throw them away so I plant Hen & Chicks in them. Occasionally I give one away. If you find one of the Biker's moccasins tucked in someone’s garden or gracing their porch, you know that person is very dear to our hearts. Last fall he was gifted with a very special pair of moccasins that he wears with humble pride. They are the same heavy leather with a single sole and leather strings. He chokes up when he puts them on.They belonged to Brother Mel and bear the marks of his shifter from the miles he wore them riding. They were given to the Biker by his sister Ruthie when we were leaving for home after Dad’s funeral. Ride in peace Dad and Mel.
One summer on vacation I found a pair of black leather work boots for two bucks at Lily’s of the Field also in Battle Ground. I love, love, loved those boots and wore them riding for many years. On a bike trip through the Blue Ridge to Tennessee the bottom of one them split all the way across. I was loathe to give them up but my foot was getting wet. So when the bike broke down on the way home I boot shopped at the Harley store while the Biker did repairs. I found a pair that I still wear today, not for two bucks though and I do not love them. I so wanted to bring my old boots home and plant flowers in them but alas, no room for extra old worn out boots on the bike so they ended their days in a trash can behind a Harley shop somewhere in New York.
Amanda (my heart) inherited her mother’s love of shoes. There is a picture taken of her when she could just barely walk leaning against the refrigerator wearing her sailor shirt and a pair of my heels. She is looking down admiring the shoes. The Saturday before she left for Navy boot camp she packed a box of civilian clothes for me to ship to her as soon as she could have them. The very last item placed very carefully in the top of the box was her favorite pair of pointy toed black heels. During that long nine weeks I searched every card rack for any card I could find with shoes on it. Every letter ended with the words “Keep your eyes on the pointy toed shoes.” In boot camp she had just four pairs of shoes: her combat boots, her spit shined dress shoes, PT sneakers and a pair of shower shoes. No red, no heels and no pointy toes. She had a friend in her division who also had orders to go to language school in Monterrey. They would encourage each other by asking the question “What are we going to do when we get to California?” Then they would chant in unison, “Go shopping and buy a hundred pairs of flipflops.” I ended up with the hundred pairs of flipflops because I inherited all of hers when she left home.
When Amanda got married we had a shoe themed shower. There were shoes on every table, including her first shoes, little black patent leather Mary Jane’s. We played shoe trivia and had a contest for the cutest shoes. My friend Shauna who is the shoe queen won. She had this advice to offer: “When you buy an outfit, buy the shoes first.”
This is my favorite shoe story. In high school one year Amanda was co-captain of the flag team for the Conant marching band. That year they were invited to New York City to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Afterwards I asked her how it went. She said it was good but by the end her left foot was numb. Two months later she marched in the Memorial Day parades in both Jaffrey and Rindge. Again she complained about her left foot going numb. I asked to see her shoe and she tossed it to me. Her left shoe was a size seven, and the right one was size eight. We still wonder who slopped through three parades in Amanda’s size eight left shoe.
My current favorite red shoes are a pair of satin flats with a string bow and white polka dots. They get a many comments. I wear them when I am low and need a lift. I wear them on just for fun happy days and I wear them for courage. I also have a pair of red rubber boots. Boulder Lee Farm always has mud season and in the spring sometimes I have to park on the road and walk in and out. When the old black boots I inherited from Levi gave up and spilt out I decided that if I have to put up with mud I will do it in red boots. Right now on my shoe want list is a new pair of size 7 ½ wide New Balance sneakers and a pair of genuine leather ropers.
I love you bunches and tiny red shoes - Pat