Random Thoughts

Shoe short stories

... or short shoe stories

by Ann Robbins Talbot

You may have noticed that I never have been a fashionista. When Sex and the City was
popular, I never understood the preoccupation with expensive shoes that the characters
had. To me shoes kept my feet clean and, after being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis,
painfree. However I did think of a few shoe stories.

1. My Wedding Shoes – I had borrowed my sister-in-law’s wedding dress – a lovely white
over pink Priscilla gown. I existed on cottage cheese and fruit for six months to fit
into it comfortably. My “something new” was a pair of white leather sandals with two-
inch heels – nothing really fancy. The morning of June 21, 1958, was spent on the
sidewalk outside my brother’s house scuffing the soles so I wouldn’t go flying down
the long aisle of the First Baptist Church on my face. Upon checking my suitcase, I
discovered I had packed only my sneakers, so I spent more time at Newhall’s shoe store
in downtown Melrose buying a pair of flat straw sandals for our four-day honeymoon to
Niagara Falls. I do not recall ever wearing those sandals again – they itched. The
wedding shoes were packed away in a box upon returning home.

Thirty-six years later, I wore the wedding shoes to my son’s wedding in Florida. They
were so uncomfortable that I was practically in tears. I packed them away once again.
Two years ago I was invited to a summer wedding. I had a dress, but one look at those
horrible sandals and I said “time to throw them out”. I bought a pair of neutral
colored sandals online at Easy Spirit. They were very cute – slip ons with a small
heel and a leather flower. The wedding was cancelled. So the new shoes, unworn, were
packed away in a box.

Last month I was invited to the summer wedding of my grand nephew. I wore the old
dress and the new shoes. And I looked fine for the family portrait.

2. Purple Samplers – In the sixties my brother-in-law worked for a leather company. In
addition to the usual browns and occasional reds, leather was being successfully dyed
wonderful colors. His summer cottage had an orange couch and chairs in turquoise and
gold. As a selling point he carried a pair of bright purple high heels. They really
were startling. But eventually they were retired and so was Dave.

Now Dave had gone to Bowdoin College and had kept in touch with his fraternity
brothers. He got the idea of sending the purple shoes anonymously to one of them in
Maine as a Christmas present. The shoes then traveled anonymously to California for a
birthday gift, to Canada for an anniversary, back to Maine as the centerpiece during a
class reunion, to Florida as a house warming gift. These men would be in their
nineties now. I wonder where the purple shoes are.

3. Bronzed Shoes -- My sons were born only fourteen months apart. As they began to
race around, we realized that we had never had their first shoes bronzed. Finding a
bronzing company in the back of a magazine, I sent them a pair of shoes – Mark’s right
shoe and Alan’s left shoe. We could always tell the difference because Mark was a late
walker. His shoe has a big tear in the toe from being dragged around.

4. Birkenstocks -- On our first trip to the Solomon Pond Mall, my husband was
attracted to a pair of Birkenstock sandals, or was he attracted to the cute girl
selling shoes. She even sold him a pair of heavy socks so he could wear the sandals
all year round. The bill was over a hundred dollars. Yikes. But he got his money’s
worth. He loved them so much that, on my birthday, I received a pair and I too loved
them. When springtime came, I wore them down to our local beach and waded into the
water. Like the huraches of old, I thought they would form-fit to my feet. To my
horror, the Birkenstocks are made of cork and I totally ruined them. God bless him, he
bought me a replacement pair for Christmas. Eventually I bought a second pair. In the
summer you can tell if I am dressed up by my feet. Kick-around brown for casual wear;
identical black that look like velvet for formal occasions. Except for weddings, of
course.


October 5, 2012


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