We live in a rather rainy part of the world, and the path to our front door is muddy. We have not yet traded our builder-grade beige carpet for hardwood, so we remove our shoes when we come in. A shoe rack stands just inside the door, and for a home with only two people, the rack is quite full.
Yesterday we had an unnatural disaster when the shoe rack collapsed –apparently under the weight of the shoes.
This is strange, in a way. When I grew up, I only ever had two pairs of shoes at a time. One was the traditional saddle-shoe all schoolgirls of my generation wore, and the other was for church–black Mary Janes, perhaps with a bow on the toe, but most likely not. My mother didn’t waste money on things that were
a. fads or
b. likely to fall apart.
We were an average middle-class family, and it was a sign of our wealth that I had two pairs of shoes. In the summer we would have cheap white or navy blue canvas shoes to play in, as we had outgrown our saddle-shoes by the end of the school year, and mother would wait until the week before school to buy us our next pair.
We couldn’t really go barefoot, as we lived in a rural area where tetanus was still an issue, and even though we had been vaccinated against it, our parents had grown up during the Great Depression and still worried.
So, the minute I graduated from high-school and went out into the world, what is the first thing I did? My sister and I rode the Greyhound to Seattle and went to the navy surplus store where we bought two pairs of woolen navy bell-bottom trousers with the double-buttons down the front and the lace-up back.
They were very hip and were the envy of our friends.
My sister and I shared most of our clothes, but she had a better sense of style than I did, so when she said we had to go navy, I went. We also bought navy pea-coats. While we were there, I bought a pair of Waffle-Stompers, leather hiking boots with rugged soles. I was pretty naive, a total country-girl. There were so many stores with hundreds of shoes, most of which I could afford on my salary as a babysitter–in Olympia the selection was rather limited so Seattle was the place to go.
Somehow, once I bought that pair of hiking boots, I was unable to walk past a shoe display without jonesing like a junkie. If I didn’t get a new pair of shoes when I wanted them, I would feel quite deprived. Soon I had red shoes, blue shoes, tall shoes, flat shoes. Shoes for walking, shoes for sitting and everything in between.
Shoes were crack–and I was addicted. How could such a thing happen? It made no sense to me, and when I had my first child, I was suddenly financially unable to support my habit. Suddenly I was back to having one or two pairs of shoes and feeling quite lucky to have them. For the next fifteen years, I had only three pairs of shoes at most. One pair was for work, one was a dusty pair of black pumps for dress (hardly ever worn) and the third pair was flip-flops.
So what happened that I should once again have gained so many shoes that my shoe rack would collapse under the strain? I gained weight, I lost weight. I worked in an office and had to wear dress-shoes, then I was retired and needed comfy shoes. Somehow the shoes landed on the rack and never left. The rack became a repository for abandoned shoes.
Both my husband and I really only wear three pairs each and one pair is flip-flops. So today is weed-out-the-fluff day, and many shoes will go to shoe heaven.
But not this pair… or this pair…and this is my favorite pair…and not these–I can’t throw these away because I might wear them….