I’ve been watching Ellen DeGeneres lately, and her roster of footwear always amuses me. Recently, I’ve noticed that she’s taken to wearing some of the shoes I used to wear in grammar school. Since her childhood was probably arrested like mine was, perhaps she is also trying to relive her youth with some of her retro sole choices.
As a child, I think I only had three pairs of shoes. My Carpenter school shoe was the Saddle Shoe, that two-toned hefty leather hoof of a creation that could withstand kickball, sockball, tetherball, and an occasional kick to some kid who was tormenting me on the playground.
These shoes would never wear out. My mom bought them at the Kinney Shoe Store on Laurel Canyon, near May Company, since my uncle was a VP there, and probably got our family a good deal on all our shoes. Sometimes they were brown and while. Sometimes they were black and white. I love them, and once they were broken in, they were almost as comfortable as tennis shoes.
When I got home from school, I seem to recall wearing PF Flyers and Red Ball Jets, along with Keds. That little blue square at the back of the Ked tennis shoe would eventually start to come off, which probably signaled that it was time to re-tread with a new pair of shoes.
PF Flyers were high-tops, probably good for basketball or kickball since they protected your ankles. I think Red Ball Jets were in the same league as the PF Flyers-just another brand name.
Of course, we all had some fashion of dress shoe. I think I may have had some white buckled shoes that I used to wear to church and parties, but I always preferred my tomboy attire, so these dress shoes probably didn’t get much wear. Maybe my mom turned them into a planter.
As I got older, I remember wearing those fringy leather moccasins at NHHS and while attending UCSB. Now that was comfort! They also went well with my bell-bottoms, love beads and tie-dyed shirts.
Now, I have way too many shoes in my closet, and most of them I don’t wear, thanks to my ever-expanding bunions. But they’re there to remind me of my youth, when three pairs of shoes was all I needed.