I am thankful I’ve achieved one of my life goals! I got Keds! All the snooty kids wore Keds when I was in school. Since there were five of us to shoe, Mother showed no interest in putting us on our path to snootiness. When the guy at the shoe repair shop gave her notice that shoes were beyond repair, she’d bring home a new pair, sized by the pencilled imprint of the lucky kid’s foot. She always went prepared, just in case. We were a one-car family and there was no possibility of a special trip just for shoes. We were whatever she brought home. There was no chance we could claim ugly shoes didn’t fit. She knew what she was doing.
Sometimes, one of us tripped Mother up by having a major shoe malfunction resultingin shoe acquisition that couldn’t be put off till Thursday, Daddy’s payday and her scheduled trip to town, in that miserable situation. On more the one occasion, she made a panicky trip to the dry goods store in Cottage Valley and bought the only shoes available. We hated these crummy sneakers, or “Tennies” as we called them, the ugly, red-headed stepchildren of Keds.
Girls got a style somewhat reminscent of Keds, usually white, wide in the arch, just right for duck feet. Bill got hightop, black basketball shoes with a white basketball on the ankle. Naturally, we had to wear theses lovelies till they fell apart. Mine were always dirty by the time I got to school, even if I were lucky enough they’d just been washed, and frankly, they weren’t washed that often.
My brother Billy got off the bus in one shoe after school one afternoon. Mother exploded. “Boy, where’s your shoe?”
He wasted some time trying to explain and she wasted more trying to make sense of the story. Finally, she got down to business and hauled him back to school to retrieve it from deep in a mass of brush on the wrong side of a hurricane fence. Undoubtedly, he’d pushed it deeper in his rescue attempts. Eventually, they showed up at home victorious except for scratches on her forearms and a tick or two.