Saturday, 24 August 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: These Boots were made for Walking

Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes, and where they’ve taken you. 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us WALK.

Me around 6 years old

This was the type of shoe I grew up with in my younger days (was about five years old in he photo). It was mum’s choice. Shoes did not really interest me at that time, but I remember I had socks for all occasions.
Favourite shoes at my age? Forget it. In Summer they have to be comfortable, expand with my Summer feet, preferably flat, and health sandal type. Something like the Romans had when they conquered Switzerland in the dark ages and preferably made of leather. Who looks at your feet when you are a golden oldie? In winter again flat, with laces perhaps, but they must be comfortable. Above all my shoes have to be accident proof, although I do not think that shoe has been manufactured yet for my feet.

I always found that feet are a silly completion to a leg, they look so strange. A flat block of flesh with five stubby bits called toes, but I have not yet discovered a better solution.

As I said children’s shoes were a matter of parental taste so I had no real opinion. Different when I began to realise that there was a thing called fashion, there was another sort of human and socks were a thing of the past – you now wore stockings.

I went to one of those grammar schools, where we had to wear a uniform. The basic colour was green. To this day I avoid wearing green if I can. What suits green? Brown shoes of course and again, today I avoid wearing brown shoes if possible. There was a word in my newly learnt teenage vocabulary “frump”. I do not know if the meaning of this word is still known, but basically dressing like your grandmother in hard times, fashion a word not yet invented for the working class. You just wore what you bought. This was mainly the lace up shoe, flat heel and leather. A sex killer if there was one, and this type of shoe was to be avoided at all costs, especially if you were a teenager at the risk of being the laughing stock of a school class populated by teenage girls in their adolescence.

Mum and dad did not have a lot of money, so they saved where they could. Mum had long discovered a super system in our co-op chain of shops. You could buy cheques weekly and when you had collected enough you could buy the necessities. This meant that you did not have to pay vast sums of money for a pair of shoes when you did not have it. You could collect the value with the cheques weekly and eventually you had enough. There was a disadvantage for a growing teenage girl. She was not able to choose her shoes from the display at the local fashionable shoe boutiques. Mum and daughter made a pilgrimage to the co-op. Always the same co-op with the same drab, boring, frumpy shoe choice and of course it had to be brown. I hated that shop. It was a corner shop in the Bethnal Green Road, East London, where I lived. I even remember the manager. A rather overweight type, some remaining hair and always polite, especially when he saw mum. Probably thought “another victim for our unfashionable, shelfwarming stock” and that is what I got. The same old slip on shoe in brown leather, or with laces (frump) because we had to buy their boring unfashionable rubbish. I remember when I discovered that they did have shoes worth wearing, but not in brown. Success – I convinced mum to buy brown shoe dye and from then on I did not have to try and hide my feet. We bought beige shoes, which became brown after applying the colour.

One day I had my own money. I worked Saturdays at a local shop (guess what – the co-op) but in the men’s department. Guess who also worked there? Yes the shoe department manager. He had then even less hair, but his boisterous over-friendly attitude was still there. He even liked me.

Anyhow I could now buy my own shoes. I was still at school larching around in my flat brown died beige shoes, but at the week-end the ugly duckling turned into a cockney sparrow with high heels. I loved my bronze stiletto shoes. They suited my tight mini skirt so well. I must have been walking like a circus clown on stilts at the time (I was then the tallest in the class), but it was fashion and we did everything for fashion: pointed toes, known as “winkelpickers” and you was in.

During my best years I developed a taste for colourful shoes, especially in summer. I had yellow shoes, red shoes, bright blue. The hit was once when I was on a visit to the town of Lausanne in Switzerland and happened to see shoes in a boutique window. They were cut down from two hundred Swiss Francs to seventy: a bargain. In all colours embroidered and with colourful shiny stones – they were really something completely different. I even had them resoled. What a pity with age that not only the body, but the feet seem to grow as well. I always had a good foundation, then size 40, but today I am size 42 (the feet stretch with age it seems) so my exclusive boutique shoes no longer fit.

During my Swiss walking holidays, I was even the proud possessor of Swiss walking boots. They were comfortable.and ideal for preventing accidents when rock climbing. They gripped everywhere, except when I had to walk downwards. There was a little problem with balance, so I did that sort of sitting down and slowly sliding down the mountain side. No shoe could have helped.

As said today I am happy when my shoes fit, are flat, and I have a good grip. The winters in Switzerland give you no choice as far a fashion is concerned. A good profile, a good hold, and warm – there is no question of fashion,, more of survival.

A year ago on my annual trip to London to see my dad, I saw this. They seemed to be the latest cry in fashion and I even saw members of the younger generation wearing them. Not my sort of thing, I would probably have to take out a life insurance.

Shoes in Marks and Spencers

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1 comment:

  1. Of course, as I work in an office, I wear standard black lace-up shoes polished to a high shine. Outside of work, it depends on the time of year. For winter, I have a pair of heavy Wrangler boots. They are very heavy and very tough. I've had them about 15 years and they're still almost as good as new. In summer I wear something that is half-way between trainer and light hiking shoe (not sure of the proper name for them), they are good for most non-winter conditions. Indoors I have a pair of light slip-on trainers I bought many years ago. They have developed holes, so cannot be worn outside, but they are so comfortable, I still wear them inside the house. I'll probably still have them till they fall apart!! LOL.