Family, Memoir

A not-so Cinderella experience

Have you read the quote that Cinderella is proof that the right pair of shoes can change your life? I’m not sure if that’s true but I am proof that a memory of the wrong pair of shoes can stay with you forever. IMG_4775 I recently saw this picture on Facebook and it brought back some funny shoe memories.

Let me say at the outset that I had shoe problems as a child.

Problem #1: When all my friends were buying shoes in adult women sizes, I still wore children’s shoes. Imagine the horror of dressing like a child when all your friends are discovering the thrills of grown-up woman shoes.

Problem #2: I lived in a town with two small department stores — JC Penney’s and Christensen’s. Shoe options were limited in both.

Problem #3: This follows-up on problem #2. There was a shoe store in town called Tip Top Shoe Repair owned by a man named Jim Damico. Wonderful man, wonderful family and a shoe shop full of the sturdiest, most practical shoes and boots a man could ever want.

Problem #4: My mom didn’t drive so going shopping out-of-town wasn’t easy. More on that later…

According to my mother, I was the “pickiest child that ever lived” when it came to shoes. Since we really only shopped for shoes and clothes once a year — in August before school started, I had to be picky!

Shopping wasn’t a hobby then like it is now. We bought essentials.

And, by the way, someone reminded me recently that when I was in elementary school and middle school, we had to wear dresses to school.

Yes, I’m that old.

Get over my age because we’re moving on with this story…

Shopping was an ordeal.

Remember problem #4 about how my mom didn’t drive?

Well, my dad was the town milkman.

See where I’m going here?

When we went school shopping, we piled into his one-seated Snow Dairy milk truck with the foldable door and had to either stand for a bumpy ride or sit on milk crates covered with gunny sacks full of ice to keep the milk cold. Dad drove us to Provo’s Main Street. Then, he pulled the handle to open the folding door and we all spilled out on the sidewalk to head off on our big annual school shopping adventure.

I had to share that one day of shopping with two brothers. (My sister came along later.)

A trip into one store and my brothers had new Levi’s, a bunch of shirts, socks, underwear, and shoes; and then it was my turn.

“How much longer are we going to be here?” the brothers started whining.

It went downhill from there.

Store after store, and no shoes I liked.

“Just get some! Who cares what they look like!? Here, take these,” they’d say as they shoved one atrocious pair after another at me.

Then came the worst thing of all from my mother: “We can’t spend all day looking for your shoes. Your dad will be here to pick us up soon, so you’re going to have to go shopping with Dad later.”

Did she say ‘”go shopping with dad?”

I begged her to give me more shopping time, but with two grumpy brothers burdened with bags of their new clothes, and my dad expecting us to meet him at the corner so that he could take us home in his milk truck, I was doomed.

Thanks to Robert Lee Marsh from Springville for sharing this picture

He took me to Tip Top Shoe Repair. Remember the store with sturdy man shoes? “Hey Jim. She needs some good school shoes. What have you got?” Jim pointed out the saddle oxfords.

I’m not talking about the fashionable kind.

saddle-oxford-shoes-adult-800x507 “Noooooo. Dad, nooooooo. I can’t wear those.”

“Jim, let’s see them in her size.”

“Dad, seriously, I cannot wear those shoes. Look at them!”

Honestly, I would rather have worn the shoe boxes instead of those clunky shoes.

Jim brought them over to me and started threading the thick laces through the shoelace eyelets.

Podiatrist-approved orthotics, I was sure of it.

Seriously, nooooo. Dad!

I tried them on and they felt like heavy, immovable blocks of cement with white-tipped toes. “We’ll take ’em,” he said. “These will last you forever.”

What child wants orthopedic shoes that will last forever?

I may have worn them once. They were the most uncomfortable shoes ever made.

Maybe if I’d been a child in the fifties and wanted something to go with my poodle skirt, they would have been acceptable, but trust me, those were some bad shoes.

My dad was the most practical man that ever lived. I’m sure he thought Cinderella was silly and ridiculous with her glass slippers and magical life.

But at 10 years old, I could have used a fairy godmother who could sing some bibbidy-bobbiby-boo and transform my saddle oxfords into stylish shoes fit for a fourth grade shoe queen.

10 thoughts on “A not-so Cinderella experience”

  1. Laurie,
    It is 11:45 pm and I was suppose to spend the last 1 1/2 hrs. studying my Sunday School lesson, instead I found your blog and just kept reading. You are an amazing writer, just fun and so down to earth. Your memories bring memories of my own. I have enjoyed this time with you, so to speak, now to my lesson.
    Carol Morgan

  2. Thank you Carol! So good to hear from you and I love your comment about spending time with me. That’s exactly what I want people to feel like when they read my blog.

  3. Now I know why it is fun shopping with you. Consider a garment for 5 hours, Then decision is to leave it. Go back the next day try it again, thoroughly inspect it, buy it. The next day take it back. I have had many fun times at outlets, at Saks in NY or at the Giant shopping with you. I now know why you are this way, your Dad insisting you should have sturdy shoes. God bless him.

  4. You got to go to Provo to shop? How lucky were you? The only time I went there was when my Grandma Packard bought me an Easter dress. My school dresses were all lovingly stitched by Mother or handed down to me by my sister. But, let me get to the reason for my comment. Your story brought up a distinct memory from my childhood. We were probably going through our difficulties at the same time. My mom insisted on lace up shoes because they “fit better”. I hated them because they weren’t the pretty Mary Jane strap shoes everyone else was wearing. I tried to remedy my situation by swinging on the swings at Lincoln School and dragging my toes as I swung forward or getting on the witches hat and doing the same thing. When I walked home I would scrape my toes on the sidewalk. I managed to wear a hole in my shoes before March and before I grew out of them. I remember Mom asking me what in the world I was doing to wear out my shoes so fast. I was sure I could talk her into those Mary Jane’s I wanted so badly, but no luck, she said that if I wore out those sturdy shoes so quickly, what would I do to little strap shoes? Drats!….Back we went to Tip Top and bought another pair of tie-up shoes exactly like the ones I’d spent so much energy destroying, only one half size larger.

  5. Laurie,
    May I use your written piece about prayer in my SS lesson this coming Sunday. It goes so well with turning our problems over to Christ, so many feel the way you do and I loved what you wrote.

  6. Oh, Laurie, you are delightful! I was glad that I caught Diane’s FB share….such a writing talent! It appears you are loving life beyond the state of Utah so I am hoping things are wonderful! Just wanted you to know that in 4th grade I had a pair, burgundy and black and I thought they were great! So much for my fashion sense at that age. Loves to you! Valerie Haymond Staheli

    1. How wonderful to hear from you! You probably had the fashion sense and I missed the boat! Thanks for reaching out. I love hearing from old friends… Old as in lifelong not as in elderly!

  7. This blog sparked a lot of memories for me.
    My dad was a child of the Depression and proud of it. He reminded us of that often. His was the Mormon Pioneer motto, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
    I’m okay if I don’t hear that again.
    When I was about 10, one of the arms broke on my lovely pink winged tipped eyeglasses broke.
    My dad loved to repair things — especially things that needed GLUE.
    He had a beloved Epoxy glue kit.
    My glasses provided the perfect opportunity to use it.
    He didn’t just squeeze glue out of a tube …he made it!
    He mixed two compounds together with a special tool.
    It was fascinating.
    I felt like I was watching a chemist in a lab.
    Once it was ready, he proceeded to glue the broken arm back on my glasses.
    He also believed that if a little is good, then a lot is better. This was no time to be discreet.
    He put such a massive blob of glue that my glasses looked like they had some kind of growth on them.
    Your average person would think — “Great job, finished.”
    But not my dad.
    He wanted my glasses to be secure and solid.
    So he added WIRE.
    Oh heavens.
    Nothing says, “you better not ever think of breaking these again” like having wire wrapped around your eyeglasses.
    And, yes, it was as bad as you are imagining it.
    I felt like the only thing a person would see when they looked at me was a glob of glue and a mass of wires.
    I must have been a good daughter because I don’t remember complaining. I also must have had nice friends because I don’t remember anyone making fun of them.
    Well, except Leonard who made fun of my glasses before they had the glue and wires.
    He called me four eyes.
    Not even original.
    As I thought about this memory, I thought of what it said about my dad. Besides enduring the Depression, he grew up without a father. He had a tough childhood.
    There were broken things in his life that could not be repaired.
    So, when things went wrong for me, he wanted to make sure they were fixed.
    And I mean good and fixed — glued and wired.
    Repairing my glasses was one way my dad could show me he loved me.
    So, now when I look back on those trend-setting glasses, all I can think is to say, “Thanks Dad.”

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