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.

IMG_4784
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.