Getting a new pair of shoes was a big deal when I was kid.
We went to places such as Thompson, Boland and Lee in downtown Atlanta. There a sales clerk would meticulously measure my foot.
By the way, here’s a great trivia item: The metal instrument with sliding bars to measure length and width of a foot is called a Brannock Device.
I don’t know if parents even have shoes fitted anymore. They probably just grab a pair off the shelf and put them on their children’s feet. If they go on and he or she doesn’t cry, it’s a keeper.
When I got new shoes, I tried not to get them scuffed up. I didn’t even want to bend them and cause creases in the leather. I walked around for a little while in a Frankenstein-like walk without bending my feet.
Eventually, I scuffed them up quite well.
Saturday night was shoe-shining night at our house. This was to get ready for Sunday school and church the next morning. We brushed and polished our shoes to the musical accompaniment of the Lawrence Welk orchestra during its regular TV show.
I remember the male singers on the show teamed up to sing, “When there’s a shine on your shoes, there’s a melody in your heart.” It was a popular song in an earlier age.
The tap dancing guy, Arthur Duncan, did a little number, as well. I tried to copy him and still have a small scar from colliding with an end table. I never made it as a tap dancer.
The recollection of this coincides with a recent walk through a fancy shoe store. They now sell shoes, expensive pre-scuffed shoes. I’m glad Thompson, Boland or Lee are not around to see such a thing.
Why in the world would you buy a pair of nice shoes that look as if they are on the way to being worn out? The shoe company sort of darkens the toe and maybe a spot or two around the heel with a deeper tone of color. If you have a shine on those shoes, the melody in your heart would be a sad one.
At the same time, a company in Italy called Golden Goose is making a pair of tennis shoes (please note I use the term tennis shoe to describe any type of athletic shoes) that are “distressed.”
I’m not talking about simply looking like you might have jogged a mile of two, I’m talking about shoes patched with duct tape.
At this point, you’re probably thinking they would be cheaper. Oh no, these shoes sell for $500 to $600 a pair. They are being sold in the United States at a hotsy-totsy place called Barneys.
I’m not sure who Barney is, but we can rule out Barney Fife. He always wore a nice pair of lace up Florsheims.
As I was making a hasty retreat from places that sell worn-out new shoes, I saw a display for men’s dress shirts that boast about not being tucked in.
The Lord knows I miss my mama, but I am glad she never lived to see such a thing.
To quote another Southern woman, “It ain’t fittin’. It just ain’t fittin’.”