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“How many shoes do you need?” when he saw her closet. She didn’t have tons

Time:2019-11-05 14:59Shoes websites Click:

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When I was growing up on the Happy Hollow Road, footwear piled up on the landing at the top of the basement stairs. It was where we came in from the garage. Piles of shoes and boots from a family of six had to periodically be sorted and returned to the respective owner’s room or a coat closet by the fireplace.

I remember this because my sister and I were the teenage designated house cleaners on Saturdays and this was one of our targets for tidying. Of course, it was worse in winter and spring when they all came in wet or encased in a crusty mud, which we were to clean up before putting away.

This memory came to mind recently as I noticed enough shoes had found the way to the bottom of my stairs to prompt me to get a milk crate to corral them. And these are just mine!

I used to slip shoes off at the back door, including winter boots, just as we did as kids coming in from the outdoors. I try to keep only one or two pair out there now, otherwise I’m constantly tripping over them in the narrow passageway.

It was still nice out when I realized how many pairs of shoes had become strewn on the stairway. There were two or three pairs of slip-ons I keep handy to go outdoors with Lucy, my cat, or to step onto the porch. I bought some comfortable canvas shoes in different colors. The pile also included pairs of lace-up athletic shoes, brown loafers and a pair of low-cut suede boots. I typically live in my stocking-feet. Socks don’t last me long and new ones are among my favorite comfort items. If the need arises, however, these shoes stand ready.

JUST AS MY sister and I did, I periodically carry the crate back upstairs and put them away, some in shoe pockets on the back of my bedroom door. The slots are fewer than the number of shoes I own. Some go in a laundry basket and depending on the season, others take turns in a less accessible closet. Before I know it, however, shoes find the way back down the stairs. I think they travel in the night while I’m sleeping.

My husband’s sister once shared that he asked her years ago, “How many shoes do you need?” when he saw her closet. She didn’t have tons, but enough to prompt the question. Gordy questioned my relationship with shoes, too. Never one for fashion or high heels (gave them up years ago), most of my shoes are purchased for comfort. He once handed me some money and told me to go to a shoe store and get a real pair like his mother sold when she worked at Stone’s Shoes in Olean and formerly at Bradners. He gave up on me when I came home with another pair of comfy athletic shoes and some snazzy sneakers.

I doubt it applies to all men, but Gordy’s question stemmed from his own footwear ownership experience. He only had two pair of athletic shoes at a time, typically a ratty, worn-out pair he couldn’t part with and a newer one I kept insisting he try to break in. He had a pair of rarely worn lace-up dress shoes he kept polished for special occasions like an interview or a funeral. They were clunky and set in the back of the closet with those shoe stretchers in them to keep them nice.

He also had some low-cut lace-up work boots that he wore most of the time, whether on the farms he frequented or in the college classrooms where he taught. They functioned well in winter, too, and came from one of those rugged outfitter places. He once had a pair of cowboy boots he wore out. Oh, and a pair of hip waders for fishing. Can’t forget those. But that was it. Some men have even fewer in their wardrobe.

I CAN’T EXPLAIN why I have so many shoes, only to say I like my feet comfortable. I continually hunt for cozier ones. I’m not so attached to shoes I can’t give (or throw) some away from time to time. I once gathered up several pairs for a fund drive an area church was doing to provide shoes for individuals who didn’t have much, maybe not even one pair of shoes.

I’m not attached to shoes or fashion like the famed Imelda Marcos who is reported to have had 1,220 pair when she fled from the Philippines with her deposed husband in 1986. Nor could I ever be as attached as singer Celine Dion who admitted on a TV talk show she had several thousand.

When the truth came out, it was more like 10,000 pairs. She has a special warehouse in Las Vegas to house them. Now that’s a lot of shoes! I think Celine wins the “How many shoes?” contest. How many do you have?

(Contact contributor Deb Wuethrich at deborahmarcein@gmail.com.)

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