30 June 2017

Shoe stories

It's thanks to Bella that I embarked on "japanese-clearing" my shoes - she mentioned that she'd been through hers and got rid of some. (It's thanks to Janet that I know this approach works - she stood by and listened to my stories of the items I was getting rid of.)

This time I approached the task on my own, but I need to have a record of it, and to tell a few of my "shoe stories"... because every object has a history, and these histories somehow need to be remembered.

First gather ALL the items in the category. I believe that these are all my shoes -
 They look ready to march out of the room ... even the slippers. There are 31 pairs, including the silver sandals bought in Paris the year my sister visited, that hot summer in the early 90s. The next time I went to Paris I bought a pair from Arche that I believed were ox-blood red but later recognised as ... brown ... (I still love them but the heels have worn through and are kept somewhat wearable by applications of Shoe Goo.) After that, every visit to Paris demanded a visit to the Arche shop and the (major) treat of new shoes. The black sandals bought in Tours didn't work out, but others are still going strong.

I rearranged the seried ranks into "keep", "wear at home" (slippers - Hausschuhe), and "gotta go" -
 Those in the front row gotta go, including the comfortable, cheerful ones on my feet, in which a bunion has caused the upper to split from the sole. The black Camper boots have split too, and the colour has worn off the toes of the comfy beige (beige! next to brown, my least favourite colour!) Ecco pair.

And then there are the blue shoes, bought after my end-of-foundation-course show in 2010, when I realised that other people had nice shoes to wear to the preview and I had "nothing like that". The blue shoes look great on (even with bunions) but alas and alack they are not comfortable to wear. It's taken me seven years to realise that there's no point in having them around, tormenting me.

The orange shoes were bought in Paris early in the 2000s on a day trip , what luxury, and nearly caused us to miss the train back to London, so they have a certain poignancy. A private session with the immigration people was part of the delay when they were picky about the lack of the UK residency certificate in my current passport ... that cost £300 to have a shiny bit of paper stamped onto a page; fortunately it hasn't had to be redone in subsequent passports (Canadian passports must be renewed every five years).

The blue, the orange, the black shoes will get one final wearing to bid them goodbye (and remind me that Comfort Is Paramount), then it's off to the charity shop with them. I'm on the lookout for a shoe-recycling bin for the other three pairs.

Which pares it down to ... hmm, still a lot. Most of those in the photo below are currently in regular use, and most of those not shown are crammed into a few storage boxes (from ikea) to keep the dust off them till the season changes -
The pink espadrilles, ah the pink espadrilles - found in Hungeford when we took a wrong turning on a day out and decided to stop for coffee and have a little wander. So comfy and I love the colour; hopefully with rationed wearing they'll last a few more seasons.

The Sunjun sandals are a replacement for those found in Seattle in the 90s and worn summer after summer. It was a case of "wear these everywhere, anytime" summer after summer - surely the perfect shoe is when it suits every outfit and is comfy and lasts and lasts. (And if it has to be brown ... you wear it anyway.)

Unfortunately the black sandals, though both somewhat trendy and congenial for the bunions [if you are bunion-free, rejoice!!], have caused blisters on other toes so I'm wondering if they need to GO, even though they were new last summer. Once the blisters have healed, they get another chance, and won't be worn all day for lots of walking.

In the top row are blue suede shoes with dainty little heels which were bought in Gersfeld, Germany - my home town before the family moved to Canada.
Frontispiece of the photo album my mother made me, with a view of Gersfeld
 "Hanover auntie" had moved back there, and I visited her (and Frankfurt-auntie) fairly often. On one visit she took me to the shoe shop and we found two pairs of blue shoes - this must have been 1983 - and who should come into the shop but my childhood friend Margit (Schneider?) and her mother.
1952 - Margit and I saying goodbye, in front of my grandmother's shop in Gersfeld
I regret that our rather short conversation didn't lead, in those pre-internet days, to keeping in touch. One pair of shoes was worn so often they they wore out, but these were kept "for best" and now, for memory.

What are your thoughts about shoes - can we ever have too many? How are they best stored?


patty a. said...

When I do a big cleanup I review my shoes - what to keep, what to get rid of. My old almost worn out athletic shoes are moved to the garage for yard work shoes. Over the last couple of years I have had to get rid of shoes because my feet keep getting bigger! I have a shoe caddy by the outside door with slots for shoes. That is where I keep my shoes except for the pair I wear all the time. I don't buy shoes unless I have to. If I were to guess I have 10 pair including Nike slip-ons I wear around the house. When I got rid of my sons shoes that I had saved since he was little, I took a picture of them to keep that memory. The only pair that was missing was the pair that got thrown away when he was not quite two and had a bad case of diarrhea. You get the picture - LOL!!!

The Idaho Beauty said...

I used to have a shoe rack that sat on the floor of the closet for the shoes worn most often. When I had a. job I was more prone to buy different shoes to go with different outfits and then there were "dress" shoes for fancy occasions. Those mostly stayed in the boxes they came in. I was highly influenced by a co-worker when I was in my late 30's. I'd never known someone with so many shoes & she freely admitted she could go months without repeating. Another co-worker at that same job arrived one day with colorful shoes the same hue as her dress. It seemed such an indulgence to buy shoes that could only be worn with one outfit. but that was the permission I needed to buy a pair of lavender shoes to go with a lavendar dress. It felt so decadent! Of course in those younger days there were high heels, so many shoes with high heels whether comfortable or not. The older I got the lower the heel I could tolerate until now I rarely wear anything but a flat or very low wedge. I too probably have shoes I should let go but whenever I open the boxes I too am regaled with memories and then the thought I might find a good reason to wear them again. I store most of my shoes in their original box these days, those worn most often stacked on the closet floor, those rarely worn stacked on the closet shelf so high I need a stepstool to reach them.