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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

The Shoe Guy

Many folks are reflecting on the past year, and I think that is an amazing thing to do. I am also grateful for the many ways life unfolded for me and my family in 2023, including a wonderful wedding of "The Best Daughter" and her hubby, Bo Hudson, and terrific travel near and far.

My plans for the new year are to work/finish my book, Joy Ride Journeys - Car Stories to Get You Going, and to edit and get The Focused Fight out on Audible.

Lately, my daily writings (on another platform) have been playful with stories of Shoes & Sweaters. I don't know where it will go, but I am having a blast thinking and writing about "mundane" topics of articles of clothing and shoes. Really, they are human interest stories in serial form (Thank YOU, Katy D.!).

Before this year ends, I want to share one of the stories I recently wrote, a sort of peek into another part of my writing endeavors!

The Air Jordan Shoe Guy

It’s not only women who love shoes, boots, and sandals. Boys to Men love them too, though maybe they keep their love on the down low. Or maybe not?

In November 2023, Bill Tomoff and I were on the Parent’s Getaway Retreat (Childhood Cancer Patients Parents through Special Love, Inc.). We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in McLean, VA (Tyson’s Corner). The hotel is attached to the gargantuan mall (there are two malls because, apparently, one enormous mall is not enough). Walking through the hallways filled with - already - Christmas shoppers, I came upon a mall Gallery and Andy Yoder’s Overboard Show!

Let me tell you, this guy is not only into shoes; he’s into the features of 250 pairs of sneakers he calls sculptures riffing off Nike Air Jordan’s 5s. Overboard highlights one of contemporary culture’s most iconic and recognizable athletic shoes and the specific model that was a huge hit starting in 1990.

The placard explaining the installation mentioned that the same year the shoe catapulted into extreme popularity, over 80,000 pairs of Nike Air Jordans fell into the Pacific Ocean en route to the U.S. from South Korea during a storm.

That must have been one hellacious storm! In fact, the storm was so compelling that a gentleman named Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer made quick ground-breaking work and study of maritime currents. He used the unique serial numbers on each sneaker, where he and his researchers gathered data from beachcombers worldwide who found the shoes washed ashore.

Instead of cloth or leather, Andy Yoder uses boxes, bags, posters, and other discarded items to fashion his quirky footwear. Yoder says, “I’m a big believer in the possibility of second chances, which is why this story has such appeal for me. Making art is a form of alchemy, and being creative gives us the power to steer the ship rather than bobbing around like a sneaker lost at sea. With this in mind, if you come across a shoe on the beach (or a flip flop or a bottle), do the right thing and toss it in the trash. You never know where it might go from there.”

Who doesn't love a great pair of shoes, er, Jordans in all their glory?



Check out Mr. Yoder's loot of Jordan shoes:


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