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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Walking on Sunshine: A Love Letter to My Long Gone Go-To Brown Suede Shoes

Today is the time to #celebrate what I promised in a couple of January blog posts in writing about Shoes & Sweaters. I love them both!


I am happy to present a story of walking on sunshine in a pair of wedges that rocked my world for years in my youth. It all started...


When I was in my early teen years, my Mom and I went shopping for a new pair of school shoes at the end of August/early September. We didn’t have much money, but I was entering Junior High and wanted to look nice as far as our meager school shopping dollars could handle. I didn’t even visit a department store; we went straight to my Mom’s favorite store, Kmart.


Since platform shoes were all the rage in the 1970s — mostly to go along with the wide bell-bottom pants, and I was still lukewarm about owning and wearing them as a 13-year-old girl — I was instead interested in wedges. I guess they would have been considered platform wedges but lower by several inches.


So, off we go to Kmart. I was not “feeling” it because I wanted (still lobbying?) to shop at the department store’s shoe department, certainly not Kmart. There may have been a hissy fit about just that, too. Within moments, my Mom brought me down to Earth, stating something to the effect she was all in on buying me a new pair of shoes, just not the ones in the shiny department stores. Heck, I was lucky she was taking me out at all, is what it came down to. We left two little girls (my sisters) home with my Dad (a good guy but not interested in “babysitting.”). There was a bit of urgency to get this task done.


Reluctantly, I walked with her to the neatly displayed shoe racks in the middle of the store. The overhead fluorescent lights created a pleasant enough ambiance, but it was still Kmart. By the time I perused the first aisles of shoes, my heart was racing as the pickings were slim on what a 13-year-old girl “could” wear entering Junior High. The rows of ugly black and brown fake leather shoes my elder aunts would wear left me disappointed and exasperated. I was about to give up hope and turned down the last aisle that included new shoes and many pairs on sale.


Then I saw them. Shoes similar to those in the teen magazines that I hoped would be in my size once I got closer to try them on. The shoes were suede leather, medium brown, and perched on a small manageable wooden wedge. And they were on sale! I thought I hit the jackpot of shoes!


Trying on my “instant” favorite shoes in several sizes increased my heart rate and good luck. I knew these were “it.” Since they had about every woman’s size, even my Mom decided to try on a pair —smaller by one size than me. She liked them too.


I remember floating up to the cashier with our two pairs of brown suede wooden wedge shoes.


Mission accomplished.


But that was only the beginning of the BEST shoes I ever owned. I wore them everywhere and for every occasion I could. They must have walked over 10,000 miles in wearing them for close to a decade. They became my galoshes, my boots, my slippers. I even took naps in them when in college.


By the time my senior year of college rolled around, I was gingerly wearing them. Those wooden wedge heels were wearing thin faster and faster, it seemed, after each wearing. I made a mental note to ask my Mom if she still had her pair (she did!) and to try them on once home. They were too small and not the right fit for me, unfortunately. They never became her all-star favorites and were in excellent shape due to the low mileage on them.


The last day finally came when I was blessed to wear them; the wooden heel broke on one of the shoes. There was really no way they could be fixed or adjusted at this point. They had just plumb worn out. I was crestfallen.


I vividly remember standing over the trash can in my tiny college apartment, tears streaming down my face as I lifted the lid and gently placed my beloved shoes in their final resting spot until the trash was taken out later that day.


I was inconsolable the rest of the day.


A tangible piece of who I was was over, even in a pair of shoes that saw and did so much in my young life.


Do you or did you have a favorite pair of shoes that walked all over with you, keeping you safe? Let me know about it in the chat (on FB), or reach out to me at ttomoff@gmail.com


bSoleille!

Terri


I couldn't find a photo of me wearing my favorite shoes from the early 1970s to the early 80s. The photo below was found on a Google search for the brown suede wooden wedge, eerily close to the ones I loved so much!


bSoleille!

Terri








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