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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Old Shoes

          Old shoes have always been in my closet.  I don't know what it is about me and my old shoes. Frugality I guess.  It's the old "you never know when I might need them" syndrome.  I wasn't raised in poverty and I don't remember my parents necessarily encouraging it so I don't know where I got this habit.  But I tend to hang on to old shoes until they look rather unbecoming.

          I will slip them on to go out to pick up the mail or take out the trash.  I might even wear a pair of old shoes to run an errand like going to the post office or the bank.  After all, no one needs to be looking at my shoes when I'm doing those things.

         There is not just one pair of old shoes in my closet.  There are new and old versions of dress shoes, casual shoes, sport shoes, and even bedroom slippers.  It has nothing to do with comfort either.  Sometimes the old shoes aren't really comfortable.  It's more to do with functionality.  Old shoes are good if it's raining really hard and the water is up to my ankles.  I don't feel bad about ruining old shoes.

          Or what if I'm forced to walk through someplace that's really nasty like a vast expanse of mud?    I've walked across muddy fields before and come home with Frankenstein boots made of mud.  Those are the times when there's no point in cleaning your shoes--you just throw them away.  Better to throw away old shoes than new shoes.

          Sometimes I've had dreams where I go somewhere and look at my feet and I'm wearing an old pair of shoes.  I go through the dream worrying that someone will see them.  Once, something similar to this actually happened to me. 

             I was in high school.  My father was about to drop me off at school when I looked at my feet and noticed I had put on one new shoe and one old shoe.  I guess in the dim morning light I hadn't noticed since the styles were the same and they didn't feel any different.  My father wasn't about to take me back home to change them and I was forced to suffer the day with the mismatched pair on my feet.  Nobody noticed.  But in high school I don't think that many people really noticed me anyway.

              What is it about me and old shoes, or for that matter, old clothes, old books, old this, and old that?  When I think about it I guess I have a lot of things that are kind of old.  I wonder if when you start accumulating a lot of things that are old it means you are old.  If I got rid of all the old stuff and just had new stuff I'd still be the same age. 

                I'd better just hang on to the old shoes for now.  They're predicting rain this week end.  I might have to walk through some mud.   Then I can toss out the old shoes.



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28 comments:

  1. I don't have too many old shoes in my closet, but a pair of old sneakers hangs out in my garage for those wet, muddy days!

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  2. Many things I have kept seem to have a memory attatched to it, I know it may be worthless to others but to me that memory is important.Not that I'm living in the past as I have much to look forward to in the future,

    I enjoyed reading about your old shoes, you never know when you may need them.

    Have a good day,
    Yvonne.

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  3. I have some old shoes also. My wife just the other day was trying to throw one pair that is obviously beyond repair. But I hung on to them. I don't know why. For guy I probably have more shoes than most.

    Belief it or not I didn't buy half or more. Christmas gifts has given three different pair of slippers to choose from, my thoughtful wife bought some winterized boots for me one cold winter, and such. I really boil it down to where I have one black pair and one brown pair that I always gravitate towards.

    So, have sat here this morning and used one good hot black cup of coffee and at least 10 minutes to ponder your question.

    All I can say is I enjoyed reading about your phobias and nightmares.

    In Wag the Dog, they created a national response to a "hero soldier" by tying old shoes together and throwing them over power lines while Merle Haggard sang in the background.

    Got any Merle Haggard records or power lines near you?

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  4. this was a lovely post, Lee ;)
    I also have difficulty tossing out old shoes, but I have a reason for it: I usually buy expensive ones, and plus I have difficulty finding the ones I love when I'm shopping so when I really find the ones I like and I pay a lot of money for it, it really is difficult tossing them out when they turn sad and old :) because I know how much they cost me and how much love they gave to my feet.

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  5. I think many of us (excuse this worn expression) pack rats, are well familiar with the "never know when you'll need them (or it, etc)..." But shoes are special in this arena. They have an expression of nostalgia. They have carried you to many, many, places; sometimes through rain, sleet, etc.
    Who could callously cast aside such a loyal friend simply because of age and wear?

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  6. -->...Frankenstein boots made of mud

    Ha! That was a good expression. I know just what it means. I've had those on my feet before also, and your phrase pictured them in my mind perfectly. I can almost feel the weight of them on my feet as I type this.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  7. Hey Arlee Bird -- it's been a long time! This post made me laugh out loud because in MY closet there is a rumble of shoes -- childrens and adults -- that need a good culling through. I know I need to through out some of my shoes, but I'm just so busy that they remain housed in the closet and thus worn from time to time.

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  8. I can't say much Arlee, I keep old shoes too! Especially for gardening. I have had to get rid of many of my heels though as I just can't wear them anymore.
    I don't think there's anything strange about keeping the old shoes. Now if you were keeping, lets say, really old underwear, I might think you may need to talk to someone!
    Love Di ♥

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  9. I think there is something to be said for hanging on to old things. We live in such a throw away society, sometimes the comfort of something old and familiar is nice. :)

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  10. Lee, I am the same way. For me there IS a basis in childhood poverty, and there is also a sentimentality. I will SOMETIMES accept that a pair of dress shoes is so sadly out of style I will never choose them again (or has such obscenely high heels) but more practical shoes I really have to crack the sole or wear a hole before I will willingly give them up.

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  11. Guess I'm not much for old shoes. I have four pair - dress shoes, good tennis shoes, gym shoes, and mowing the law shoes. That last pair is a bit green now...

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  12. You hang on to those old shoes and don't feel guilty about it!

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  13. L.Diane -- Sounds like you're putting the old shoe theory to practical use.

    Yvonne -- Maybe keeping some old stuff around helps me remember things.

    Gregg -- I've always heard that a pair of shoes over a power line indicates a location for a drug dealer. Maybe the shoes over a power line around here wouldn't be a good idea.

    Dezmond -- You probably have nicer shoes than I have. I also have a tendency to buy functional shoes that I buy at a sale price.

    Paul-- Gosh....I never thought of my shoes as my friends. Maybe I should have a funeral service before I do throw them out.

    StMc -- Maybe that's where the term "clodhoppers" comes from.

    Ajgallion -- Hello! It has indeed been a while. I can relate to what you're saying. And now my wife's bought me a shoe organizer so I guess I just need to keep those old shoes to keep that organizer full.

    Diana -- I'm not going to say anything about my old underwear, but guys are notorious for this one.

    TK -- Throw away mentality is also a sore spot with me, so maybe that is a factor.

    Hart -- I have gotten rid of all of my old high heels.

    Alex -- A successful author like yourself should not be seen wearing old shoes. And you shouldn't be mowing your own lawn either.

    Ellie -- I don't feel guilty about the shoes, just for annoying my wife. She is not a big fan of my old shoes.

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  14. I have never heard of that. Wonder where I have been. I wonder if it means anything up here. 4 blocks over there are a pair of shoes over power lines. Hmmm. Wonder what's going on there?

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  15. I looked it up on Snopes.com and they say this is one meaning, but it has multiple or no meaning. I have often seen shoes hanging outside my church. When the power company removes them, they mysteriously reappear. I hope it's not because anyone at the church is selling drugs.

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  16. I think Yvonne, touched upon the source. Memories are tied into your feet~ What you did, what you were doing? I agree, I hang on to my stuff, in case. I like to paint, so I have paint clothes, so I won't ruin my good stuff. I also have cooking clothes, too. I love the idea of you, mud and Frankenstein books. My hubby use to have an ATV, we use to ride through the mud and be covered. Such wonderful memories~ Keep those old shoes til you are ready to part with them~ Your feet; Your memories~

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  17. Hi Lee .. they are just too daren'd comfortable & why muck up new shoes .. when those old lovelies will last a few more paces ..

    Fun post .. thank you .. Hilary

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  18. Oh, thank heavens I'm not alone! The bottom of my wardrobe's littered with old shoes--from time to time they cascade out, to my husband's despair. I have no idea why I keep some of them... even when they were new, they weren't my favourites. I guess it's just that 'you never know' factor!

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  19. Two years ago my shoes came apart at the seam in the middle of the day as I was teaching 2nd grade. I emailed the staff asking for fishing wire, when I got some I cut a point onto the end of a paper clip and stitched them up. No one noticed the difference. I started keeping an extra pair in the closet at work. Old shoes are like gold, my friend. Pure gold.

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  20. I've been wearing the exact same kind of footwear for the past 15 years....
    Big black, steel toed boots. I have them on all the time, regardless of the weather or event. When one pair wears out, I go and buy another one of the exact same kind.

    They've served me well in all situations.

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  21. Ellie-- I guess most of us wouldn't want to give up our actual memories, so I guess sometimes we likewise like to hang on to the things that trigger the memories. And thanks for the award.

    Hilary -- Yeah, might as well wear them til they wear out.

    Amie -- I'm glad I'm not the only one.

    Chris -- That was using some ingenuity I'd say. Keeping extras at work might not be a bad idea.

    Andrew-- I also wore work boots that were essentially the same for several years. Work boots are great--comfortable and practical. Eventually I started buying what was comfortable and on sale. They're always changing.

    Larry -- In Phoenix you rarely have mud.

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  22. Old things are comfortable. I just ditched my favorite pair of Birkenstocks I had for 10 years. Was like saying good bye to an old friend. Lots of memories, traveled many a mile in them. I wore them to the point of paper thin soles.

    Plus it is tough getting shoes to fit my duck feet!

    Old anything is a comfort.

    Sig

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  23. I totally got that last line. It correlates to your blog name. Tossing out your shoes!! Way to tie it together.

    I think you might be a hoarder.

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  24. What is it about shoes? I have at least three pair of sneakers in the closet that I'll probably never wear....but I simply can't throw them out!

    I also have a couple sweatshirts my mom bought me years and years ago for Christmas. Maybe I hold on to them because she's gone, but still...

    I loved this!

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  25. I have new shoes and old shoes. I almost always opt for the old ones. I usually only change if my wife says something like, "oh, your wearing those?" I prefer old and comfortable to stylish, new and uncomfortable.
    Nice post!

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  26. Sig -- Certain kinds of shoes are just of such good quality they last and last.

    PTM -- You think I might be a hoarder? I'm not ready for the TV show quite yet, but I think you might be correct.

    Words Crafter-- We are frugal perhaps? Sentimental maybe?

    Pat -- I like to keep wearing the old ones for everyday stuff so they'll wear out and I can throw them away.

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