I have always loved shoes. It started when I was two with some red patent leather Mary Janes I stuffed my feet into long after they were much too small. Loved the shoes from Woolworth's, the black and white faux Converse, the criss-cross-strap wedgies. One new pair of shoes for school and one for summer seemed like a bountiful closet full. I remember getting some tennies on a Friday, and then getting the flu in the night. Wore them all weekend anyway. They looked good with pajamas.
In high school I made a lot of money as a waitress. Unaware that someone else in my house was thinking I'd be saving for college, I came to see every payday as a shopping day. High-heeled sandals were my favorites until those rubber-soled wave shoes came along. I had some in every style. Sandals flat-, medium- and high-heeled; oxfords that tied, a pair of slip ons; suede boots. I actually wore out the sensible ones as a waitress, though I didn't have a chance to wear out one pair of wooden slides. They were the kind that had only a little strap across the front, so every step produced a loud slap. My dad abruptly offered me $20 for them one night. Apparently I'd been walking up and down the hallway annoying the heck out of him. Anyway, twenty bucks was fine by me, I'd paid $9. No surprise to see them go out in the trash. (Many years later, on my wedding day, I again had slappy shoes on. He grimaced a little and suggested another deal, but I knew he wouldn't survive the reality inflation had wrought, much less the price of my better taste. Even if he'd had that kind of cash on him that day I was in too good a mood to bilk him again.)
I often combine shopping with sightseeing, and so I have a fun pair of slides from Chicago, and blue sandals from Boston. Oh, and the olive green pumps from San Francisco. Souvenirs of good times. Nothing takes the dull out of a day like slipping on some Cinderella.
In this my husband is very similar. (In that he has many shoes, not that they make him feel like a princess.) We haven't counted, though the assumption is that he has more shoes but I have more invested. We give shoes as gifts. The young women who work in my building were flabbergasted the year he had a pair shipped to my office for my birthday. I didn't have the heart to tell them if their husbands didn't understand about shoes, they probably wouldn't be keepers. It seemed a little harsh, and possibly not a fair litmus test for all marriages, only for mine.
One of my colleagues stopped short of calling me shallow when he heard I'd bought red slingbacks at a lovely shop in Paris. His careful phrasing was along the lines of it never occurring to him to go into a store (tiny bit of emphasis on "store" and a somewhat aghast expression) while in Europe. Fine for you buddy. No question you're a more serious person. I'm ok, you're ok. Plus, we went to the museums too.
A few weeks later, in a visit with Catherine Cater, professor emerita, an intellectual if ever there was, I mentioned the excursion to the shoe shop, though I carefully framed it as part of exploring the city, masking my lust for the shoes. She nodded as if she knew the place. I looked at her closer, described the little rue and how we found it, just past the Louvre. Yes, she said. I was there last time I was in Paris. Isn't it lovely.
Catherine didn't buy any shoes at the pretty shop, but that she felt it worth seeking and savoring is enough for me. Girl, vindicated.
As you read this issue, you may observe that we have both an essay by an alcohol awareness educator (p. 44) and an article about a winemaker (p. 18). After a fair bit of discussion, we concluded the two stories do coexist. NDSU is working to educate its students about the dangers of underage drinking and alcohol misuse, that alcohol can be enjoyed when understood and used safely. Let us know what you think.
Thank you for reading.