Back in the day, this was the time of year for the new shoe dance. Mine was a combination of a tap dance and the twist. This dance was done when I put on my new school shoes.
Just about everyone I knew had 3 pairs of shoes – shoe shoes, play shoes and dress shoes. This time of year was time for new school shoes and since we only usually got one pair per year, we did the new shoe happy dance when we put them on.
Buying shoes back in the day was very different, almost a ritual.
We went to a shoe store or the shoe section of the department store and a salesperson carefully measured our feet – both width and length. Then I selected several pairs to try on. My favorites were Mary Janes and Saddle Shoes. The salesperson would disappear into a mysterious room in the back and re-emerge with several boxes of shoes to try on.
Once you put them on, the salesperson placed his thumb on the end of the shoe to ensure that there was room to grow, after all, the idea was that these shoes should last the entire school year. After admiring your selection in the mirror, you were asked to walk around the store in order to make sure they felt good. Nothing felt better than a new pair of shoes.
After making the purchase, the new shoes were carefully place in a shoe box. My mother also made sure to purchase matching shoe polish and laces. My favorite part of the transaction was getting a box of pretzel sticks from the salesman.
I was never permitted to wear my new shoes again until the first day of school.
I bought new shoes last week. I picked through boxes of shoes on the rack, tried them on myself and prayed that this pair wouldn’t give me blisters. I brought them home and tossed them in the closet with dozens of other pairs of shoes. Somehow the magic of buying new shoes was gone, until I decided to do the new shoe happy dance and the joy of childhood returned.