Part One: Shoes
I finally packed away the winter sweaters and flannel shirts and hung my summer tees and capris in their place. I hate this seasonal task so much that I delay it for as long as I can. It’s not that I have that many clothes to pack away. It’s the shoes. The seasonal switching of the shoes drives me nuts.
Why so many shoes? It’s not that I’m fashionable. Far from it. I only routinely wear three pairs of shoes: crocs for lounging around the house, red tie shoes for going out, and white sneakers for my morning walk. The problem is that I hold onto shoes that I don’t wear anymore – shoes that are out of style, worn out in the heels or just don’t fit comfortably. Every season, I empty these old shoes out of their shoe boxes and line them up on the shoe rack in my closet. They sit there collecting dust for the next few months, unworn, until I repack them again for storage. I can’t help it. I can’t throw shoes away.
I think I inherited this strange behavior from my mother. She wore the same black rubber sole tie shoe every day through every season. But she had a hanging shoe organizer on the inside of her closet door filled with nine pairs of shoes that she never wore. Each pair had a story and a reason why she couldn’t get rid of them. One day, when I was at her house helping her with some cleaning, I suggested we donate the unworn shoes to a thrift shop.
“Don’t you dare!” she scolded me. “Those are my shoes!”
“But you never wear them!” I held up a two-tone dress shoe. “What about these?” I asked. “I’ve never seen you wear these. They look brand new.”
“They are new. I only wore them once to what’s-his-name’s wedding,” she said. “I just sat there all night. I couldn’t even dance, they hurt my feet so much. I have to stretch them.”
I held up a pair of loafers. “How about these? I remember you wearing these when I was in high school in the 60’s!”
“So what? You think they’re too old? All I have to do is replace the soles every few years. The leather is still good. But, they’re too loose now. My heels must have shrunk somehow. I have to get some shoe pads to put in those.”
“What about these old saddle shoes?” I asked, laughing. “Do you think these will ever come back into fashion?”
“Put those back and leave my shoes alone! Some day I might need them. You never know.”
You never know. That’s what I say as I store my brown leather tie shoes in a shoebox for the summer season. I haven’t worn them in four years.I box up the uncomfortable navy-blue patent leather dress shoes too. With a little stretching, I could wear them to a wedding. The winter boots go into plastic bags. They haven’t seen the light of day in three years because I stay indoors in my fuzzy socks and fur lined crocs if I see snow on the ground. I’ll hold onto them. Maybe I’ll venture outside next winter. You never know.