This old shoe is one of a pair that – tied together by their old, worn laces – hang from the knob on my studio door.
By today’s standards, they are pretty simple – though badly worn out – sneakers.
When they were new, back in the summer of 1972, they were glorious!
White canvas with red and blue vinyl accents, thick white laces, rounded toes. When plain white tennis shoes were the norm, these seemed very special to me.
I had recently become a mother, which changed my life and altered my perceptions more than anything else, ever! It filled my head with ideas. It spurred me to become the best person I could possibly be. My little family had moved to a cottage on Lake Pleasant. My husband and I had big plans for remodeling and modernizing it, for using it as our home base as we raised our family and traveled the world, one adventure after another. I had taken over a corner of the front porch as an area to make art.
I saw myself as a young wife, good mother, creative person, all-good-things-await optimist…with a little hippie, flower-child funkiness thrown in for good measure.
These shoes underlined that image.
I wore them with jeans and shorts and sundresses. I wore them as an irreverent touch with dress slacks. I wore them as I walked with my little daughter as she took her first steps…and for many steps afterward. I wore them as I took my first baby-steps into thinking of myself as an artist.
I wore them until the rubber soles lost their tread and cracked, until the canvas was in shreds, until my perfect little life with all of its “happy ever after” had proven itself to be an average life, with normal struggles.
I’ve lost or tossed away many of the plans and dreams I had as that young optimist.
I never could bring myself to throw away the shoes.