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Remember when: Shoes

Selma’s Maxine Clark remembers when shoes were made to last, be polished well and repaired as needed. This photo shows a vintage pair of Buster Brown oxfords from the 1970s.

Shoes always had shoestrings, and learning to tie them was a great accomplishment. If a shoestring broke when you were getting ready for school, and there were no more shoestrings in the house, you just tied a knot in the shoestring, relaced it and tied the shoestring again. Later, shoestrings were different colors, and some had designs on them. Now we have Velcro to help us keep our shoes on.

Every Saturday afternoon, my brothers and I sat on the back steps to polish our leather shoes – not expensive leather, but that’s what shoes were made of in the 1930’s, and some still are.

If we ran out of polish before payday, we had to wait until the next payday for more polish. We saved the daubers so that more people could polish at the same time. Each of us could dip our dauber into the jar of liquid polish and apply it to a shoe. Each of us had one pair of shoes (the same color). On Monday through Saturday they were everyday shoes, but by Sunday they were dressed up, and became Sunday shoes. We could only afford to polish our shoes once a week.

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My shoes were brown Oxfords. They weren’t stylish, but they were sturdy. Other girls wore the same kind to school, so I was not embarrassed.

Some shoes had a metal protector on the toe. These were good for playing kickball. You could send the ball flying without ruining the toe of your shoe. We had to take good care of our shoes because we could not buy shoes anytime we wanted.

If a shoe had a hole in the sole, we cut the cardboard of a cereal box to fit into the shoe. This was the time to be embarrassed - if anyone saw the hole. Eventually, the shoe was taken to the shoemaker for a new sole. It was fun to watch the shoemaker use his machines, to make an old shoe like new again.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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