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Posts Tagged ‘W.P. Kinsella’

When the topic of shoes posted last week, all I could think about was Shoeless Joe Jackson. Remember his appearance in Field of Dreams? I can picture him walking out of a sparkling corn field in Dyersville, Iowa, scuffling over to the bleachers, tossing a baseball, hand to pocket, hand to pocket, talking to Kevin Costner.

True to the novel by W. P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe, there is even a character in Field of Dreams (played by James Earl Jones) loosely based on the reclusive J.D. Salinger. What’s not to like about the story of a Midwestern farmer (Ray Kinsella), two baseball players (Shoeless Joe Jackson and Archibald “Moonlight” Graham), and the writer, J.D. Salinger?

But this isn’t about the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Or Joe’s blistery shoeless run around the bases in 1908.

We’re not talkin’ shoeless here. We’re talkin’ shoes.

From the week’s discussion of power heels, stilettos, weapons, and height, I find I don’t walk stride by stride with everywoman’s categorical obsession with shoes. I don’t seem to care how tall I look or feel. I don’t and never have owned a pair of high heels. I wasn’t gaga over Sex and the City, though I did think the character development was pretty snappy. And it took me several seasons to even know what a Manolo Blahnik was.Mary Tyler Moore on Nicollet Mall & 7th Street, Minneapolis, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved

I did once wear a pair of low, red slingback heels. It was Easter and I was coiffed in Mary Tyler Moore hair that curled under only because I slept the night before on hard, pink, plastic rollers the size of a toilet paper tube, held in place with Dippity Doo and bobby pins. Ouch. The red heels graced a white pleated skirt, nylon hose with garter belt (remember?), white poly shell, and navy cotton blazer.

That may have been the last pair of heels I ever owned. Probably the last skirt, too.

I wonder what kind of shoes Truman Capote wore? I’m sure his skirts were lacier than mine. And somehow I picture Harper Lee in low slung heels clacking across the Holcomb, Kansas library floor. I wonder if she even owned a pair of high heels?

Oh, and have I mentioned that Mary Tyler’s Moore’s winter boots are immortalized in bronze in front of what used to be Dayton’s department store on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis?

Mary Tyler Moore’s boots & purse, Nicollet Mall & 7t Street, Minneapolis, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved

Don’t get me wrong about shoes – oh, I  love shoes. But the more I think about it, the more my style rings truer from the Egads! women loving women perspective. Yes, lesbians do love their shoes. But, for goodness sake, comfort first.

Since the headfirst dive into creative writing, I haven’t had the extra cash to throw at my shoe collection. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still covet shoes. I don’t have beautiful feet to wrap my shoes around; they aren’t ugly either.

I have average feet, nicely shaped. The big toe reminds me of a spade on a deck of playing cards. The nail beds are just the right size and angle.

I used to wear a 7 1/2. But over the last 10 years, my feet seem to have spread to Kingdom Come; they are now a size 8. I’ve got no bunions but exactly 2 calluses. They erupted out of a pair of Vasque hiking boots I bought when I moved to Montana in my early 20’s. The boots were stiff and hard but everyone in Missoula was wearing them. Who was going to argue?

My feet. They’ve never recovered. The Vasquean calluses, one on the outside spade of each big toe, have not gone away since 1975.

I’m going to end the unenlightened Foot Journals of QM by keeping it short and simple – an inventory of the not ready for prime time players hiding in my closet.

What could be more engaging?


 Red Wing Boot, Red Wing, Minnesota, July 2005, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved      Red Wing Boot, Red Wing, Minnesota, July 2005, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved      Red Wing Boot, Red Wing, Minnesota, July 2005, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved


  1.  Merrell boots, forest green – bought on sale at an independent shoe store on Hennepin near Uptown. The black rubber toes are separating from the canvas. I’ve had to replace the wide, dark green shoe strings with off-color white. I can’t seem to throw them away. I love these shoes.
  2.  Converse high tops, pink  – I’ve had these shoes since 1985. I played softball in them in my early 30’s. The pink’s turned dirty black, the Converse tag came off the molded rubber trim. I finally threw them away when I moved in with Liz in December. What are they doing in this write? I still see them when I open my closet. 8)
  3. Converse high tops, red – replacement for the pinks. I have to be in the mood to wear them. A very RED mood.
  4.  Doc Martens, black – from art school, when the only color worn was, you guessed it, black. I still wear them to ride the Rebel. They give me height on pavement. But the soles are too slick for motorcycle riding. They have held up well. The leather is supple and has stood the test of time. So has the stitching. Doc’s are worth the money you shell out for them.
  5. Doc Martens, white – oh, wait, those are Liz’s. They’re sitting outside my closet. And I wish they were mine. She got them on sale when I first met her. I told her she needed a pair of good boots before I’d take her riding on the back of the Rebel. They debuted in one of my stories – oh, the Pentagram piece. She showed up on my doorstep the next day with shorts paired with white Doc Martens she’d gotten on sale. That’s when I knew I loved her!
  6.  Target flip flops, cheap & black – for those romps to the public showers when tent camping. They are perfect for that. Trust me, you don’t want bare feet in public showers.
  7.  Handmade moccasins, cinnamon with sunburst pattern on top – a woman named Deborah in Montana made these for me in 1975, sewed them by hand with an awl, and stamped the sunburst into the top. I rarely wear them. But I can’t seem to throw them away.
  8.  Minnetonka Moc’s – I bought these in 1984. They are completely worn out with holes through both layers of leather under my spade shaped big toes. They’ve conformed to my feet perfectly. I just can’t give them up. I bought another pair about 10 years ago, soft leather Minnetonka’s with those ergonomic nubs on the bottom. I’ve never taken to them. I gave them to Liz a few weeks ago. I’m stickin’ with the holey oldies.
  9.  Red Wing boots – the leather was hard as a rock like my Vasque, so I gave them away a few months ago when I moved. They were in great shape. I just can’t take the calluses anymore. They used to only make three kinds of hiking boots. Now there are thousands!
  10.  Skechers sneakers, white – My last pair wore out. Soft, cushy leather, wide and comfortable with the trademark S in silver on the back (yes, dzvayehi, what is that back strip called?) This is my 3rd pair of Skecher sneakers. I love them. I wish they made more simple, white leather choices.
  11.  Bongos, faded brown– I love these boots. They are a comfortable version of the old style Vasque. I can’t afford new Harley boots, so I’ve been making do with the Bongos. They give me the height, are good on oil slicks at traffic lights, and have the sturdiness I need on the bike.
  12.  Lands’ End Moccasins, chocolate brown – these are the latest addition to my wardrobe. Liz got them for me for Christmas. They are comfort extraordinaire. Quilted and cush. Have held up in Minnesota ice and snow. A winter winner.
  13.  Ked’s penny loafers – I bought these at Sears (surprisingly great shoes) about 9 years ago. They are the most comfortable shoes I own. Summer only. The soles are threadbare but the pennies I slide into the top slot are still shiny. A writer friend gave the 1967 coins to me for one of my birthdays; it was the year I first knew I was a writer.


 Red Wing Boot, Red Wing, Minnesota, July 2005, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved      Red Wing Boot, Red Wing, Minnesota, July 2005, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved      Red Wing Boot, Red Wing, Minnesota, July 2005, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved


Finally, #14 (my number when I played sports) in honor of Shoeless Joe, a pair of black cleated Riddells with red soles from my years of playing field hockey. I keep them around with my worn Spalding ball glove. They remind me that I was once muscular, trim, and fit, with the lung power of the goddess, Athena.

My own personal field of dreams.

Things always change, don’t they? Except for the love of shoes. In the immortal words of Rod Stewart, “Every picture tells a story, don’t it.”

So does every pair of shoes.

Friday, April 20th, 2007

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