I don't usually buy her shoes. Rolf and she have a shoe purchasing ritual, where they ride the bus downtown together a couple times each year, to get new shoes at Nordstorm. I can only imagine what the shoe lady must think of Rolf with his scruffy gray beard and the faded jeans he wears to the lab, with acid burns in them.
Freyja wanted to get running shoes, like her father's, so that is what we got.
This is the first pair of shoes with ties, so we had to spend a little time practicing, but she learned in a snap.
I remember my grandfather teaching me to tie my shoes when I was four. I was on a trip to Idaho with my grandparents to see their mothers and I remember sitting in the spare living-room of my great-grandmother's house in Fruitland, with her Boston Bulldog darting around, carefully making the rabbit run around the hole, to tie my saddle shoes.
Freyja thought it was funny, when I told her that when I was a child people didn't wear tennis shoes for everyday, the way they do now.
I told her that I only had tennis shoes for gym, and they were called gymshoes.
I remember that it became quite commonplace to wear gym shoes all the time around the time I was in 6th grade, which coincided with a move from a small blue collar town, to a affluent suburb. My mother had landed a big, real job, after being a student for a long time, our lives were changing quickly.
I felt like I had landed on a different planet. A planet where people wore Nike tennis shoes all day and demanded to know where I shopped, which felt like the most bizarre and rude thing anyone could have asked me. I was brought up to be discreet and to overlook things that might embarrass people, and it was as if the girls in my new school had been taught just the reverse; rudeness and cruelty reigned.
The spring I was in 7th grade my mother had done extremely well at her job as a stock broker, and she took me on a trip with her to New York and we did a lot of shopping, because my mother knew that it had been a long old year, as my grandmother would say, not having the right shoes, and not being a skilled shopper.
When I returned to my Jr. High from that trip, I saw those girls through a very different lens and I almost felt confident in my new shoes and my New York clothes.
|at the base of the statue of liberty 7th grade|