Mabel, Floy, Eva.

Names of grandmothers and aunts

born so long ago.


The Shoe Gene

A couple of days ago, I attended a “downsizing how-to” luncheon, and one of the presenters asked this question:  “just how many pairs of shoes do you really need”?  Well.  That brought to mind a few memories and a couple of current closets.  Memory first.

Not so long after Bob and I got together, he volunteered to help my mom and dad move from their home into a condo (little did he know!).  This was not so long after Imelda Marcos’ gigantic shoe collection had been big news, so perhaps Bob should have been prepared for what he came upon.  My mom had the shoe gene, the same one Imelda had.  Bob carried out box after box after box of shoes, so that by the end of the day he was looking at me askance–did I inherit the gene, he wondered.  Was the closet in his home that I was about to move my stuff into going to be large enough?  Perhaps ought he get himself gone?  He didn’t, and I fit.

So then, however, there is my sibling.  While claiming that the rule of the closet is one goes out for each that comes in, my sibling’s closet has a rather large (make that very large) collection of shoes within it.  I think the rule was formed way too late.  Enough about that.

Then, there is me.  As you are now aware, my closet contains old stuff.  As a shoe example, my shoe shelf holds my Birkenstock’s that I bought back in the 1960’s after Reagan maced the Berkeley campus, causing me to drop my new camera in my haste to get away and I felt the need to make a statement (yes, OK, that’s another story).  Anyway, there they are, still happily in my closet, not having been worn a whole lot during their fifty-plus year residency (good symbol, though).  You may not know (or believe, perhaps) that for most of my life I have avoided wearing colorful things.  Well, it is true.  I have over the last decade or so, however, been expanding the color chart by way of shoes.  I have blue and white polka dot shoes, purple shoes (more than one pair, even), blue and white striped shoes, lovely bohemian print shoes, turquoise shoes, and many others.  I am finally making a color statement, with my glorious feet.  Which means, however, that I have also, rather late in life, broken out with the shoe gene.

So.  The answer to the question the presenter asked?  Many, many, many!


Visited my local recently and chatted with a gentleman who is also often there for a cuppa.  He was wearing a super-looking plaid jacket, and I complimented him on his sartorial taste.  He said, “oh this–this old thing is probably ten years old!”.  I had to laugh. Ten year-old clothing is not old, it is almost brand-new.

When I returned to my closet, I looked at the clothing hanging in there.  I doubt if there is anything less than about five years old, and most is probably ten to twenty (or more) years old.  I consider these clothes to be old friends, always there when needed.  My tendency is to purchase a something I like and then not wear it for several years so as not to ruin it too early by too much wearing.  Luckily, my weight has not changed overmuch so mostly everything still fits when it becomes time to pull it out of the closet.

Recently, though, I have been systematically taking things out piece by piece and wearing them (usually to the local) to see if I still like them after all these years.  And, under my sister’s relentless scrutiny of my closet, giving away those pieces that were mistakes in the first place or don’t fit as they should, or don’t fit my color preferences at this stage of my life (now is the time for purple, after all).

The point being that old is relative, and ten measly years is definitely not old for clothing.