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Tiaras and Trucks

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Sandals - RemembeRED

This week’s RemembeRED prompt was a photo prompt of a garden hose. Garden hoses mean summer and summer means sandals (at least that’s where my mind galloped off to with this one!)

The Sandals

I had dreams about them: cotton candy pink and neon blue and shocking coral danced through my head. I begged for them: plastic twisted into a basket-weave pattern with a barely discernable but ever-so-important kitten heel. Before I knew the word, I lusted over them: the Holy Grail of summer footwear in the eighties, at least as far as I was concerned.

Jelly shoes. Jellies. The only shoe that mattered when the days lengthened and temperatures climbed and humidity became almost visible in a thick cloud over Michigan.

“They’re plastic shoes. They won’t be comfortable,” my mom warned.

“Plastic’s flexible,” I countered, unconcerned with blisters in the face of fashion.

“Plastic doesn’t breathe at all. Your feet are going to be too hot,” my mom warned.

“The shoes are practically covered in holes! There’s lots of places for the air to come in,” I argued.

“You won’t be able to play in them,” my mom warned.

“But Mooooommmm...” I whined in the dramatic fashion that can only be conjured by pre-teen girls and Oscar-winning actresses.

Finally she relented, and we purchased them in true summer fashion, dug out of a wire bin of jelly shoes, stretchy elastic holding the pair together. I chose white, so I could wear them with everything, my perfect, coveted after shoes.

Wear them I did.

I wore them with sundresses, so pleased with the shiny newness of the white plastic footwear.

I wore them with shorts, feeling so sophisticated wearing what my friends’ older sisters were wearing.

I wore them with a sense of pride and camaraderie, perhaps my first foray into the crazy world of sharing opinions about fashions with my friends, trading shoes with friends for a few minutes to see what a different pair felt like on my happy toes.

I wore them around the house, where my parents hadn’t yet installed central air conditioning, savoring the way the heels tapped softly against the linoleum and ignoring the pull of the plastic against my skin.

I wore them to my brother’s soccer games, where blades of grass slid between the basket-weave pattern, tickling my toes for a while before becoming an annoyance.

I wore them to the park, where stones got lodged into the open plastic of the kitten heels and sand and dirt slid into the shoes, mixing with the sweat on my feet in a gritty mess.

I don’t think I complained about the discomfort or the sweat or the grime, even when I peeled my feet from the bottom of the shoes, leaving behind an outline of my toes and the balls of my feet, imprinted with the heat and dust of summer.

Happily, I suffered for fashion for the first time. Those shoes were worth a little dirt and sweat and a blister or two. I gladly slid them on day after day, the same way I now excitedly slide my foot into a pair of towering peep-toe heels when Ryan and I leave for a date night. Even back then, I knew the power of a beloved pair of shoes; like Cinderella’s glass slipper, the right shoes mean the possibilities are endless.

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24 Comments:

  • At April 12, 2011 at 10:31 AM , Anonymous Amy said...

    I LOVED JELLYS!!! I also love this line:

    “But Mooooommmm...” I whined in the dramatic fashion that can only be conjured by pre-teen girls and Oscar-winning actresses.

    This is so true!

     
  • At April 12, 2011 at 10:35 AM , Anonymous SoberJulie said...

    Well done, I was fascinated with Jellies and your post brought back all my memories. The joy when they were purchased, the pride I felt when wearing them...and the dismay at the irritation of sand and pebbles stuck in the bottoms.

     
  • At April 12, 2011 at 1:02 PM , Anonymous shellthings said...

    I loved my jelly shoes and really don't remember them being uncomfortable.

     
  • At April 12, 2011 at 1:37 PM , Anonymous Roxanne said...

    Jellies! I wanted them so bad and finally mom bought them for me. And I hated them. They were uncomfortable and my feet would sweat so much they would get dirty. And I hated dirty shoes. Thanks for the great memory!

     
  • At April 12, 2011 at 3:31 PM , Anonymous Mama Track said...

    Love it. I had to have jellies too. And have a scar on my foot where I had a bike accident while wearing them.

    The last paragraph is awesome--the right shoes do meant he possibilities are endless.

     
  • At April 12, 2011 at 3:33 PM , Anonymous Mrs. Wonder said...

    I was never allowed jelly shoes for the same reasons your mom said. I got my first pair at 28 when they came back into fashion.
    So freakin' jealous ;) You were cool.

     
  • At April 12, 2011 at 4:54 PM , Anonymous Jennifer Williams said...

    I'm pretty sure my jelly shoes were white too. I have always had wide feet and I can remember when I took the shoes off I would have a cross hatch pattern indented all over the sides and top of my feet.

     
  • At April 12, 2011 at 5:50 PM , Anonymous GalitBreen said...

    Oh do I ever hear you! What was *not* to love about jellies?!

    That convo between you and your mom? Ouch. Been there, done that with both of my girls who are only 5 and 7!

    I loved the description in the beginning- shocking coral, basket-weave pattern.

    And this line: "Happily, I suffered for fashion for the first time." really struck me.

     
  • At April 12, 2011 at 11:31 PM , Anonymous Tracy Morrison said...

    Oh I loved my silly jelly shoes. Seriously, can you believe they are back? I am such a mean mom and not letting my kids get them.

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 12:55 AM , Anonymous le chef said...

    If you hit the right age, I think jellies were a rite of passage. The sinful feeling of impending adulthood within the safe confines of colored plastic.
    I adored this post. The feel of the plastic, the sound on hard floors, and the dirt! Oh the dirt! Nothing compares to a little dirt in sweaty jelly shoes. Jellies WERE the 80's for many women.

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 8:46 AM , Anonymous JennaFarelyn said...

    i had those same shoes in that same color :) and I think it was one of my earliest forays into "fashion" that everyone else had too. thank you for bringing me back.. can feel the sticky tightness on my feet!!

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:09 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's making me laugh thinking about how shoes that were made of plastic probably toxic by today's standards were such a fashion milestone!

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:09 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Seriously, the dirt mixed with sweat making almost a paste in our shoes! But that was fashion (well, and sweaty feet!)

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    What if they put forth the same, well-thought-out arguments that I used? Or whine incessantly? Ha ha!

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:11 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I think the pre-teen angst is happening earlier and earlier.

    Sigh, suffering for fashion is such a push-pull for me. I love comfy and easy, but I also love trendy and pretty.

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:12 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Even with narrow feet, I'll bet the cross hatch patterning still happened!

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:12 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Funny, because when I was in either late high school or college, I remember buying a pair of jelly heels (clear plastic with glitter). I guess I didn't learn the first time around!

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you! And a jelly shoe scar, that's perfect!

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Isn't it terrible when moms are right? (well, except for when I'm the mom in question...)

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:15 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    They're back! Abbey saw them in the store, (surprisingly in hot pink with glitter and a flower accent) and practically started drooling! I try to pretend they will have improved the plastic to a soft, Croc-like feel :)

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:15 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    The stones in the bottom were a giant design flaw!

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 9:16 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Isn't it so true that young girls can really get into the whine?

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 12:30 PM , Anonymous Kir said...

    OMG, that post was perfect. I saw those JELLIES and remembered my own.
    WOW, what a lovely love letter to your first pair of "Grown up" shoes.
    The last line of this was just weep worthy....for me at least ( I *heart* shoes)

     
  • At April 13, 2011 at 7:03 PM , Anonymous Renee McKinley said...

    I was old enough in the '80s to be the eye rolling mom. I never got on the jellies band wagon. So, I've just made myself old.

    I loved this line, "humidity became almost visible in a thick cloud over Michigan.' I know exactly what that kind of humidity is. Northern Indiana shares that summer cloud.

     

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