Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thoughts of Boots

I once had a biology professor who could see the lighthearted side of just about anything. I remember one morning he strolled to the front of the lecture hall, stood for a moment stroking his chin pensively, and began,"Imagine this. It's a warm spring evening, and a young worm's fancy turns to thoughts of love." I don't remember much else about that course, but I never forgot that line. 

So, let us begin. Imagine this. It's a crisp autumn morning, and a young-ish (or old-ish if you prefer) blogger's fancy turns to thoughts of boots. Sigh. I love boots. And boot season is finally here. 

I don't have a large collection of boots. Three pairs of ankle boots: my black Stuart Weitzman lace-ups, my brown Paul Greens, and my chocolate-brown suede Prada boots with heels, not shown here. One pair of knee-high leather and suede boots by Stuart Weitzman.


three women in jeans and boots
Paul Green ankle boots, Stuart Weitzman laced ankle boots, suede and leather Stuart Weitzman knee-high boots
And my Hunter rubber boots. These boots make me feel like a kid again. Able to splash through muddy puddles with impunity. I have a long history as a boot lover. From my beloved Frye boots in university, to a beautiful pair of knee-high, dark brown leather "granny" boots which laced all the way to the top, and for which I saved and saved in high school. 


woman in black rubber boots, white sweater, Gortex jacket, and jeans
Ready for rain in my Hunter boots
But boots and me, we haven't always got along. 

As a tall gangling adolescent, with sticks for legs, I sighed and moaned about the fact that other girls could find knee-high boots that fit their legs snugly, and looked cool with mini-skirts. Me, I didn't even have to unzip mine to take them on and off. My long skinny foot and leg just slid right in and out. Sometimes even when I was trying to keep them on. Ha. I'll never forget writing in my journal in grade nine, that, after weeks of training for the basketball team, my legs were "getting fatter!" I could tell because they filled out more of my boot. Gad. I'm not sure how my mother endured all the drama. 

This is what Hubby and I talked and laughed about over our morning tea the other day. Boot nostalgia. 


vintage child's bootsvintage child's galoshes
Both pairs of boots were found on the Etsy site Vintage Vixen. 

If you are around my age you probably wore little white boots with fur around the top like those ones on the left, above. I had a white faux fur snowsuit to match. And when you were a bit older, you might have worn something like those galoshes on the right. I remember wearing a pair just like those in elementary school, with my shoes inside, and my snow pants tucked into the tops. How I hated those boots. Especially when they leaked. 

But, apparently, that's what empty bread bags were for. To rescue your good school shoes in an emergency, when your old boots leaked, and your mum didn't have the time (or the money) to get a new pair right away. With four kids in the family, new boots weren't always forthcoming in a hurry. Besides, you could slip your shod foot into the bag, and then slide the bagged foot into the boot easy peasy. Sounds funny, to think of now. But, hated or not, leaky boots with bread bags inside were no big deal back in the day. And not uncommon at my school.

And we never dared complain. Okay, okay, I'm sure we whined to Mum. But we never let Grampy Sullivan hear us. Or else we'd get the story of how lucky we were to have our own boots, when he and his brothers shared one pair of winter boots among them. His story goes that the first brother would start out for school in the boots, wear them a ways, then leave them for the next fellow and continue on to school barefoot. The next brother would start out barefoot, pick up the boots along the path, wear them a ways and so on, until the last fellow wore them all the way to school. Kind of like a relay race except with boots, instead of a baton. I love that story, actually. It was one of my grandfather's favourites. I remember I used to puzzle over which brother I'd rather be. Whether it was better to start off with warm feet, or end up with them. I certainly never wanted to be one of the brothers who wore them for only a portion of the way in the middle and then had to take them off again. Ha. It was only when I was older that I began to question whether the story might be a teensy bit exaggerated. 

And speaking of boot nostalgia. This is a shot of my mum below. Age sixteen, in 1943, outside my aunt Marion's beauty salon, in New Brunswick. Love those fur-trimmed boots, Mum. 

woman in the nineteen-forties in fur-lined boots

So boot nostalgia, it's a thing. At least in our house. Hubby and I sipped our tea the other morning, and laughed about boots. Boots that didn't fit. Boots that leaked. The smell of wet boots drying over the radiators at school, mixed with the smell of wet woollen mittens and hats. Boots that came off when they got stuck in snowdrifts on the sliding hill. Boots that were so slippery and dangerous on portages that it's lucky the hapless fisherman made it home safely. So many boots.

And somewhere over the years, despite ugly leaky galoshes, and wobbly knee-high boots that never fit properly, I developed a love for boots. I guess it must have begun with those brown, leather granny boots that I saved and saved to buy in grade ten. They fit me perfectly and were the epitome of cool. I was bereft when they finally wore out. 

Yep. I love boots, and yet I don't have a closet full of them. That's odd, isn't it? Why am I not out buying boots every week? 

Well, it's partly that I have a hard-to-fit foot. So I may love lots of boots, but not that many love me back. And when I do find a pair that I love and which fit me, I usually spend more than I should on them. And then, I can't bear to have boots which I love, and which I've probably spent more than I should to buy, just sit in my closet unworn. That just makes me feel guilty. 

After all, I'm lucky to have my own boots and not have to share. At least according to my grandfather Sullivan.







How about you, my friends? On a crisp autumn morning does your fancy turn to thoughts of boots? Do tell.





Linking up this week with: Visible Monday#IwillwearwhatIlike, Style Me WednesdayWhat I WoreThursday Favourite ThingsPassion 4 FashionFun Fashion FridaySaturday Share Link-Up

45 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, I had not thought about the bread bag boot liners in forever! Living in the southern part of the US, we rarely had snow, so no one owned snow boots. We made do with galoshes, and frequently they were too big or too small, as they were traded around amongst us kids. You just layered on the socks to get the best fit you could, then encased it all in a bag before booting up. I love boots and have quite a few pair. My reasoning is my feet aren't growing anymore, and I buy really good ones when I find them on sale. My oldest pair must be nearly 25 years old. My most treasured ones though were probably the white go-go boots circa 1965? We were all mad about the Beatles and anything from British pop culture. I guess they were the only true boots I ever had back then, except for the hated galoshes. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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    1. I also grew up in the South and had to wear those horrible clear rubber galoshes over my shoes on rainy days (we walked to school). I remember my teachers had galoshes to accommodate their high heels! I was never cool enough for white go-go boots, alas.

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    2. I wish I had some of my old boots. But the slush and the snow up here ruins them after a few years. I know I shouldn't wear my leather boots in the winter, but I always do. I remember white go-go boots. But I never owned a pair. I guess I was still wearing my galoshes at that time:)

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  2. Love your boots and your story!
    Oh,boots.......love them and could talk a lot about them-I remember all my pairs of boots and the stories that go with them. Boots were bought,when I was a kid, after the holidays of 29th November -usually after the first snow. It took me a long time to understand why my parents didn't think about it BEFORE the snow,but then I realized that boots were usually not in the store at all so early
    I remember beautiful boots with fur,similar to Minnetonka,with embroideried pearls as a school kid(but with leather soles ,so I kept falling all the time-first sacrifice for fashion-until my mother get it resoled with gum)
    Fast forward to Italy shopping days-my first knee high boots at seventeen, soft tan leather with a block heel and a zip on the back,they were gorgeous,still feel the happiness.
    When I visited Milano,some fifteen years ago,all the saleswomen in Pollini store have wear grey,croco print,knee high riding boots ,with a zip on the back. I've tried all the models they were showing me and in the end asked for the pair of "their" uniform's boots :-). It was an older model,but they managed somehow to find a pair for me
    Almost all of older brands changed a lot or closed their doors.I love Stuart Weitzman boots,but we don't have it here and it is so hard for me,too,to find a pair of boots comfort enough IRL,so I can't dream about buying shoes or boots online
    During my university days,I went to the seaside with a friend for a week in autumn. It started to rain and didn't stop,so we put our stockinged feet in plastic bags and than in (completely soaked wet) sneakers and hiked around
    Dottoressa

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    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. Those shopping trips to Italy must have been something! Love your story about the two intrepid student tourists who didn't let a little rain (or a lot of rain) stop them.

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  3. I heard the same story from my mother and it was applied to both shared shoes and one bike among 8 siblings. They lived in a remote part of Ireland and yes,they were poor but had many happy memories. I can only imagine what the spoilt generation living here in Ireland today think of these stories from their grandparents as this was only one generation ago for some.
    Mary

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    1. Ha. Thanks for that, Mary. That is so funny. Stories told by Irish grandparents must be universal!

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  4. You do tell a good story , I'm looking forward to everyone else chipping in too . As a child in post war Britain , life was hard for most of us & our boots were rubber wellingtons or wellies with a thick sock . I thought they must be called rubber because they rubbed your cold wet legs at the top & left a red ring . At fifteen my home town of Knaresborough didn't have a proper shoe shop & , desperate for a pair of the new knee high boots , ' Mod Style ' , I caught the local bus to York twelve miles away ( took forever stopping at every village ) Not white for me - black to go with my navy duffle coat & long straight hair . They were unique in my local circle & I was a leader of fashion , well for a week or two . I loved those boots , more than any since .
    I still live in boots during the winter & no red rings these days .
    Wendy in the Trossachs just now , in her walking boots :)

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    1. PS love that pic of your mum with your legs

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    2. I'll bet you looked fetching in your knee high boots, navy duffle coat and long straight hair. I love my hiking/walking boots too. Purchased for our South American trip, they were the first pair I'd bought since the eighties. And the fit..the comfort...wish I'd done it sooner!
      P.S. We all have those legs in my family!

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  5. I certainly shared your stick legs in my youth. The number of shoe shops I visited with my mother just to find a pair that fitted are too numerous to count. There were a lot of faux leather boots around in my youth which I hated. My mother preferred them because they were cheaper. I remember finally finding the perfect pair of real leather boots that I loved soooo much. I must have been about 25. They were probably resoled and rehealed several times. Have a rather natty pair of real leather ankle granny boots with laces that I love now. Plus a fur lined pair of tan leather knee high boots that are so cosy. Too cosy at the moment sadly. Waiting for it to get colder! B x

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    1. Oh, mine were faux leather too... until I could afford to buy my own. Hope your boot weather comes soon so you can wear those tan leather knee high boots:)

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  6. Growing up in Halifax,I had a pair of the boots you show on the top,minus the fur trim. They were rain boots called Puddlers.I can still conjure up in my mind,the strange rubbery/ plastic smell they had!

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    1. Those rubber fold-over rain boots... I think I had a pair for spring as well!

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  7. We are kindred spirits! I had no idea that you, too, faced the same shoe issues (long narrow feet resulting in too few options). I haven't ever found a pair of boots that are skinny enough for my long bird legs. "Knee boots" that end laughably short of that portion of the anatomy are the norm. As for shoes in general, have you tried Van Eli and Munro? Neither are quite as pricy as Stuart Weitzman and come in extended sizes and widths. Munro has a great web site, too.

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    1. I have tried Munro shoes... well, actually sandals. They are great. Very comfy. And last year when I went shopping with my sister who has a harder foot to fit than mine, she bought a lovely pair of Munro ankle boots.

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  8. You were so lucky! We never had the "fancy" fur trimmed boots ...

    I love boots, but like you, I used to hate them. But for an opposite reason - my legs were too fat to fit into tall boots, and it was one of the great tragedies of my teen years. ;-) And last January, when I broke my ankle and was wearing one of those walking casts, I had to grab bread bags on rainy/snowy days and put them over that to get to work. It was just like old times!

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    1. Ha. I think my fur-trimmed boots were passed down from a sister.

      Bags on casts.. remember so many students over the years resorting to those.

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  9. Love the post!
    I still have my pair of lace-up Roots boots, purchased when my now-mid twenties daughters were wee babes. They look like logging boots -- chunky unisex (if that's still a thing). They still fit and I still wear them sometimes. But now I'm thrilled when I can pull out my Sam Edelman chunky-heeled short black boots that work so well with jeans or tights and a skirt. They were a bit tight until one of said daughters offered to wear them one Friday night to loosen them up. Now I share them occasionally, and if I'm away for a few days she always asks if I'm taking "those" boots. You've sent me off dreaming about the perfect boots!

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    1. Daughters with feet almost the same size obviously come in handy... especially when it comes to boots. I used to borrow my older sister's high-heeled gorgeous brown boots in university when I needed to dress up. Footwear is a family thing, I guess:)

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  10. This post brings back a lot of memories for me, too! I am the oldest child so I never had to contend with hand-me-downs, but I remember the plastic bread bags in the shoes, the endless rows of galoshes lined up at school, and even the high heeled galoshes my grandmother owned.

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    1. I remember those high heeled galoshes with the fold over closure.

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  11. Love this! Yes, bread bags were a necessity and we passed boots down to the next sibling. I was one of four and my husband one of 9. Lots of hand me downs. I love boots and live in MN so wear them a lot. I have many "snow' boots and just got an Emu pair at a local consignment shop that can be worn all day at work. Our temps will be in the teens tomorrow and we have been cold so the boots are already out. I bought a pair of Keen ankle at the end of last season and love them. Your tall black are stunning!!! I have a pair of red Frye cowboy boots, also consigned. You definitely brought back memories. The boots all steaming at school was quite a smell! We walked to school every day and remember having one slip off. Stay warm and keep your cold air!

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    1. Steaming boots and mittens... guess we'll never forget that smell.

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  12. Such a great story Sue ... and really interesting to read about everyone's experiences with the bread bags! My experiences are more akin to Wendy's with my "wellies" Vivid memories of the red rings and toes so cold they were painful.
    Loved my white "wet look" boots with mini skirts/dresses...
    I still love boots of all styles and ... big confession coming up!! I've bought three pairs recently :)
    First pair ..navy nubuck, I researched and knew exactly what I was looking for to go with a couple of dresses I have ..they'll also work with jeans etc. The second a gorgeous plum colour, soft leather ankle boot I spotted them in a sale ..tried hard but couldn't resist them!! and the third a longer slouchy pair in brick/brown suede ..read about them on a blog! Unlike any others I have and though higher than I'd usually wear, extremely comfortable. Confession over ..Thanks for listening :)
    I just love this time of year wearing boots, scarves hats etc.
    I love my hiking boots too Wendy!
    Rosie

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    1. Me too...love wearing boots and jeans. Now you have me longing to buy more boots, Rosie!

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  13. ps like biscottimaker, I have a daughter who likes to borrow my boots and coincidentally has also stretched a pair for me!

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  14. Yes, I love boots but my problem has always been the exact opposite of yours. Short legs, none too svelte so when I found boots that fitted I bought them. Because we tend to have less snow around here, boots are an option but I always like a pair. I have just bought the most comfortable leather ankle boots and have a pair of black suede knee highs, suede ankle boots with a heel, an old but beloved pair of brown leather boots for dog walking, and a mysterious pair of suede boots that I rarely wear but do not want to part with. My true love is walking boots. Oh, the comfort of striding out in sturdy, well laced and stout soled footwear. Mine are going for a trip to Shropshire soon. They are as excited as I am.

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    1. Now that I'm not working I wear my suede boots less and less. Probably because in winter I'm always in and out of cars, stepping through slush and salt and puddles. When I worked I'd wear my suede ankle boots all day at school, but take them off the go out to the car.

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  15. Also remember bread bags used in boots. . . and my mother had a pair of the fur-trimmed low boots -- with a zipper up the front. Generally, those weren't so practical in our climate, though, where we mostly needed rainboots. Even when we do get snow, it's most often a very wet product.
    I culled many pairs of boots in our move, in deference to limited closet space and a the lifestyle change (urban, retired). Still, I have two pairs of flat knee boots (Fluevog; Fiorentini and Baker), three pairs of flat ankle boots (two black: Blundstone and an Italian brand I bought in France, and a tan pair with perforations for summer wear, a French brand bought on holiday), two pair of heeled ankle boots, one cognac (Acne) and one black (an Italian brand, Ink, bought in Paris). Black rubber knee boots by Browns. . . and I have two pair of heeled, knee-high Fluevogs in a bag destined for a consignment/thrift shop, haven't quite brought myself to do that yet. . . .Yikes! This has been a sobering exercise. Post culling? Oh dear. . . .

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    1. Post culling you still have a very healthy closet of boots, Frances! If I had winter skirts or dresses, which I don't, I'd need more knee-high boots. Love a long skirt with flat-heeled, knee-high boots!

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  16. This brings back such memories!! I remember the fur trimmed boots but I never had them as they were 'too grown-up'. I did have the dreaded brown galoshes, everyone had the galoshes (my dad's had some funny metal clip closures down the front). My grandma had many grandchildren and every christmas each child received a pair of hand knit socks. Mine were alway knit from heavy brown yarn and I would wear them over my shoes inside the galoshes to keep my shoes from getting scuffed. Bread bags would be deployed over the brown socks in case of leakage. I can still remember the unbridled joy I felt the year I was deemed old enough to get what we called 'flight boots'. These were ankle high boots with fake fur inside and looked like curling boots (of that era). And the boots were RED. Kris from Courtenay

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    1. I remember those men's galoshes. They were the ugliest things. Red boots. You must have been very excited about those as a kid!

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  17. As I watch the kids in my neighborhood walk to school in their sneakers, I often think of the boots with the fur (girls) and the black galoshes (boys) and have wondered when they became obsolete. Your post has hit a nerve, those of us who grew with snowy winters well remember the smell of boots on the radiator and wool mittens drying. Do you also remember the hats the boys wore- black with turned up flaps at the ears and a black furry semi circle above their face? Why do these inconsequential items strike such a chord with us?

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    1. I remember back in the nineties when it seemed that high school boys started wearing their sneakers all winter long. The smell of the drying galoshes in my youth was nothing to the reek of drying wet sneakers on a class of fourteen year old boys. Ickkk.

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  18. I saw this and thought of you.

    http://www.cbc.ca/comedy/cape-breton-dictionary-1.4391339

    Suzanne

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  19. Lovely post bringing back lots of memories. Like you I have always had skinny feet and legs so those knee high boots have always been a challenge. I spent many years in the UK so my early experiences are similar to Wendy and Rosie with wellies and hiking boots of course. I remember Girl Guide camp where we dried our wellies upside down on sticks causing the water to collect round the rim and when we put them on made our legs very sore. Now living in snowy Canada I have become used to buying and wearing proper boots for snow. Have a pair of insulated higher leg Contoura boots, a bit like biker boots, that are made in Canada and are great in deep snow worn with leggings and of course I do have other boots that are not such heavy duty. I don't think we can survive here without boots in winter.

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    1. I've never heard of Contoura boots. I'll have to look them up.

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  20. I LOVE boots. I have around 30 pairs mostly Stuart Weitzman. Here in Houston rarely does the weather get very cold. I try to wear every pair at least once a season. The two fur lined pairs go with me to Boise around Christmas time. I do remember having white GO-GO boots in the mid 60's. I completely wore them out and that was the beginning of BOOT LOVE! I wish I could wear boots all the time.

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    1. Me too. Love the look of boots and jeans.

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  21. Boots are one of the few things I love about winter! Like you, I don't have many pairs and I grieve when favourites wear out. I also share the skinny leg problem. :(

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    1. When I get a pair that I love, I want to wear them all the time.

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  22. What a funny story, I remember borrowing a pair of my friends platform wedge shoes for the school disco, but because she had verrucas I put plastic bags inside them! Odd to think of now. Thanks for sharing today. x Jacqui www.mummabstylish.com

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    1. I first heard that word "verruca" on an Irish comedy show. It's not used over here. Plastic bags come in handy for all kinds of shoe and boot emergencies, I guess.

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.