I was in the middle of a growth spurt and had outgrown my tennis shoes. We went to JC Penney to pick out a new pair. This was the usual trip for my family, if either of my parents or myself needed new shoes, we would almost always go to Penney’s. There I laid eyes on the black Converse shoes emblazoned with the yellow Batman symbol. Having collected the comics, seen the movie a million times and perfected my impression of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, I knew I had to have them. I had always wanted to be a superhero. As you know, my best childhood friend always made me the Veronica to her Betty, I always wanted to be the good gal, the goody two shoes, the girl I was deep inside. This was my moment to get shoes to represent the good guys.
We finally found a sales person to help us. After they had gone to check the shoes sizes in the back, unfortunately there were none in my size. What they did have in my size were the nasty, maniacal Joker shoes. The shoes were actually more visually appealing to me; after all they were in two of my favorite colors, purple and green, but in my heart I just didn’t want to be the bad guy. Out of reluctance, I said yes to trying on the bad guy shoes they had in my size.
They fit and they were comfortable. Suddenly I didn’t mind being the bad guy for once. I found myself doing more Joker impersonations to my bestie on the bus; you know, the one that always had to be Betty. The next day as I stepped onto the playground at recess, I spotted my nemesis, another classmate had a pair of the coveted Batman shoes. Suddenly I was elated at the good fortune of having to get the Joker shoes instead. As far as I knew, I was the only kid in my grade with these shoes, therefore it made me feel a little bit special and like I stood out from the crowd.
My next favorite pair of shoes were also Converse. It was my fourteenth birthday and I was celebrating with family and friends. I opened up one of the presents to reveal Converse sneakers in a black and white gingham checked pattern. My parents couldn’t decide which set of shoe laces to put in the shoes before wrapping them, either black or white, so each shoe had a different color. Seeing as it fit my quirky personality, I left the shoes as they were. The following Monday I went to school and once again had that special feeling you get with a well fitting, comfortable pair of new shoes. Little did I know, my “Betty” friend really loved my new shoes as well.
About a month or so later she had asked to borrow my Cross Colors shirt and my new Converse sneakers. Seeing as she was one of my besties I said yes. This is the moment when I realized I had a problem with saying no and being assertive. About a week later she had returned the shoes and they had a crack on the side in the rubber where the shoe bends enabling the wearer to walk. I wasn’t necessarily angry or mad, but found myself with a sudden tic, much like Sheldon Cooper gets when something isn’t right or out of place. I suddenly found myself suppressing my inner bad guy after having found the crack on the shoe. I guess you could say since I never wanted to be the bad guy I was suppressing my inner Hulk, but I digress. I had forgotten my bestie had two different sized feet, one was bigger than the other thus wrecking only one of my shoes.
The memory of these last pair of shoes came when I found them last month and remembered the crack (which is still there) and when I found my Cross Colors shirt which I didn’t get back until a full year later after my friend had borrowed it when the fad had passed.
To this day, I have tried to find substitute shoes for these two particular pair of Converse, but they just don’t make them the same anymore. I wore these shoes before it was cool to wear these shoes and before hipsters even existed. It was like my history with these shoes were part of the history of the fashion with these shoes; thus in a conceitedly way, making me the ultimate hipster.
What were your favorite shoes and what memories are triggered by them?