Shoes: Times Past

Irene A Waters has the theme of shoes, for her Times Past challenge this month. You can join in here:

I have a few memories of shoes that I thought I could shares for this challenge. A reminder that I grew up in South Africa and have lived an a number of towns and cities around the country.

The first one is my mother buying, and making me wear, thick soled lace up shoes which looked like boys shoes. I can remember being mortified by having to wear those horrible clunky shoes. Worse yet, one came off when I was at nursery school one day and disappeared down the open drain. I was most anxious about losing that shoe and it never turned up. I also developed a terror of that open drain with its dark, gaping mouth. Interestingly enough, I mentioned how much I disliked those particular shoes to my mother recently and she was surprised to learn how strongly I had felt about them. She said I never complained about them once.

My younger sister, Hayley, had a pair of boots as her first pair of shoes. She loved those boots and wore them day in and day out. I remember that her first word was boots, instead of the traditional Dada.

For my wedding, I bought an expensive pair of high platform shoes but as the wedding day drew closer, and I realised I had to do our wedding dance in these shoes as well as negotiate my way up and down the aisle, I changed my mind about those shoes. I gave them away to my sister and I bought a much cheaper and simple pair of white high heels. I think that was a wise decision.

Last, but not least, I made a shoes and handbags cake for a friend of mine’s 50th birthday a few years ago. I also wrote her a poem about life viewed through shoes which is included in my poetry book, Open a new door.


Fifty years in shoes

by Robbie Cheadle

When we come into this life,
our feet are tiny, pink and bare,
our sweet smiles and coos,
with everyone we share.

Our first shoes are formless and soft,
a new and welcome sensation,
there are no hard walking soles,
although this is the next expectation.

As we embark on life’s journey,
our shoes mark our progression,
we soon learn to stand alone,
with no parental intervention.

All through our school days,
we wear sensible black shoes,
we can’t wait to break free,
and our school girl look to lose.

Teenage and young adult years,
are measured in bright colours,
carefree days, warm and happy,
we look back on happy summers.

We soon meet someone wonderful,
and unhesitatingly seek to tie the knot,
responsibility soon creeps up on us,
as we learn to live with what we’ve got.

The wonderful gift of Motherhood,
becomes ours to embrace and enjoy,
although to juggle work and children,
all our ingenuity we must deploy.

And now at the middle age of fifty,
our children are turning out okay,
while I’ve wanted to run away often,
I think I’ve finally decided I’ll stay.

Open a new door 2


49 thoughts on “Shoes: Times Past

  1. Robbie, a delightful post and I loved reading about your shoes experiences! I think you definitely made a wise choice on your wedding – how did your sister fare in the platform shoes? The cake is beautiful and your friend must have been overjoyed by both this and your poem – I love it! Happy weekend! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Annika, for your lovely comment. My sister is 8 years younger than I am so she was only 21 when I got married. You can wear and do anything when you are 21 [wink!]. I am glad you liked this poem. I enjoyed writing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the cake. Shoes are a sore subject with me as my feet are too wide and buying shoes that are remotely smart is a nightmare. One summer in the sixties, when we lived in Farnborough, Hampshire, some new children appeared up the road and to our astonishment and our parents’ disaproval they went around barefoot. It was rumoured they had come from South Africa. When we emigrated to Australia soon after all the children were going around barefoot or in thongs ( flip flops! ) . Mum’s insistence that we would be wearing socks and shoes didn’t last long and we were soon barefoot, despite the occasional painful experience of treading on a ‘doublegees’. With my feet having such freedom I think they spread even wider.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just wonderful, Robbie! Gorgeous cake, perfect poem and memories I can relate to… For me the progression went from saddle shoes, to Mary Janes, next strapless flats and finally little high heels–and all the memories that go with them. 🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post, Robbie! Your stories are delightful, especially loosing the clunky shoe down the drain. And then the cake and poem – words of beauty match the perfect cake.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robbie, your shoe stories remind me of my shoe stories also. My own stories and my daughter’s stories. I bought sparking white high heel for my wedding and was told that I could have the color dyed but I never did. I remember having platform shoes and I hope your sister liked them.

    Your cake with many matching purse-and-shoes are lovely and I’m sure your friend was surprisingly happy about it.

    I like your poem. What an honor to write that to pay tribute to your friend’s 50th anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kalli was happy with the cake, Miriam, and she had a lovely party. She has suffered a lot lately as both her sister and her son died of cancer in the past two years. I am always happy if I can bring a tiny bit of light to someone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry to hear that about Kalli, Robbie. So good you could lighten her days. I took a break from volunteer counseling to publish my book. We now have a new counseling pastor as the outgoing one is 73. I met the new pastor and will return to counseling soon. I love to be helpful.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love shoes and wore platform shoes to my son’s wedding! I can always use the extra height. Your story is wonderful. I have a great shoe story but it is too long to include here.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the shoe-themed birthday cake, Robbie. It’s absolutely divine.
    The poem is an interesting reflection on life from the perspective of shoes too.
    Although you were fearful of the drain, I wonder were you grateful that it took your horrid shoe away. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved reading about your shoes Robbie. It sounds that although you were mortified losing your shoe down the drain that in reality you were probably also very happy to be rid of it. You did the right thing with the platforms – they were a broken ankle waiting to happen – not a good thing to happen in a wedding waltz. Loved your cake and your poem. Your friend must have been thrilled. Thanks for joining in. Loved your memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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