Shoe Shopping Now and Then

When the days grew closer to my hip-replacement surgery, I did a lot of research regarding what I needed to have on hand post-op. I borrowed a special chair for the shower, a raised seat with handles for the bathroom, a walker, and a cane. I bought new pj’s, including a nightgown in case I did not want anything touching the site of the scar, as well as some loose-fitting pajamas for lounging around the house. I got an additional pair of nice sweats for company along with something to wear out to lunch. I even purchased a pair of slip-on sneakers/tennis shoes in a larger size, which turned out to be a good idea because my foot did swell in the beginning. However, I never considered what I would wear once the weather got warmer.

Last week Dad took me shoe shopping (I am not cleared to drive yet), with the goal being locating a pair of light-weight sneakers along with sandals without a thong thingy dingy doohickey between the toes.  (This was not easy to find.) I knew none of my sandals would have the support I would need as I learned to walk again, and the long-range forecast showed it would be shorts/capris time within a few days.

As I walked through two different shoe stores, I was reminded of how different it was to purchase footwear now compared to my childhood days. Shopping nowadays involved walking through many aisles, which were filled with boxes upon boxes of shoes, until I located a style in my size, or if I had gone to Belk, the salesperson would have retrieved the boxes for me.

In either case, the next step was the same. I could not believe how much crap is shoved inside a pair of new shoes! Before placing a shoe on my foot, I had to first go through a multi-step crap-removal process.

The first step involved removing the shoes from a plastic bag, then extracting a damn piece of plastic which was tightly wedged into the shoe up to the toe, and finally, I had to pull out a foot-shaped scrap of cardboard stuck underneath the plastic. By then I wanted to go home! Thats when I was transformed back to the good old days of yore.

As a child, there were several places Grandma brought us for shoes. One was a place called Zandel’s, which was near the State Theater in Boonton, another was in Parsippany, located where Home Goods is now, and the third was located in Morristown, which I believe I went to when I was very young and had some sort of foot problem which required specialized shoes.

In all of those stores, I would sit in a chair and wait for the nice salesman to come to our assistance. First he would ask me to stand on a contraption to determine my shoe size. (Note that I said salesman, because back in the day, it was never a saleswoman.)


Then after retrieving the shoes himself, he would then return from his little shoe warehouse and removed them from the box while I would sit idly by like a princess. Next, he would sit on a special stool, which was designed with an inclined area for me to place my foot so the salesman could place the shoe on my feet—Prince Charming style.


Grandma would then tell me to walk around the store to ensure that they were comfortable, and then she would pay for my new shoes. There was no work involved on our part–none, nada, zilch, nothing! In the modern world, we have no Prince Charming placing our glass slippers on our feet. We are on our own now. Those were the days my friends!