|college girls walking barefoot at SMU|
Cowboy sent me a link today about the scarcity of shoes during WWII. The following is an interview outtake from THE WAR, a PBS series:
Katherine Phillips: Shoes were precious
"We lived with the war constantly. I think it's why it had such a profound effect upon my generation. Shoes became scarce. Now, there must have been shoe rationing. I don't remember how they issued shoes, but, being in college, shoes were very important. And we were down to two or three pair of shoes. So you never let your friend borrow your shoes. When it rained at Auburn we all took our shoes off and carried 'em. Some big reporter from New York City came down to see how southern college girls were living during the war, and he found us walking around the campus barefooted. So he went back to New York and wrote this long article, how southern women went to college without shoes on. Well, the Dean of Women called us all into a big assembly and she said, 'Now, girls, I don't care if it's your only pair of shoes. Put them on when you walk across the campus.' She said, 'We can't have publicity like this in New York about our southern campus.' So we all then wore our shoes. If they fell apart, they fell apart."
To see / hear Katherine Phillips' interview, go HERE.
This interview has me musing about shoes and going barefoot. When I was a child, I spent entire summers running around barefoot. Until one day I felt something tickling the bottom of my foot. I held my foot up to my mother and told her something was tickling me. She gasped. Grabbed me by the hand. Hauled me into the kitchen and wrapped a tea towel around my foot. End of story - my first set of stitches. I still have a very faint, funny Y shaped scar on the bottom of my foot. We never found whatever it was that I stepped on, but from that day onward, I was commanded to wear my shoes!
My youngest child would dearly love a world where no one wears shoes or long pants. Or at least a world that would allow him to go barefoot, dressed in a pair of shorts - year round. It doesn't matter how hot or cold, wet or dry it is outside, this child dresses as though he lives near the equator. My oldest child often runs (as in running more than 5 miles at a time) barefoot on the golf course adjacent to his dad's house. The youngest loves to run with him, sans shoes of course. I fret they might step on an unseen danger (as in my childhood) and do permanent damage to their feet. Knock on wood. My oldest claims his feet never hurt when he runs barefoot on grass (this coming from a former cross country runner, who had access to the latest and greatest technical running shoes from Nike, their team sponsor.)
My sweetheart is pining for a pair of these:
He almost broke down and purchased a pair in Gruene, Texas. I thought he wanted them for the comfort of walking around 'almost barefoot'. Nope. He likes the idea of the 'awesome footprints' they would leave behind ... (?)
And wouldn't you know it ....... walking barefoot 'for one day' has become a political / social statement:
Which inspired this blogger's post: "Going Barefoot Sucks !! And other ...." A sampling of the intrepid barefooted college student's insights:
Let's face it. Unless it's in accordance with your will, going barefoot downright sucks. Today was "A day without shoes" day, by Tom's shoes. (check 'em out online.) I woke up to find a torrential monsoon out my window. Initially I wanted to forget barefoot day and put on my boots. But then I thought, you know, that's the whole point. People across the globe are not afforded the option of putting their shoes on when they feel like it. They walk barefoot rain or shine or snow or WHATEVER!!
A few things I've noticed today:
-Within 5 minutes of my trek to the Psych building, my feet were already being rubbed raw with the rough sidewalks.-I couldn't walk as fast I normally walked because it hurt and I had to dodge worm guts that were strewn across the pavement. (I'm grossed out about that sort of thing even with my shoes on. Seriously! I was one stride away from vomiting.)-I looked at the ground pretty much the entire time I walked. I didn't want to step on worms or sharp rocks. Which I inevitably did anyway.-Aside from the rain I didn't feel like walking around as much. Duh. That's a given.-I was exceedingly grateful for smooth surfaces.-I really appreciate the fact that God has blessed me so well that I can own as many shoes as I'd want.
I have to say that the experience was enlightening. I thought about it and I concluded that I couldn't do a lot without shoes. I couldn't play soccer without my cleats, go rock climbing without those rubber soles, go running without getting cut up, and needless to say, I could barely walk up and down the side walk. Now, I wonder how I can bless others.....
Wow. Who knew something as simple as walking barefoot could inspire a spiritual meditation on the value of shoes ???!!!
Well, TOMS shoes did.