Many years before Prince coveted his little red Corvette, I invested hours of begging my mother for a pair of little red sneakers. I was in love.
In those years of the late 1950s to the early 1960s, canvas-coated feet were emboldened in a battle between Keds and PF Flyers. My mother favored Keds.
I accepted the poverty of options. Secretly I preferred Keds also, because on close scrutiny of my friends with PF feet, I could see a deficiency in quality. The fabric was skinnier; the rubber was wobblier. From a distance, the colors and styling were eye-catching. Up close, the optical illusion gave way.
Keds had solidity. Longevity. Ankle support.
But they were poor in color palette. White, navy, and black predominated, which was a bit boring to a small girl with a big dream of being a fashionista.
Today I describe my go-to wardrobe as: black, white, and indigo. Once again demonstrating the power of the circle. The ceaseless circle of life.
I’m voluntarily back where I began.
Against that background color trinity, though, I love accents of surprise from every pie slice of the spectrum.
But, in the post-WW II days, life was spectrally dim. Women wore quiet dresses. Men sore Obama suits. Children wore practical clothes, that is, clothes of colors that did not readily reveal dirt. Clothes that could be worn a few times without washing and still pass for respectfully clean.
Looking back, I appreciate that practicality. Fewer loads of laundry made ecological and economical sense.
But, still. I wanted a pair of red canvas sneakers. Just so my feet could shout a little. Be happy and dance a little.
And not just plain red low-riders. No, I wanted red high-tops. And that’s where the real battle began.
Not only did Mom see red canvas as a grass-stain magnet. She judged high-tops as completely inappropriate for girls.
What the heck? I never could figure it out, but, suddenly practicality became too masculine.
I was a tall, gangly kid in need of strong ankle support. So, why not high-tops?
My arguments were in vain. For six years of childhood, she denied me.
And that denial rode along with me into adulthood.
Decades later, I found myself periodically craving a pair of red high-top sneakers. This time, though: Converse. Yes. A pair of tall, red Chucks.
Somehow, every moment of zealous pursuit was foiled. My size was not available or red was not in favor with the fashion police or long shoelaces were not being manufactured. Some quirk of commerce always roadblocked.
In the midst of 2015’s final three months of holiday blitzing.
My husband surprised me with a wedding-anniversary gift:
Yes, it truly is never too late to have a happy childhood.
And today, on this Winter Solstice, may all of your sorrows be lifted. May all of your dreams come true. May a new season of happiness fill your soul.