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Hope's Corner: The Sneakers of Summer

"My mom was of the opinion that any color sneakers other than white would rot my feet. She threatened me with rotten feet a whole lot when I was little," writes Jackie Hope.

Jackie Hope BW.jpg
Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. Hope's Corner is a weekly humorous column with a message of hope.
Contributed / For The Dickinson Press
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Do you change up your shoes between winter shoes and summer shoes? Winter boots don’t count. But do you have special shoes that come out of the back of your closet when there is no longer a chance of frost in the mornings? Do you have some favorite sandals? Or some favorite sneakers?

Please do not list flip flops among your summer shoes. Those things are not shoes. They are not even slippers. They are bathroom sponges with anchors that go between your toes to make especially nasty blisters.

Summer shoes need to have at least some sort of a solid footing underneath your feet. Bathroom sponges harnessed between your toes do not count. Now Converse sneakers are what I am talking about for cool summer shoes.

When you were little, did you get new sneakers every summer? Sometimes I had to wear my gym shoes in the summer. I always tried to grow like crazy through the school year, so that my gym sneakers would be too short by summer vacation.

That worked until I was in fourth grade. My feet stopped growing. And it has led to my really strange shoe wardrobe. I still wear children’s shoes. I have a pair of Buster Brown high-tops that have been with me since grade school. My dress-up shoes are mostly Mary Janes or patent leather flats. I have a killer pair of formal Converse, too.

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Now you were probably way luckier than me, and you got sneakers in colors other than white. My mom was of the opinion that any color sneakers other than white would rot my feet. She threatened me with rotten feet a whole lot when I was little. I had to wear socks with my sandals, to keep my feet from rotting. My mom was also convinced that ballet flats would change my feet into the shape of ducks’ feet. And then they would rot.

It was a wonderful summer, right after fourth grade, when I had saved up enough allowance to buy my own summer sneakers. I picked out a black pair – alas, not Converse -- that I thought were to die for. I shoved my no-longer-white gym shoes to the back of the closet and began wearing my beautiful black sneaks. With white socks.

The first time my mom did the laundry after I bought my beloved sneakers, she was totally convinced my feet were rotting. The black canvas shoes had faded onto my white socks.

Over the years I have amassed an enviable collection of Converse. For the Fourth of July I have ones with stars and stripes. For coffee with friends, I have some with donuts on them. And since summer 2022 unofficially begins today, I have eBayed some bright yellow high-tops. And some purple lowriders. And some black ones that will turn my socks a rotten color.

Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. "Hope's Corner" is a weekly humorous column centered on a message of hope for residents in southwest North Dakota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dickinson Press, nor Forum ownership.

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