September 17, 2015

Buster Brown Shoes (Arf, Arf!)

An old friend of mine touched base on Facebook and asked ... "Does anyone remember getting a new pair of shoes for first day of school?"

Hell, yeah!! For eons, my father was an exec with Brown Shoe Company in St. Louis. (They even named a sporty shoe after him called "The Kogey.") In our household, it was boo-hiss on Stride Rite shoes.

When I was in first grade, my foot happened to have been "model size." In lay terms that means that shoe samples were in my size!! This lucky turn, at age 7, bequeathed me with a bounty of shoes that lined up nicely on the floor of my closet. I had:

* Red pigskin-leather loafers.

* Leather loafers with a kilt on the vamp.
* Green leather loafers.
Brown leather loafer-style shoes with a buckled strap.
Black leather ties.
 ... and their twin for later in the week: blue leather ties.
Black patent Maryjanes.
White patent Maryjanes.
Blue leather Maryjanes.
Black/white saddle shoes.
Brown/white saddle shoes.

          * And might I add ... "slip-ons" at the time were considered trashy. We won't even touch the subject of Zorries.

Who didn't have this adorable T-strap sandal for summer? (I had them in red, blue, and natural leather.)

My father, David Kogen, also had an amazing Buster Brown collection and my childhood was festooned with lamps, old cartoons, watches, prints, rugs, buttons, advertisements, posters and more with this colorful insignia:

Does your shoe have a boy inside? (What a funny place for a boy to hide.)
Does your shoe have a dog there, too?  (A boy and a dog and a foot in the shoe.)

Buster Brown and his dog, Tige, reigned mighty in my Maplewood childhood. Click here for the kitschy and catchy 34-second jingle that is burnished in my memory. This, along with my father (and very stylish mother) kindled my forever-love for shoes. I'm a full-believer in the phrase, "You can always tell a person by the shoes they wear."

In our next chapter, we will discuss the importance of wearing polished shoes and what it means if the tips and heals are scuffed. Not good.

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