High-Top Sneakers: a Best Friend Forever
If Memories Are Lasting
then I am here to testify that yes, they do. Last month, I think it was Tuesday evening and I have this feeling of keeping my things placed neatly on the top of our dresser that we have in our clothes closet. I was putting my car keys, wallet, and things placed where I could get them the next morning without any trouble and there they were. With my wife being out to run an errand, I felt like ABC’s Time Tunnel and my mind began to take me back to the year of 1964 and talk about speed! I flew.
My journey ended rather quickly when I landed on the inside of the home where my parents and I lived in 1964, where I was in the fourth-grade. You know what is scary? To see yourself at a younger age, hear them talk, but you cannot speak. Just listen. Please do not ask me why. I didn’t design Time Tunnel.
I was sitting on our couch looking intensely at the Christmas tree that my dad had cut from the wooded area of our home at that time and my mom and I decorated our tree. My sister and her family had visited with us and they had to leave to visit another member of her husband’s family, so it was my parents and myself left at home to celebrate Christmas. I am not complaining. I remember that only three were present at the manger in Bethlehem, so I will respect that fact.
My Dad Handed Out Our Christmas Presents
and frankly, he did a slightly-better delivery system than Santa, but I was not saying one thing about how he handed me my one and only box. I can tell you that the one box did not contain a model car, or a figurine like an Indian or soldier. Nor did it contain an air pistol. But what I did see changed my life forever.
I had been blessed by my parents (and Santa, cannot leave him out), with a spiffy pair of black high-top sneakers with the white logo inside of each shoe and I could not to get them onto my feet. In a flash, the sneakers fit my feet better than a glove that fits a hand. These sneakers, I truly believe, were destined to be worn by me and that I did—day after day until darkness. I went everywhere, school, where I took a big laugh from the city kids who labeled kids like me who wore high-top sneakers rubes and bums. Well, thank God, my high-top’s and I survived. Some of those elite kids did not. And their troubles came certainly because of how they treated me and others like me. I truly believe that how we treat each other, bad or good, will come back to remind us when we least expect it.
There was just that “something” about my black and white sneakers that made me feel so confident, so secure and peaceful when I wore them to school—although my friends and I continued to endure lots of making-fun and laughing at us, but we, the “outcast kids,” took it and went on. Did we enjoy this. Are you nuts? I do believe that during those awful years that my friends and I did gain a bit of strength on how to take stupidity from others without avenging these same people. Enough of this. Now on with what happened when 1964 came to a close.
The Fall of 1964
was drawing cold as the days became shorter and even our classmates began to grow and change that we witnessed this in the months to come and when this school term was going on, good or bad weather, my treasured canvas, rubber sole sneakers and I grew closer as if the shoes were dear friends of mine. Of course they were. And I did not back-up when some idiot would ask me (out of ignorance), was those tennis shoes a way to show you that you are dumb? I had the perfect comeback: I simply grinned and snapped, no more than you do. And walked away.
And during Thanksgiving, Christmas, my high-top sneakers and I became very close although I was growing from a stupid kid into a young man as my mom said. But no matter where I was taken, school, church, or going with my parents to buy groceries, I was glad to wear my high-top sneakers. Case closed. I did not make apologies to anyone. In fact, I loved my high-top sneakers and in many ways, more than I do many of my so-called friends.
A good pair of high-tops never judge or condemn the owner of these shoes. Or they didn’t me. And my high-top’s were always there when I had a great day or not. Talk about a best friend, my black and white high-top sneakers stuck with me through the rough and good years. I cannot say this about a few of my classmates or the people where I formerly worked. I guess I just went on with my black and white high-top sneakers and lived to the best that I could.
To give you and idea why I loved my sneakers, just pay attention to these facts: they were manufactured in that tough canvas material that a wild buffalo could not dent. Yes, they came with a rubber sole, and they did make that annoying squeaking sound when I walked through the hallways in my school building when I went to school, and just to be honest, I only let my sneakers make that annoying sound to irk the teachers. My sneakers’ foundation was 0.25 and were lace up closures and my friends and I would not be seen with anyone if they wore those sneakers that had no laces. We labeled these people as strange.
Before My Journey Back
from my early years of the 1960’s, I saw pain and laughter, life and death. Some of my friends met with awful deaths and some with a dignified, peaceful death. I was blessed to pay my respects to a lot of them and at those times, yes, my high-top, black and white sneakers went with me. Of course the hems of my pants covered the sneakers up to where I did not get the third-degree at people asking why wear sneakers at my age?
Let me just answer a few things that I know to be true about my black and white, high-top sneakers. These sneakers were so soft, yet durable that all my mom did was to toss them into her washing machine and with a flash, they were clean. I always noticed that it did not matter if my sneakers were spotless or dirty, they loved me and I loved them.
My sneakers stood the test of time. Just like I have sitting here in 2019 pounding-out one of my best memories about what else? My high-top, black and white sneakers.
I suppose that the day is coming to a place in my life where I can write 5,000 or more words about a boxer, singer, maybe a gorgeous drum majorette. Who knows. But what I do know now, I was sad when I had to take my black and white, high-top sneakers and place them back into my closet. Best friends should always look out for each other.
October 9, 2019__________________________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery