A Shoe Story

When I was about six, I was deemed by my parents old enough to take on more responsibility at home.  That chore was to be done on Saturday mornings – to sweep and scrub the floors of our bedroom closets – one that belonged to my parents and one that was shared by me and my 2 sisters. After that was completed, the family shoes were to be polished in preparation for church on Sunday. Then everything was to be replaced neatly in the closet.
Neither closet was big at all – but there were “shoe shelves” on each end of each one. Our shoes consisted of a pair of “good shoes” and a pair of everyday shoes apiece.  After polishing each pair of shoes, they were carried to one of my parents for inspection before being returned to the closet.
Does anyone still polish their shoes that faithfully?? Does anyone’s mom think that the closet floors need to be washed every week? Are our children expected to contribute to the family welfare at an early age anymore? Do people still have only 2 pairs of shoes and take such meticulous care of them? Is dressing up for church or school considered a sign of respect anymore?
My folks were children of the Great Depression and fully appreciated how hard it was to earn the money for shoes. No one had even heard of a credit card – you didn’t get shoes until you had the hard cash to pay for them. Many children went with only Sunday shoes all summer – barefoot was the order of those long Summer days. Our shoes had to last until school was out, no matter how worn out, and school shoes weren’t purchased again until Fall.
I know that this mundane chore taught me more than one thing. I learned to be responsible for my own work; I was expected to perform this duty without constant reminders or nagging. I learned to get the job done without dawdling – no lunch until the job was done. I learned to meet high standards of workmanship – if the polish job didn’t meet with approval, I had to do it over. I learned that you were expected to take care of hard-earned possessions. I learned that cleanliness was next to Godliness – no “round corners” on my scrubbing job, the baseboards and shelves had to be cleaned, everything had to be returned neatly to its place.
I wonder if we are teaching our own children the rewards of independence, good workmanship, responsibility, and the satisfaction of a job well done? We weren’t lavishly praised for doing our share for our family; we were taught that it was expected as our contribution.  I've been very thankful over the years that my mom and dad cared enough to prepare us for "real life".


  1. I really like today's entry....Please, keep them coming along with your delicious recipes. Can't tell you how glad am, to have access to your blog!

  2. What a great story....and no, no one has just 2 pairs of shoes anymore and no one takes care of them like that! You had great parents! I am going to look at the pile of shoes on the floor of my closet a little differently now!


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