Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Red Shoes

Dancing with the ancestors isn't solely about building a family tree, finding a skeleton or four in the family closet, or finding out the where/why a person came from. Dancing with the ancestors is also about the stories passed down from generation to generation . . . like the fact that two of my half-great aunts were murdered in Louisiana in 1947, and that a third sister living with them survived the attack, crawled under the front porch, and survived. 

But, not all stories are so dreary and depressing, some of them are quite amusing, such as the story of my mother's red shoes.

Luckily, there is not one, but three stories about my mom’s red shoes . . .

The one I remember is that when my mom, her sister, a cousin of theirs, and another friend, lived together in Louisville, Kentucky, is that my mom's sister Dorothy was famous (or infamous is perhaps the better word) for borrowing my mom’s clothes, shoes, and whatnot. Well, one night, my mom’s getting ready for a date (probably with dad, but you just never know – ha), and she can’t find her red shoes. She looks and looks and looks. No red shoes. Well, in walks Aunt Dorothy into the apartment . . . wearing mom’s red shoes, well, at least until mom made her take them off. Ha.

The second story, was sent to me by my cousin, Aunt Dorothy's son . . .

Back in the day before my mom moved to Louisville from the small town (Lebanon Junction, KY she grew up in), she commuted to work in Louisville. Well, when the cat's away, the mice will play. The cat in this case would be my mother, and the mouse would be my Aunt Dorothy. Well, the cat was at work, and the clothes and shoes in her closet were free for the taking, . . . and Aunt Dorothy took freely, and without asking permission. Anyhow, one day while my mom was at work, Aunt Dorothy borrowed the red shoes and went up to Taylor's Drug Store for a soda. My mom returned from work and noticed that her red shoes were gone. I'm taking it Aunt Dorothy was a repeat offender, and mom wasn't unaware of the borrowing going on with her shoes/clothes. Well, mom marched right up to Taylor's to get her shoes back! She did, at least, carry a pair of her sister's shoes with her to trade. She could have let her walk home barefoot. Ha.

The third story came from my double cousin (her grandmother and my grandmother were sisters, and we share a great-great grandfather on another branch of the family tree) . . .

It seems that, at some point, my mom gave some of her old things to her younger sister and a cousin to play with at a later date. The red shoes were in the mix. My mom's sister and cousin wore the red shoes around town even though they were way too big. They were at least 10 or 11 years younger than my mother (who was one of 10 kids). According to double cousin, her mom said they thought they were really grown up in those shoes. 

My double cousin's final comment about the shoes: Can you imagine so much history from a pair of shoes?

I can't, but think it's neat that the shoes Aunt Dorothy loved to borrow led quite the life afterwards. I can just see my other aunt - shoes too big - walking all around the very small town of Lebanon Junction.

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