New Shoes

When I was twelve years old, my parents took my brothers and me shopping for new sneakers. I remember finding black canvas Converse Chuck Taylors. My father asked me whether I was sure those were the shoes I wanted. I responded with an emphatic, “yes.” These were my first pair of name brand shoes.

We put our shoes in the shopping cart and waited for our parents at the front of the store. While my mom was in line at the checkout counter, I noticed her looking closely at my shoes. She pulled them out of the cart and took them back to the shoe department. I watched her return with my black sneakers and thought maybe I had the wrong size or something.

When we got home, I put on my new shoes and noticed something different about them, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. This confusion bothered me. I mentioned this to my mother, but she didn’t say anything. It wasn’t until I wore them to school when I realized what happened.

At the bus stop, everyone was staring at my feet and laughing. I didn’t understand, and my feelings were hurt. Kids in the halls singing “May pops a dollar forty-nine, sure do make your feet feel fine.” “But, these were Chucks,” I told them. Then someone points out that Chucks have a patch and not four stripes on the shoe. That is when I realized; my mom switched my sneakers back in the store. My name brand traded for a no-name generic.

So, I stopped wearing those shoes. My mom told my dad, which angered him because he thought they were the ones I picked. I didn’t have the nerve to say to him what my mom did. I longed for the day when I could buy my clothes.