Recognizing My Shoe Fetish

FETISH: an object that is superstitiously believed to have magical powers.

Looking ahead to our four days at a national poetry convention in Santa Fe, Lucia Wainwright suggested that we take some supplies requested by Catholic Charities.


The target charity is asylum seekers who have been temporarily released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while they await their hearing. Meanwhile, Catholic Carities in Santa Fe, house, feed, and clothe 400+ immigrants  for up to three days as they arrange transport to their sponsors or relatives.

asylum photo

As you know from watching the news, the immigrants arrive fatigued, foot-sore, and in need of life’s basics. Should you want to see the list of needed supplies, go to

Given that the immigrants are shortly on their way to somewhere else, they are travelling light. If they can’t wear it or ingest it, they don’t need it. At the top of my list is baby formula, meds (for pain, constipation, and diarrhea) and baby books in Spanish. Hoodies in all sizes and airplane blankets that you mistakenly took with you when debarking are also welcome gifts.

Having walked many Camino de Santiago miles myself, I know about foot-sore. But I was wearing good hiking boots and I carried only a day-pack. I was not fleeing violence. Nor was I hungry or thirsty. Unlike the immigrants from Central America, I carried neither a baby nor a toddler. No one clung to me.

Looking at the list of needs, my attention immediately focused on the call for children’s shoes. With that in mind, I drove to Canon City and bought 20 pair at Goodwill and New Horizons. Next week I’ll hit up the charity shops in Pueblo.

Buster Brown logoMy mother had ‘a thing’ about having perfect feet. To that end, I grew up deprived and destined to wear sturdy, utilitarian Buster Brown shoes. Looking for a photo of the shoes that I wore through middle school, I found what I was looking for: Vintage Buster Browns! (If my shoes are now vintage, am I Vintage too?!!)

Buster Brown shoesI dreamed of strappy, patent leather, church-going-shoes… anything other than what I was wearing. If I only had trendy shoes, I would be more popular. If only I had cuter shoes, no one would notice my homemade dresses. If only I had groovier shoes, maybe my math score would improve. Maybe.

Spreading out my just purchased asylum shoes on the kitchen table, I grinned with satisfaction. I had found some wonderful shoes – shoes that I had only dreamed about.

DSCN8663 (2)

All the shoes are cool. There’s not one Buster Brown in the bunch. I would have killed for these shoes.

If I’d had these shoes, I would have been more popular, AND I would have been better at Math. The blue shoes in the front, the ones with the hearts and stars? They would have given me magical powers.

I smile to think of the little girl who will wear them.






About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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12 Responses to Recognizing My Shoe Fetish

  1. H Brent Bruser says:

    You two are special souls.

    Sent from my iPad


  2. timeout2 says:

    Thank you, Brent. Prior to your visit, knowing that your time amongst us would be bitter-sweet, I told Bar that I was afraid. What if the bitter out-weighed the sweet? Was the distance (destined to grow over time) already distant? I am so happy to say that your visit was sweet, with no sense of distance at all. You two are special souls. Mark uplifted by your day and companionship up South Colony. xo

  3. Dianne Shanks says:


    Sent from my iPad


  4. judy Shanley says:

    I wanted a pair of loafers.

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Judy, In addition to shoes that were more fun than Buster Browns (I don’t think I had any shoes other than lace-up Browns until high school when I got a pair of saddle shoes) I dreamed of store-bought clothing. And that’s where you came in. Every so often I was given clothes that you had out-grown. Very fine gifts indeed! Thank you. xo

  5. marilynjh says:

    Magical blog. When you heard to Santa Fe?

    • timeout2 says:

      Nice to hear from you Marilyn! Lucia, Joyce Gregor and I are off crack of dawn on Sunday the 23rd and will return late on the 26th. Four days of poetry and about-town with three other Shavano Poets from Chaffee County.

  6. Richard Pohanish says:

    Doris, enjoyed your blog. The right kind of fetish. Brought back memories.

    I grew up in boy Scout Scout brand shoes from the HH Brown Shoe Co. Made in New England, they were also the makers of Buster Brown. I remember in high school one of the coolest guys started wearing black tassel loafers and all I had were sturdy, long-lasting but nerdy brown Boy Scout shoes. So I understand your pain. Fortunately (and by sheer coincidence) I worked at Brown’s Pharmacy starting in the 9th or 10th grade. Suddenly, I had my own money and started buying my own clothes.

    Yep…black tassel loafers, khakis and v-neck sweaters worn over a white t-shirt. It was a new world for me. My mother was wondering what was happening. In college we used to buy white Keds and drag them behind a car until they got ratty. Worn with Wigwam white socks they were all the rage…but not in my mother’s house. How many times I heard, “Richard, you look like a bum!.” The circle turns.


  7. timeout2 says:

    Ah! Loafers with tassels, khakis and V-neck sweaters. Yes. As for my mother’s choice of shoes, ugly as the Buster Browns were, Mom was right (don’t you hate to admit that?), my feet are very good.

  8. Bar says:

    My mom was a good shoe mom too, for which a am deeply grateful now. At the time, though, I thought she was a party poop. Thank you for your shoe mission. Love.

  9. timeout2 says:

    We’ve had the same experience, Bar. Next time we’re together, we should remove our shoes, compare our beautiful feet, and give thanks to our mothers. XO

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