When I’m Wearing Home Shoes

These are my “home shoes.”

Home Shoes - Part of the Iowa Uniform

I don’t mean slippers or anything like that. What I mean is: when I am wearing this shoe configuation — ie. tennis shoes and blue jeans — I feel “home.”

It’s a cultural thing. And a family thing. Growing up, this is what we wore: white tennis shoes, blue jeans, t-shirt, or sweatshirt. Sometimes referred to as the “Iowa uniform.”

I was living in London, and went back home visiting.   I went with Mom and my sister, Kathy, and my nephew Karl to watch a basketball game at my old high school. I was wearing blue jeans, a v-neck black sweater, and brown slip-on Clark’s shoes. Nothing fancy. Just the modification I’d made to my uniform to blend in over there. 

I remember what I was wearing so clearly that day because I felt exceptionally dressed up sitting on those bleachers, chatting with an old girlfriend. Everyone else was wearing “the uniform.” Hooded sweatshirts with herkies on them. Shiny white Nikes. Wranglers.

The Shoes we Live in

Growing up, we always wore our shoes in the house. Actually, I think we didn’t ever take them off, except to go to bed, and to shower. (That made it so much faster for us to get through the door when my mom hollered “Everybody OUTSIDE!”). What you get used to is how you live.

My dad wore “rubbers” (yes, that’s what we all called them), which just slipped over his shoes in the winter. No need to take the shoes off. I vaguely remember some of our boots were like that too.

Now, everyone at our house takes their shoes off inside the door, like automated robots — so much so that I have to tell them sometimes to not bark at visitors who leave theirs on. We all wear slippers around here in the winter. It’s a Colin Thing. He was so offended by the idea of shoes in the house, that I relented. That’s what he did growing up… the Canada uniform.

Besides, once you try something new, you can really grow to like it.

Slippers, for example…

What’s your shoe thing?

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

  3 comments for “When I’m Wearing Home Shoes

  1. jeff
    September 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    shoes are for outside unless its summer and you do not need them period.

    • September 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      I love the theory of no shoes! Especially in summer! But for some reason, my feet want a snuggle!

  2. September 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Shoes are so danged important. Being from Missouri (with a short stay in Des Moines), I can agree with the uniform. Although, change the white Nike shoes for a pair of any color Chucks. Also, at some point we started wearing loose button down shirts over our t-shirts, but I think that was because Maxim said it would make us look skinnier or something.

    I don’t take my shoes off, though. Feet are disgusting and stinky and you never know when you’re going to need to flee a building or deal with broken glass.

    Also, flip flops make me sick and when I see someone wearing them it triggers a violent reaction in my mind that makes me have to leave or kill…

    There is no middle ground.

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