Thursday, January 8, 2009


Mrs. Johnson stands in the yard, the arms of the oak trees are heavy with snow. Mrs. Johnson is wearing ugly fake fur topped overshoes with her fur collared coat and hat with a feather.

MaryAnn wears kids boots and a storm coat.

Her sons, Tom and Darrel had no rubbers, nor do they own a top coat. Tom explained neither of the boys had top coats to wear over their suits and the only over shoes they had were the zipper kind, (Which they never zipped unless they were hunting or trapping). Most likely the picture was taken on a Sunday morning and the family was going to church.

The other picture is of Tom, again a Sunday morning before church. Like, don't we all have to shoot a crow before worship? Offering? :) Note: He has is dress pants tucked into his overshoes.

All the over shoes for women were so ugly. But everyone wore them so it was + and - and equaled out. Winter meant black, spring and summer meant clear overshoes. And yes, they were for high heeled shoes. Old Trunks is wondering if there were different heel heights. Grandma Ranum wore a low wedge-like heel; Mother's were three inches high.

Mother sent me to town to by overshoes in the early fall of 1955. I was to go to the Fashion Shop. I was wearing hard shoe shoes. I didn't know the rule about buying them bigger to accommodate crepe shoes.

The furniture moved to the farm on Halloween that fall. We would live at Noper's Motel in a kitchenette unit until the house was finished. Thief River Falls had a pip of a snowfall on Halloween. On November 1, I tried to sneak out of the motel without the overshoes. Mother caught me and made me put them on. When I got to school, I had to take them off in the hall by the door. Carolyn C was hall monitor, no one got past her with overshoes on. I had to sit down and pull them off. It was not how I wanted to start a new school. Not just in the morning, there was the torture at recess, as well.The next day and everyday until Christmas, I wore my ratty hard sole shoes.

For Christmas that year, I received a pair of Kickarinos for Christmas. It was a new idea. Heavily lined leather boots with a crepe sole. No shoes needed. Mine were gray. Do you remember them? Not, mine, but your own? Mine zipped in the front and if you wanted 'style' you could button them back to form a "V". The boot height was just above the ankles. I even had a shoe bag. One carried your shoes to school, took off your boots and slipped into your shoes. Heaven forbid you forget your shoes, the boots, heavily lined made your feet perspire.

This changed the concept of most in-fashion mother's as well. In February of 1966, I went to my birth city to see my dad who had his first stroke. Mother and I visited him twice daily while he was in the hospital.

Mother wore her high heel boots and carried her shoe bag. At that time, there was a cloak room at the hospital. That is where you hung your coat and parked your boots. The unwritten law was not to bring coats to the patient room lest they carry germs. Well, we visited and when ready to go home, someone had taken mother's boots. She was sure it was on purpose, it may have been but she wasn't going to stick her feet in the boots that were left, (germs you know).

I have been in Fargo greater than 10 years. I have worn snow boots for fishing in the spring. One pair weigh, it seems, ten pounds each; the other are 'dress up boots' and you guessed it, have faux fur tops.

I would like to go to an elementary school and see just how many kids are wearing boots. Bet the numbers are low. After all, it is not Northrop where the rule was full winter dress to go out side for recess and play in the snow. My own children played on the black top at recess, if the black top wasn't plowed, they didn't get to go outside. They did have over shoes BUT they had bread sacks to put over their crepe soles to make the shoe glide into the boot.

So, I ask you, how ugly are your overshoes? Mess a uglies, I bet.


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