Red Tennies with White Stripes

Have you ever owned a pair of red tennis shoes with white stripes?  I don’t think I ever have.  But I have coveted them.  I just love red shoes. Red cowboy boots – like the ones in the old Footloose movie.  I remember when I saw this movie.  I wanted to be skinny, go braless, have long wild hair and own a pair of red cowboy boots.  I think I wanted that for years!  Ha!

A photo from the 1984 Footloose movie

At fifty-something years old, I STILL love red cowboy boots, but the closest I have come was a pair of red Born brand Mary-Janes.  (The truth is that I just don’t wear red that often.)  I did manage to spend some time going braless, having longish, wild hair, and the skinny part?  Well, that’s subjective.  Never as skinny as Ariel in the photo!!   The main thing is that with age, we find acceptance in ourselves and hopefully find our own style.


Recently, an old photo was posted on Facebook.  It was a family reunion type setting in 1972.  My cousins were visiting – one family from Southern Indiana and one from lower Michigan and some from nearby towns in our northeast part of Indiana.  Our house was the middle ground, so everyone must have gathered there for the convenience.

1972 Wittke Family Gathering at the Lengel House


As I looked at the old photos posted, there was one photo in particular that I zoomed in on.  I studied it – our hair – my sister and I had short hair, whereas our cousin’s had long in pigtails; 70’s pants (mine were striped); and I noticed my older cousin, Jer’s, red with white stripes tennis shoes.  At that moment, I was transported back.  I remembered those shoes from forty plus years ago.  I remembered wishing I had some.  And I remembered thinking Jerlyn was the coolest person I knew.  I was only ten-years-old, and I already had my eye on her fashion sense.

Seeing those old photos, of course, took me back to those yearly reunions with my beloved cousins.  Back to summers of carefree fun, fireflies, kick-the-can, and Hope to See the Ghost games in the dark and the hide-and-seek game, Sardines.  So many wonderful memories.  Such a great, supportive and loving extended family that I was blessed to be a part of.

I never knew why people said “the good ole days,” but I get it now.  Life gets tough once you grow up.  Illness, poverty, bad choices, divorce, death – well, you know – $*it happens.  And it is easy to get sucked into that mind set that life is hard or life sucks, etc.  The truth is that if it were all smooth sailing, we would take it for granted.  And on the flip side, if life has a few negative or hard times in a row, we have a tendency to think that’s all we have to expect.

Those red tennies say it all though.  They say STEP OUT!  Not just in a outward way, but from the inner perspective, as well.

The sky is gray and weeping today.  This morning I had fifteen minutes to spare before I had to head to the daily grind.  I ran back to my sewing room, mended a pair of my husband’s work shorts, looked at my works in progress, then hit the road.  As I headed into the office, I realized that giving myself just that 15 minutes of stepping out of my routine of duty and obligations gave me the lift that I needed.  I felt like the sun was shining on me, but it was raining all around me.

When I looked around – I realized that I felt so different, I may as well have been wearing red tennis shoes or cowboy boots!  And it felt good!


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