Monday, July 5, 2010

Clogs? Really?

Think 1970, West Village, NYC. Think scent of weed everywhere, the Summer of Love a not-too-distant memory, the Vietnam War a stark raving disaster, Fred Braun hand-made sandals, Crimpers haircutters and Olaf Daughters clogs. All those memories swirl together for me to define a particular time in my life, as in many baby-boomer's lives, a time of wonder and discovery.

So, about those Olaf Daughter's clogs. That clog shop in the Village was mecca for many of us, and I will always remember purchasing those yellow suede clogs - the same clogs that ultimately climbed small mountains in the Adirondacks and hitch-hiked to Berkeley the next year. Somewhere I have a photo of me in the clogs on a Pacific beach shortly after my arrival from New York. Yet once I wore through the toe of those beloved clogs, I never again found a pair of clogs so perfect, and moved on to other footwear, traversing the long road from Earth Shoes to Roots, on to Kelian, Clergerie and Prada. I thought I was a long way from those clogs.

And then. There in Portland I had one of those serendipitous moments, spotting a pair of yellow clogs in a shop window, a shop which carried nothing but clogs. The shape of these clogs looked incredibly familiar, so in I went. What an absolutely Proustian moment, as I discovered that this shop carried the same Swedish clogs as Olaf Daughters had carried, and that few others in this country have ever carried. As my best friend and I tried on pair after pair, being poked and prodded and cajoled by the serious clogmistress Cecelia, I kept thinking, "Really? Clogs again? Me? How do these fit with the cowboy boots? And the 4-inch heels? And do I really need to be traveling with 7 pairs of shoes now?"

As you might have guessed, the clogs came home with me, and I have been wearing them ever since, feeling comfortable, cute, and expressing my inner-Berkeley girl. I have to laugh when I look at the shoe line-up I am traveling with, but as I embark on this next round of my post-married life, I can think of no better shoes to walk in than the same ones in which I embarked on my first adventure of my adult life.

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