This is really a retarded story. I don’t know why I am telling it. It’s just been stuck in my head this week because something (I think it might be the below commercial) reminded me of it.
I was around 9 or so and in this particular case (there were others) my forbidden item was not quite as destructive as the ones in this commercial. They were a pair of moccasins, or what my child brain considered to be moccasins. Pictures might convey this better. Off to Google Images!
Now that we have some context let’s set the stage. It was a warm Texas summer day, circa 1977. School was out and the kids were generally driving their parents insane. In order to keep said parents productive members of society, the local Parks and Recreation department hosted “Activity Days” several times a week at various places, mostly parks (duh) or in my case, the playground of my Elementary School. Parents could drop their kids off there with P&R employees that hosted activities like badminton, horse shoes, basketball, or board games to name a few. They even had lawn darts! Can you believe that shit? That’s a whole different post in itself. Because nothing says I care about my kids safety like throwing aerodynamically sharpened spikes up in the air and having them fall with reckless abandon. How the fuck did we survive the 70’s?
Anyway, my sister and I were frequent participants of the “Activity Days” and on this particular day we were getting ready to go. I had been wearing my “moccasins” around the house a lot lately and I thought that they would be the perfect accessory for a summer outing. My sister’s friend’s mom was going to drive us there and as we were going out the front door to wait, my mom spotted my moccasin adorned feet.
“You’re not wearing those,” she informed me.
“What?” I asked.
“Those are house shoes.” People where I grew up always called them house shoes instead of slippers for some reason.
“They’re not house shoes!” I exclaimed. “They’re Indian Moccasins!” Political correctness, not such a big thing in the 70’s.
“No they are not and you will take them off right now, or you will stay home.”
“Was that back talk?” Oh boy, back talk was not tolerated in my household and if it was mentioned that meant you were one second away from the back of a hand.
I skulked back to my room brooding over the injustice of it all. All I was trying to do was honor the traditions of the country’s indigenous people. Hadn’t she seen that commercial of the Indian crying over litter on the side of the road? Who was she to stifle that? I felt it was my social duty to continue on with my plan. Besides, they were really comfortable. So I hid my moccasins under my shirt and went outside to wait with my sister. When I was sure my mom had turned her attention to something else in the house I quickly doffed my sneakers and slipped on the moccasins. I tossed my sneakers through the side door to the garage and, luckily, about that time our ride showed up. I darted to the car and jumped in the back. No one noticed what I was wearing on my feet.
My sister and her friend were saying their hellos but I was just sitting there thinking “STEP ON IT LADY!” when my fear was realized, and I saw my mom walking out the front door to the car. Sorry noble Native Americans, I tried.
“Hey Judy,” my mom said to sister’s friend’s mom, “Thanks for driving them. Can you tell the P&R people that I’ll be bringing by some cupcakes later on while I am running errands?”
Judy (not really sure if that was her name) assured my mom she would and just like that, I barely escaped illicit moccasin detection! I was ecstatic! A whole day out spent in my kick ass moccasins! You might foresee a little hiccup in that plan already, however, 9 year old Ari was not much of a long term thinker.
We were delivered to the school playground and I was soon frolicking around in my stylin’ moccasins. They did not go unnoticed. I had many inquiries into what shod my feet. In every case I dutifully informed them that they were moccasins. Even a few of the adult P&R people asked, and while they didn’t seem as impressed as the kids, they accepted my explanation without retort.
A little while later I saw a car pull up in the parking lot and out came Laura Brady*. When she walks all the wind blows and the angels sing**. Yeah I had a major crush on her. I’d been trying to screw up my courage to talk to her forever but it just wasn’t happening. That is until the power of my moccasins drew her to me.
“Hey,” she said to me, “What are those?”
I managed to push the frog in my throat down and said, “Moccasins.” Apparently now magical moccasins, as they had drawn Laura to me and gave me the ability to say a single word to her.
“Cool. You want to play Trouble with me?”
Oh I wanted to get in trouble with her, but she was talking about the board game Trouble. Remember that game? I loved it and I figured playing it with Laura could be the first step down the path to the other trouble I wanted to play with her. So we went under a copse of trees that had a bench beneath it and began to play. I lost track of time while I was clicking that pop-o-matic bubble and staring longingly into to Laura’s eyes.
Laura touched me on the shoulder. Yes! Physical contact! I was about to return the favor when I noticed she was gesturing and I became aware that there was a car horn blowing and my name being called. I looked over to where she was pointing in the general direction of the parking lot and there to my horror, I saw my Mom holding a Tupperware container of cupcakes out the driver’s side window. She was yelling at me to come over and get them because she had errands to run and she was busy. I quickly looked for my sister. Where the fuck was she? Nowhere to be seen of course. Luckily for now, my vantage point in the copse of trees had my feet hidden. But soon my even more pissed off mother was going to get out of the car and come over here. What was I going to do? I searched my vast knowledge of capers and this is what I came up with. I would run as fast as I could and maybe the blur of my supersonic feet would resemble the Road Runner when he whirred around and she would be unable to spot the now very powerless moccasins. Yeah, Einstein I was not.
So I hauled ass toward the car. It was around 50 yards away and halfway there something dawned on me. There were no less than ten kids running around this playground barefoot. Why the hell hadn’t I thought of that before I left the starting gate? I could have just taken my moccasins off in the copse. It was summer in Texas. Barefooted kids were nothing out of the ordinary.
Moccasin blue house shoe adorned kids were another matter.
In a flash, my mom was out of the car, dropping the Tupperware of cupcakes, and covered the remaining distance to me. At which point she grabbed me by the ear and dragged me back to the car while all activity on the playground ceased and everyone (including my now visible sister) watched me get physically thrown into the car and driven off.
I’ll spare you the details but lets just say distracted driving was not a problem for my mom. She maintained control of the car with one hand while wailing on me with the other. All the way home. Then more wailing interspaced with my “moccasins” shoved in my face to point out the fact that I had already worn holes in the soles. When the wailing finally ceased I just wanted to go to my room but, alas, it was not to be. To make matters even worse my mom took me back to the school playground because she had errands to do and she couldn’t even stand to be around me right now.
This was the last place in the world I wanted to be. I was now wearing my very unmagical sneakers and nobody seemed to want to meet my eye. To make matters worse, Laura was playing Trouble with another guy! But that wasn’t even the worse part. All the cupcakes had been eaten. Balls!