My Grandmother’s Shoes

We found these shoes of my grandmother’s and a tiny box with a hooked instrument in it when we were cleaning out my Dad’s apartment after his most recent move.

Mom had slipped a little note into the box with the hooked instrument saying it had a pearl handle and had been used to hook up the laces on the shoes. She said the shoes had belonged to her mother when she was a young girl. Mom figured Grandma had worn the shoes around 1912 which would make them and the accompanying shoe hook more than a hundred years old.

I was very curious as to why my Mom had kept the shoes. Looking at the soles I believe they were probably handmade for my grandmother or perhaps for one of her two older sisters and then passed down to her.

My grandmother Annie and her older sister Marie. Perhaps the shoes were originally made for Marie and then passed on to Grandma.

I remember my mother telling me that when she was a little girl it was very important to their father that his children all have good fitting shoes and he spared no expense in that regard. According to Mom my grandmother’s feet were somewhat deformed because she had been forced to wear shoes that were too small for her when she was a child. My grandfather didn’t want that to happen to his children.

Photo of my grandmother’s family around the time my mother said Grandma would have worn the shoes. My grandmother Annie is the youngest in her family and is standing just next to her mother.

I looked at some photos of my grandmother as a young girl but you can’t really see her feet in any of them to see what kind of shoes she is wearing.

I am not sure why my mother kept her mother’s shoes and the beautiful shoe hook but they are interesting souvenirs from my family’s past and I don’t think I will be able to part with them either.

Other posts…………

My Grandparents Were At An International Exhibition in 1933

My Dad’s Cowbell

All Those Doilies


Filed under Family

3 responses to “My Grandmother’s Shoes

  1. Robert Way

    We all, I believe, hold on tightly to memories of our ancestors. My grandmother was a single mother of two young boys, abandoned on a river plain farm in Manitoba. She was 18 and was forced to take a cold water flat in Winnipeg and “lowest of the low” job at Eaton’s to survive and provide for her sons. She remarried to an Irish immigrant who had answered an ad for beat police officers in Winnipeg and ended up working security at…you guessed it – Eaton’s. He was an accomplished athlete participating in the Selkirk games, but more importantly, loved those 2 boys as if they had been his. They loved to sit at the table or in the sitting room sharung the stories of theor days. The lessons imparted by these two great people, both retiring after long and admirable careers with The Company, her rising to management and him becoming head of financial protection, inspired both sons to volunteer for the war effort and both came home after action in the European theatre as Prairie Naval Volunteers with their scars, memories, and … British war brides!
    Grampa died at 88, after his second and solitary remaining kidney failed. She carried on, joining a lodge and rising through the offices twice, and entertaining others as a member of the Singing Seniors, well known in the 1990s around Winnipeg for their annual spring show at the Assinuboine Park Conservatory. When she finally passed at 96, Grandma had seen all of the 20th century save the first 6 years. So what is my point?
    Not her shoes, but there was a special talisman of theirs that reminded me of their tenacity and dependability, and their love for each other and for me. It was a Westminister chime mantle clock, given them by friends and management at Eaton’s when they married. As a child I had mischieviously overwound it on several occasions, breaking the mainspring each time. Grampa never said a word but got it repaired and carried on. When Grampa died, Grandma kept right on winding it every day, using the sound of it to help fill up the hole her husband’s death had left. She always wanted me to have it one day, but I just couldn’t carry it away while it still served her.
    Today I have that clock. It means a great deal to me, for in its steady tick and chimes, I imagine I am almost hearing their voices!


  2. Pingback: Pandemic Grandparenting | What Next?

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