Ever since the day of orientation for Lola’s middle school last August we have found it impossible not to notice a pair of leather high-top tennis shoes dangling by their tied-together laces from a power line as we drive over the hill to the school. We do not know how long they have been hanging there, but we do know they seem intent to remain there, steadfastly swaying in the wind, seeming almost like a beacon of welcome each morning for passers-by. These shoes have often been the topic of conversation for Lola and me as we verbally imagine how they got there, under what circumstances, how long ago, and the condition they are now in after being weathered by every possible manner after all these months.
The other day I was continuing my ‘divinely inspired’ project of cleaning the garage and I happened upon a box which had been sorely missed for many years. The box contained my high school diploma and commencement invitation, my college diploma, my battered teaching degree for the state of Iowa (which expired in 1990), notes and completed assignments from my French classes taken sometime during the early 1990’s, and a huge binder with pockets containing most of the poetry and short stories I have written since the 6th grade. After reading some of my short stories and remembering from my Creative Writing class in 11th grade how many of them were conceived simply by looking at a photograph in a book and letting the imagination take over, I couldn’t help but think ‘the Shoes’ Lola and I see every day on the way to her school would make a favorable subject for just this type of story.