Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Tale of Two Shoes

My life in appalachia the tale of two shoes

The girls have long outgrown their childhood toys. Like sentimental me-they decided to hang on to a few of their favorites-but the rest were donated along the way.

The other day Chatter and I were in my room. She sat on the edge of the bed waiting patiently for me to plait her hair. I was running around trying to do 10 things at once. Just as I stepped up to the bed to start braiding, I dropped the hair band I had in my hand. It rolled under the edge of the bed. I bent over and swiped my hand under the bed to pick it up. Instead of the hair band I came up with a green high heeled Barbie shoe.

I held out my hand to show Chatter. We both said where did that come from? We recognized the shoe-it was one of a pair the girls used to try and squeeze on their Barbie doll’s feet. My mind instantly turned into a slide-show. The barbie dolls, the dresses, the shoes, the barbie doll furniture made by Granny, and 2 sweet chubby cheeked girls went flying through the pictures in my mind. Seems like only yesterday one of the girls’ biggest concerns was whether or not the barbie furniture would sit upright when they placed their dolls on it. Now they’re counting down the days (less than 30) till they graduate from high school.

Later that same day we stopped by Clay’s Corner to pick up a microphone for Pap. I sat in the car and sent the girls in to talk to Clay. In just a few minutes the girls were back. Chatter climbed in the car and held her closed fist out to me. I said “What is it?” She said “You’ll never guess.”

Her fingers spread wide revealing the tiniest doll shoe sitting in the palm of her hand. It wasn’t a high heeled barbie shoe-it was the type of shoe a baby doll would wear. I said ” Where did you get it?” Chatter’s sharp eyes had spotted the shoe laying in the parking lot of the gas station. Chatter and I loved the coincidence of finding 2 small doll shoes in the same day.

As we pulled out on the highway headed for home I couldn’t help but wonder if the tiny shoe from the parking lot was connected to someone else’s slide-show of memories.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    May 9, 2014 at 1:47 am

    I had to laugh and laugh cause all I could remember about having Barbie dolls was we had imitations, couldn’t afford the real ones; and we only had two for four girls so we always had to share them. It was the pits too cause there was always THAT sister (or two or three) who would wreck Barbie’s hair with constant combing/brushing, leaving it looking like a rats nest that you’d never be able to get pretty again, and then there was the one that put the fingernail polish on her lips because her lips weren’t red enough, leaving our poor fake “Barbies” looking like they’d tried to suck the chrome off the bumper of a 55 Chevy. So when we were more grown and done with them, we didn’t donate them – they got tossed; I can’t help but think no one in their right mind would have wanted them.
    Boy! The funny memories THAT brought back. ROFLOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Lovely post, Tipper 🙂

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Don’t you wish you could re-live those
    days? I know I do! My first daughter
    was so dainty and careful with everything, but the second one was the
    complete opposite. She was a “live wire”. I enjoyed the trip you brought
    up today…such nice memories…Ken

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 10:22 am

    As I posted my earlier comment, another thought came to mind: When the girls were little those high heeled shoes represented a magical world of “Grown-up” – a place they could hardly wait to get to. Now that they’re almost there, “Childhood”, represented by the baby doll shoe, becomes a place they kinda sorta wish they could stay – at least part of the time. Especially in those moments when “Grown-up” seems like a scary place.
    Remember those times of pre-adolescence when one minute they would want to snuggle up on your lap and the next minute they were complaining that you wouldn’t let them grow up?
    Truth be told, those moments come throughout our lifetime; but watching them in our children is especially poignant.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 10:11 am

    These shoes make me think of the American Indian “fetishes” – – somehow the word has come to have an unsavory meaning when it really was meant to give name to those things which spur memories and help a person tell stories. – – and storytelling is such an important part of discovering and understanding who we are.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 10:09 am

    My daughter is 37. She was the only one in her group to have a wedding dress for Barbie when she was 4-6 years old. My sister made it for her. I recently found a pill bottle with her baby teeth in it. I plan to give them to her the next time I see her.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike
    May 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Tipper: Get those girls some pencil and paper handy. They will surely write an endearing story of those precious moments!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Neither of my girls cared about playing with Barbies. I bought them anyway. They didn’t care anything about saving them either, but I did. They are stored upstairs along with my oldest daughters treasures from her days in modeling and my youngest Tom Boy’s softball, basketball and track uniforms. Oh how I wish I could re-live those days in my slideshow of memories!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Isn’t it amazing how a small item like a piece of a doll house or something as such can bring back beautiful memories, especially that of childhood. It just must have been your day of finding shoes. I have given my children their first pair of shoes. They are now in their forties. I still have my original baby shoes, almost seventy years old.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

    What a post today, Tipper! You outdid yourself: both in the telling of it and the way you led us to see and understand. There came, pell, mell, the hair braiding, finding a Barbie shoe (why in the world was it under your bed in the first place?? [That’s my mind asking, as I would ask myself!]) and then the other “found” baby doll shoe as you were on an errand at Clay’s Corner! The stuff of memories! And just now I’m hearing the girls sing, “Lonesome Feeling” on the playlist! It’s amazing how little things can trigger a hundred memories long buried. We may not want to go down that “lonesome road,” “lonesome feeling,” but suddenly there it is bigger than life, because you have the memory itself and added to it all the subsequent conditions that set it apart as significant and meaningful. I think, if we consider awhile, we will know that we are supposed to consider well and learn from what did not just “coincidentally” come to mind! I like the “memory jug.” Or “memory jar,” a “memories drawer,”–or just merely having our memory “jarred” by something we come across. Life has many dimensions! Many crooks, turns and even straight stretches!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I’m thinking PandP’s old guitar picks, a worn crochet hook…Dad’s shotgun shell, Mom’s old measuring spoon, a old broken a special creek/spring pebbles, crockery, glass, etc. An old tap/nail from a clogging shoe…s stamp enclosed in plastic…from who knows where…
    I’m outta here…LOL

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 8, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I wonder if someone would read this and claim the tiny lost baby shoe?
    I don’t think so! Do You!
    I am going to make me a memory jug!
    I don’t know if you know of them or not? Some folks in NC actually start with a clay slip jug they have made. You then start placing items, trinkets if you will, of your own you have saved thru the years or trinkets of the day! Past…tiny doll shoes, ear-rings neclaces…etc..Today…a barrett, a pop-tab bracelet, a ear-ring that lost it’s mate. Things of the past, a diaper pin, a baby toy or teething ring, etc.
    You get the idea…Also place a memory trinket from folks you love, grannies, pappies, mom, dad and sister or brother! These items may be harder to aquire without their help…Since I have not worked in clay in years, I am going to make mine out of a old glass jug. Maybe a cola syrup jug or vinegar jug…The glass jugs are getting hard to find. I thought I would use that super-duper glue E-6000, that is flexible and waterproof and glues about anything to anything. Use ventilation…wheewwww it stinks!
    Space the little pieces apart or not…then I am going to spackle some plaster stuff between them to get the look. The old spackle that folks used back in the day sometimes would dryup and break off loosing the trinket…
    At any rate, that is one way to use the tiny shoes…or if the girls decide not to make jewelry out of their old jewelry box keys they would work on a memory jug..LOL
    I have seen these all my life, like the face jugs of NC…I just wish I have bought and kept some instead of selling them in the ‘tique business….
    I love this post…sorry I rattled on…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….before sealing the jug…always put something in the memory jug to rattle…to boggle the inquisive mind that looks at it after it is finished or down the road when a future generation looks at it!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 8, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I am sure it has crossed your mind that your girls are not your babies anymore. They are ready to go out and face the world. Maybe the shoes are to remind you of this, as we mothers know our babies remain ours even when they grow up and leave home.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 8, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Barbie dolls to high school graduation! Now that is a big leap and it would provide any mom with quite a slide show.
    I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the girls graduating from High school and going to college!

  • Reply
    Garry Ballard
    May 8, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Sounds to me like someone should write a song about that Tipper! It’s the sort of thing that other mountain girl from Tennessee would write about I reckon. I first got interested in the mountain regions of the south through good old Dolly Parton.

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