I recently saw the exact mini little red high heel shoe, that I still have, at a flea market I went to with my mom in Wisconsin. She’d been driving past the dang thing for nearly two years and hadn’t ever stopped to check it out.
She asked me if I wanted to go, and I said yes. Why not? You never know what you’re gonna find, and it was nice to spend some time together just wandering around.
But more than anything I found, I discovered that there are a lot of people just like me that have collected a lot of stuff over the years. There are a lot of people who still have kept some of the exact things I’ve kept too.
But here’s the thing, I’m just not so sure they all have a story connected to all their stuff. Maybe, maybe not. At least not one they feel the need to share with everyone. I guess that’s what makes my stuff different. It’s like there’s a story that needs to be dusted off and told. So that’s what I do here on this blog, week after week.
The flea market where I spotted my inspiration to write this story
Now, they say “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and maybe sometimes that’s the case. Except for the “man” part, in this case, insert “woman” I guess. Because when I stopped by a table that had some records I was interested in, I bought a few. But the lady at this same table selling the records also had a collection of small collectible shoes like the red one above. It caught my eye because my Grandma had bought me a couple from the same collection. This lady had the exact red high heel shoe I had!
Here it is:
Isn’t it cute?
My Grandma gave it to me in high school around the time I was in a show called “Anything Goes.” I played the role of Bonnie, a sort of ditsy gangster girl. It was a lot of fun to play. I was a junior. It was the spring of 1999.
I didn’t tell the lady all about this as I was eyeing the red shoe. I simply told her I had one just like it. She told me she’s always loved shoes.
While I can’t say I love shoes, My Grandma sure did. In fact she loved all kinds of shopping. She loved her feet too. She’d often tell me this, she’d say, “Don’t I have pretty feet? I think I have pretty feet.”
She did have nice feet.
Getting gifts for me and my sisters that were themed around something we were interested in at the time was also a passion of hers. This shoe reminds me of that show “Anything Goes” for sure, and her too.
In 2000, she got me this one I believe:
Isn’t it cute too?
I love the strap and 1920’s inspired lines. The gold and black are so classic. I was in a show called “The Boyfriend” that year, it was the spring and I was a senior. I played another bubbly character named Maisie. I even had my own song! “Safety in Numbers” was a hoot. I got to be swung in a beach blanket by a bunch of boys. Loved that one.
But that’s the end of my collection. I just had two of these mini shoes.
The lady I met at the flea market had at least a dozen I’d say. They’re from a collection called “Just the Right Shoe.”
Here’s the bottom of one:
Guess the black and gold one is named “Rising Star.” That inspires me. Grandma always loved that I danced and sang and performed on stage. Her enthusiasm and support was huge. I liked having a little memento to remember each of these shows I had really great parts in. Since I’d headed off to college to pursue a career in theatre right after high school graduation, the timing couldn’t have been better to keep the fun in it all.
At the time, I thought these shoes were definitely fun. Guess I still do.
A flapper doll to match
I also got a flapper figurine around the same time. It’s gorgeous. I started to really love that time period when I was a senior doing a show from the 1920s. I had a super cute gold fringe dress my friend and I found at a thrift store. We added extra embellishments to it to make it a costume I’d wear in the show my senior year during a number called “Won’t You Charleston With Me?” I actually still have that costume too. Surprised? No, I’m sure not.
Here’s a picture of that figurine:
Isn’t she beautiful?
Here’s a picture of me in the gold dress I mentioned:
And a few close ups of the figurine:
So, her name is Daisy I guess. I never really looked that closely to see that. My mom has always loved Italy! Its markings say Florence on it, and that it’s made in Italy. I actually thought my mom got me this around graduation time, but after checking with her she said my Grandma got this for me. But it’s so elegant and reminds me of the quality of things my mom adores and how she’d say “the eyes are so pretty on this one. Look at her face!” “It’s made in Italy too!” So really, it reminds me more of my mom than my Grandma.
One to add to the collection
Dolls were sort of a thing in the 1990s. I had a fair amount of them. My Grandma and Great Aunt Marge would get us a new doll at special occasions like a birthday, Christmas, first communion etc. My sisters each had some too. Our collections got kinda big. I’ve already blogged on one, my first post ever actually. Here’s that one: Why I love the color, yellow. That’s about the first doll I ever received. Guess what color her outfit was?
This particular figurine sat with my doll collection on the shelves in my bedroom for years. It is definitely one of the prettiest.
When I mentioned my mom had a thing with doll eyes, I’m referring to how some people find doll eyes to be sort of creepy. While this figurine isn’t technically a doll, My mom always paid attention to the eyes if she was gonna purchase something. I believe she liked the eyes on this one.
My sister Sarah however, wouldn’t even sleep in the same room with one of the dolls my Grandma had. Those eyes were “creepy,” she’d say. The kind that would almost follow you around the room. No thank you.
A place to hang my wedding earrings.
Years later, my oldest sister Jenny made wedding earrings for me. I hung them on this figurine’s wrist. It was a fun little place to do it and I thought a creative way to display them for me to enjoy. There’s a close up in the slide show as well, but here’s another look:
Guess Daisy was supposed to be married too. See the ring on her left hand? Love the details.
Okay, lastly… I also got a flapper Barbie! I know, right?
Here she is next to the others:
Together it’s quite the cute collection, and I used to display them together like this on a shelf.
My Great Aunt Marge got me the Barbie one for a Christmas gift. It wasn’t one to really play with. I was older anyway at the time. Again, probably near or in high school. But like her sister, my Grandma, she also liked to give gifts that were tied into something I was into at the time. I think she knocked it out of the park picking this one out.
Look at how intricate the fringe on the skirt is with the beading and her delicate nylons:
She came with a fan:
There was a cool matching tassel on the back of her cape-like robe. It was super smooth to run your fingers across, which contrasted the fuzzy fur at the top. Here’s a look:
I remember when I got this my Grandma wanted to play with it and fuss with the doll’s outfit. She’d always love to do that with any of our dolls. She loved to play with them just as much as us, if not more.
I guess these four items remind me of the people who gave each to me, but also the ladies in my life like my mom and sisters. Each represents a slightly different taste, but I really love them all equally. They were all gifts meant to capture a fashion and time period I really connected with while exploring the characters I played, performing on stage. All of this together makes them really special to me.
One woman’s treasure is another woman’s trash.
Which one am I in the scenario? Take a guess.
When I talked to the lady at the flea market a bit more, we connected on the fact that we both had asked ourselves “what are we really going to do with these mini shoes?” Of course she had quite a few more than me. I just had two. She also told me she had asked her granddaughter if she wanted any, and she didn’t. But she probably didn’t have any real memory attached to any of them either. I did, and do. Maybe that’s why you wouldn’t catch mine at a flea market.
She was ready to move on from the mini shoes. I’m not.
Not worth a whole lot I’m sure, but these are… my treasures. The stories I associate with each are priceless to me, and I’m definitely keeping them, right here… together.. like a cute pair of shoes.
Is there a time period you got slightly obsessed with at some point in your life, or maybe you still are? I’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment below.