Friday, December 18, 2009

The boots that kept on giving

All this thinking about Christmases past brought yet another memory to my mind—several, in fact. I started to recall certain gifts I'd received that stood out for some reason or another: one year it was a Ballerina Barbie, another it was a fuzzy musical bear that was presented to me early because I was deathly ill over the entire Christmas holiday (I still have the bear), and yet another Christmas it was a ski vest of sorts that I immediately wore ice skating, that very day, on the frozen creek across the road from my childhood home.

But the most memorable gift was one that kept on giving, months and even years after it had been received. The oddest thing is that the gift was not even given to me. It was given to my sister, L.

L. was older than me, was becoming more fashion- and trend-conscious, and had been pining for what were called "moon boots." (Do you remember them, too? They were bigger, awkward, early versions of the sleeker styles seen now. And remember, this was back in the day when giant, plodding boots were uncommon on young girls.) Moon boots were huge, thick, nearly-knee-high padded footwear; they truly resembled the giant barges that our own moon explorers sported as they tripped the light fantastic across the surface of that cheesy orb. Sis L. really wanted some of those boots. I do believe they were the top item on her Christmas list.

Happily, she received the yearned-for moon boots. Lo and behold, she unwrapped them on that shining morning; they were incredibly bulky and electric blue. I think they might have sported some sort of thick stripe on them? The details elude me now; it's been too many years.

Now, I was the youngest kid in my family. And my feet were smaller than my sister's. But, just as my son loves to clomp around in my Bean Gum Boots, I occasionally would slip on the moon boots for just a few minutes. To go feed the cats and dogs outside, perhaps. To toss grain or hay to the ponies. To shovel a quick path out the back door. Each time a chore loomed, there were those crazy blue boots, so ready, so available. I even wore them a couple of times to go out for lengths of time. We all did. I am pretty certain my mom fed the birds in them, and I have a vague recollection that perhaps my dad even slipped them on one time? We all marveled at the boots, which weighed practically nothing but were so warm you could wear them without socks and still not have cold feet. They were universally pulled on and into use...and they were universally appreciated.

I cannot recall whatever happened to the beloved boots. I know that we adored them so much, they eventually began to break down a bit. But it was long after they'd met countless outdoor feet needs for pretty much the entire family. They were every bit as ugly as today's stumbly, clumsy Crocs and knockoffs—and they were every bit as delightful, too.

A strangely fond memory of an unlikely subject—but there it is.


Anonymous said...

You may or may not be surprised to find....I still have them!! They are in the closet right now, I went to check the color stripe, they have red,yellow , and blue stripes, but the "vinyl" wore off the stripe. I rarely wear them but just couldnt part with them. AND they still are incredibly warm. :)

Athelas63 said...

YES I remember those ridiculous boots! I think they show up in several winter family photos, too. Hilarious.

Mel said...

Anon/L, I cannot BELIEVE you still have them.

And yet, I can.

Athelas, you wore them too, yes?

Whatever they cost back in the day, I have to believe it was well worth it.

rs said...

We loved our moon boots! Ours were electric blue with at least 2 pounds of comfy warm padding in each boot. We'd walk through the heavy snow in the woods of Philadelphia for hours and still have toasty feet. Does anyone know if they are still being made?

Mel said...

rs, if I knew where to find those amazingly toasty originals, I'd probably already own a pair! they rock. I've seen only feeble imitations since then, and most of them were far too fashion-minded to be as practical as the originals. let me know if you see them anywhere! : )

rs said...

Mel, I searched for "moon boots" and did find several companies online that had them. Zappo's Technica boots seem closest to the originals, so I ordered a pair in PURPLE! They have an addition--a thin snowshoe grid on the sole. I don't know yet how they'll be in the snow. In the 70's we paid $25 for them at the Englishtown NJ fleamarket; I just paid $134 at Zappo's.

Mel said...

rs, thanks for the tip--hmmm, that new improved sole sounds quite intriguing. intriguing enough for me to shell out $134?! not likely. I hope they are really fantastic boots! they ought to be!!!