Forest City Courier, Nov. 5, 1940
One of my most prized possessions is a picture, done in water color and given me by an artist friend and neighbor when have known for any years. The title is “Little Shoes” and carries this little verse.
O little shoes with the scuffed up toes,
They look so small in his father’s hand,
Weren’t you proud and big and grand
When you started this morning for
Pictured is a pair of little boy’s shoes, worn at the toes, the laces hanging wearily, showing the signs of wear that comes from the numerous steps that a little boy takes during his play hours in the course of a day. Above the verse is a beautifully painted picture depicting the boyish dreams of the owner of the shoes. In reality he was starting out to play with his kite under his arm but in his dreams he was ridings away on a charger with his shield and helmet to conquer. Ahead, rises the tall towers of many castles. For a few minutes you see yourself in the thrilling adventures of the tales of Arabian Knights. Then you look again at the boy within the boundary of his own front yard, with uplifted eager, looking with dreamy eyes into this picture of his boyish ambition. I realize again that this friend of mine has an unusual artistic talent which is an asset of incomparable value. She not only finds pleasure and joy in her art, but has an interesting hobby of collecting shoes make of china, glass, pottery etc. On a visit to her home the other day I had an opportunity to see and admire at my leisure her wonderful collection, which numbers 135 different kinds, thirty-six of which are authentic antiques and have interesting histories. Some come from foreign countries, and others come from different states. These shoes, slippers and boots are of glass, china, shale, pottery, wood, leather etc. and are very colorful in ambers, blues, pinks, greens, amethyst and dull metals. Among the antiques is a large brass COCCOMBA (meaning stirrup) from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Judging from history, it is probably 400 years old. One slipper that caught my eye was made of U.S. national greenbacks redeemed and macerated at the S. Treasury. There is an estimated. $3,000.00 macerated in this slipper manufactured at 715 4th.St. N.W. Washington, DC. There is a lovely large pink old china slipper with the soldier’s monument, Winsted, Conn. pictured on it.
Near it was a small replica of a pair of gold plated boots with boot jack attached. This piece is very, old. One molasses colored piece was man’s shoe made of old china with real shoe lace. This is on heir loom, 200 years old. There are shoes of glazed pottery made by the Cherokee Indians of western North Carolina. Most unusual was a wooden “brogan” shoe of ancient pattern carved from wood and designed for brass toe caps, and complete even to the lace and wooden pegs in the sole. One of the most realistic was an eighteenth century china shoe molded in lines showing wear and tear, with run over heel, and hole in toe, reminiscent of the farmer boy’s work shoe. There were baby shoes, some pink, some white, all very old and made by the eighteenth and nineteenth century class and china manufacturers. Perhaps the most beautiful in the whole collection is the Dresden china slippers, nine inches long and six inches high with its spray of hand-blown pink and blue flowers, perfect as to petals and calyx. Two cherubs are perched on the rim as if listening, to unseen music. Then there are shoes and slippers of blue milk glass, Delft china, early American clear glass, amber and amethyst glass. In these colorful bits of glass, china metal and pottery, we see the patterns of beauty and craftsmanship as conceived and fashioned by those early manufacturers. There is no comparison in beauty to modern pieces as to clearness of color and beauty of design to those hand-blown pieces of our grandmother’s day.
Before I terminated my enjoyable visit in my friend’s home I looked over another attractive collection composed of musical figurines of legendary subject, owned and collected by the daughter in the home, who is a talented musician. These were displayed in a very appropriate place, on the piano. One especially beautiful figurine is made of Dresden china of a boy representing a lute player. It is imported, real old and is twelve inches high. One pleasing group is a complete orchestra, each with a different instrument grouped about the piano player. A colorful piece is a boy dressed in blue and holding a violin. Another is a bronze bust of a mandolin player. As I walked home I reflected over the pleasure this mother and daughter gain from their talents, painting and music, which, in my estimation are the purest of the fine arts.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.