An Oxford Education

I came across them two months after the deadline I had given myself. On the bottom shelf of a cluttered but charming vintage shop they sat in waiting. Gently used Nine West oxfords within my humble price range (a mere $28). Since then they have been my constant companions, taking me from crowded basement concerts to a recent 3 a.m. hospital visit for stitches. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when my boyfriend casually mentioned that it may be time for their retirement that I even considered parting with them. Although he may be right (the inside of the shoes are slowly shedding woodchips and transforming into a sawdust-like texture), I couldn’t possibly trash them without first paying my respects to where we have been together. Instead of providing a sappy list of our ten best moments, I have decided to pay tribute to my once lovely shoe’s casualties. Here then, is a list of events that have led to the unfortunate demise of my oxfords.

January, 2010: On an overnight bus trip to Montreal a can of hairspray exploded in my travel bag, leaving the left shoe a sticky mess which needed to be dissolved under the hotel hairdryer for about 45 minutes. This left permanent scarring in the form of a large dark strip near the outside heel.

March 2010:
Right shoe loses elastic fastener.

May 2010: A race down a flight of stairs to the bathroom at Czehoski’s ends in my roommate tripping both of us to ensure no one’s victory. Laughter ensues, but left shoe’s upper button is severed on impact and lost somewhere between the sink and stall.

June-September 2010: Late nights and rain drenched walking has led to some inner deterioration. When I remove my bare foot, little wood-like pieces stick to my toes.

Reflecting now, it does seem to be my own carelessness and neglect that has brought my beloved oxfords to this point. Perhaps not wearing them to an event where a kiddie pool in the middle of the dance floor is the main attraction, or even going out of my way to slip on socks before leaving the house, could have prevented this premature passing (or at least helped control odour). Despite their now shabby condition, I do still rotate them into my wardrobe, but I think this may be based on purely sentimental reasons; so they sit, in my foyer, waiting to be worn. Though I may gain the courage in the next few weeks to kick them to the curb (in the nicest way possible), I know that they will always be present in memory, as well as many, many photographs, anytime I reflect on the past year.

- Casie Brown

6 thoughts on “An Oxford Education

  1. this is probably moot now, given the current state of your beloveds, but windex does a great job cleaning shoes. just a little bit on a rag (not too wet!) and a few little wipes will get pretty much anything off leather. the key is not to get the leather wet, just light wiping!

  2. I have a pair of my mom’s old shoes – these grey flats with a tie on the side. The inside is so messed up, I have to put insoles in them so the stitching doesn’t get tangled around my feet. The faux-wood looking bits around the edges of the heel are peeling off. The heels themselves are so worn down on the outside edges that when I walk they make this horrible clacking sound because there’s no rubber left. And all of these things because I never bothered to even try to take care of them. Oops.

    But every time I look at them (because I’ll be damned if I get rid of them before the sole actually falls right off) I think, “Now that is one well-loved pair of shoes.”

    Those oxfords are pretty great.

  3. ha! amazing. i thought my converse were bad – that last pic actually grosses me out a little (no offense) while also making me feel like it’s ok to continue to wear my shoes which my toes actually stick out of.

    one of my local thrifts has TWO pairs of these exact shoes in different sizes (neither is close to mine, i tried both pairs on, damn!). i may return to list them on etsy, hmmmm. well, you’ll find a replacement!

  4. Seems they didn’t have a long life… but good one, nonetheless. This is coming from someone who believes duct tape is a perfectly acceptable repair method!

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