Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Boy and his dog lost in the Toe Zone

My daughter's first pair of school shoes almost made it the whole year. With a minor Velcro replacement, they could have gone the distance in pre-kindergarten. I was pretty attached to those shoes in a holy grail kind of way. The search for athletic-type shoes, that she could fasten herself, lasted for days as we trotted across town late last summer. Do you know how difficult it is to find non-lace athletic shoes that aren't made for a toddler? Throw in the fact that I wanted these shoes to look good with her uniform jumper and skorts. That personal requirement upped the search ante toward Indiana Jonesesque proportions. Alas, in one of those strip-mall shoe stores, I found a solid navy, hipper new, soft-soled mary jane - and discovered an old friend, too. When I took Faith's shoes out of the box at home, I noticed "Buster Brown" written inside the heel. But where was "Buster" and where in the devil had his dog Tige gotten off to? A picture of the pooch and his pal had been in my own pair of school shoes - and on television, too, four decades before. "That's my dog Tige, he lives in a shoe. I'm Buster Brown, look for me in there, too," the commercial would say as the actor froze into place on the shoe's insole. But the familiar logo of my youth has been replaced with the words "Buster Brown with Toe Zone." Some shoemaker somewhere devised a system to measure a child's foot against the base of the shoe. Little markers show you're in the "Toe Zone," and the shoes will fit. Some how I just don't think "Toe Zone" has near the sentimental tug that little Tige had. Can you picture Faith picking up her daughter's shoe and saying, "Oh look, there's "Toe Zone." I'd much rather have a dog living in my shoe, preferably a shoe that lasts all year.
- Liz Fabian

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