Saturday, June 4, 2011

Grannie and the Gogo Boots

I've really struggled with this post for weeks now. For all of the potential material that I could pull from I simply couldn't find the words. My grandmother Anna Mae Pilling, AKA Grannie Annie, passed away a few weeks ago. This was one fall that she wouldn't be able to recover from.

I've written and rewritten pieces but nothing seemed to feel right. How could I wrap up a life like Grannie Annie's with just a blog post? It just wasn't happening. That was until this morning. 

One of our sons was watching one of the Austin Powers movies on tv this morning. The retro scene blasted me back to when Grannie bought me boots. Not just any boots but shiny, red gogo boots. When I told my son that Grannie bought me gogo boots he kind of laughed. I'm not sure if he was laughing at the picture of me wearing gogo boots or the fact that Grannie was the one to buy them for me. 

All of a sudden I remembered the story my Grandmother had told hundreds of times about the boots that she always wanted as a girl. She called them "flappers". They called them flappers because they had buckles instead of laces. The cool girls wore the boots with the buckles unclasped, which would make a flapping sound as they walked. Flappers. Oh how my Grandmother wanted those boots. 

One bitter cold night there was an awful fire that destroyed my grandmother's family home and the entire contents. My Grandmother had recently admitted that she was secretly wishing that when her boots were replaced that she would get some "flappers" since she hated the lace ups so. She told my son that instead of "flappers" her Grandmother bought her another pair of lace ups, which by her recollection were uglier than the first pair she had. 

My mind flashed back to my own younger days to the shoe department of JC Penney where my Grandmother was supposed to be buying me shoes to wear with my uniform. While passing through my face lit up at the sight of the red gogo boots. I picked up a pair, just to feel them. I never really thought that I'd own a pair. These were the wrinkly shiny kind too. Oh how I loved the look of those boots. 

I don't even remember there being any pleading on my part to get the boots. Grannie simply asked me if I liked them. I must have looked like I was holding gold because she had me try them on. I remember a bit of hesitation...eeeeeee! So I tried them on and they fit like they had been stitched specifically for my feet. I looked up at her in sheer delight. She asked me if I wanted them. Heck yeah I wanted them! So that was it. The purchase was made and I became the proud owner of shiny, red gogo boots. 

When we got home my mother questioned the purchase of the shiny, red gogo boots. My Grandmother simply told my mother, "She liked them." 

They may not have been "flappers" but to Grannie they might as well have been. I loved those boots. I'm not even sure how many times I got to wear them since they weren't something that I'd wear to Sunday Mass or to school. I felt special in my shiny, red gogo boots. I sure feel special now that I've put the "flapper and gogo boot" connection together. 

I love my Grannie and miss her more each day that passes. I could just go on and on about how many things she taught me. No doubt she'll make an appearance in the blog again. I think she'd be pleased to remember the red gogo boots story. I can picture her in her flappers right now. 


  1. What a great post!

    I'm so sorry for your loss, Amy.

  2. Amy, I have a grandma like that. Yes, still have her, at 96! I know you'll miss her terribly, but as evidenced by your heartfelt post here, you've got some wonderful, tender, funny memories that you'll have forever. *hugs*

  3. So much sage advice that a 96 year old can pass on! I hope your grandma is well.


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