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Archive for the ‘Colorful Characters’ Category

Suppose it is World War II and the government has just instituted shoe rationing. Furthermore, suppose that you are a lawyer in Texas and a bit of a publicity hound, and you really don’t like wearing shoes all that much anyways.

So, what do you do?

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Back in the 1920s there was a High School football team in Lynchburg, VA that went undefeated for 8 years.

And oh yeah. They played barefooted.

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So, do you shovel your snow barefooted? Think it’s all the rage?

Nah, you’re just late to the party.

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Our most colorful character for today is Renato Alvarado Renato, also known as “Machi”, and by “colorful” I mean “interesting” and “impressive”.

Where do I even begin?

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While bare feet were undoubtedly more popular in the past (at least here in the U.S.), they were still a rarity. In fact, they were enough of a rarity that adults who regularly went barefoot out and about had some degree of notoriety. And that meant the media wrote about them. Hence my series: Colorful Characters.

Today’s colorful character is Billy Barber.

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You know how some people just keep having more boys while trying to have a little girl?

Well, meet the Harrisons from Johnson City, Tennessee, when they took a visit to New York City. Thirteen barefoot boys.

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Back in June, fellow barefooter Alan Bruens was profiled in the Advertiser-News (North). He’s now moved on to bigger and better things: New Jersey Monthly Magazine.

In addition to being a nice article, this one has a killer caricature of Alan

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Usually my Colorful Characters are real barefooters, either living or historical. This time he’s a real character, as in cartoon character (or whatever you call an animated character who only appears on commercials).

It’s Jean LaFoote, the barefooted pirate and arch-nemesis of Cap’n Crunch.

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Newark, Ohio, has its own historical barefooter, John Sparks. In fact, he is “historical” enough to have his very own historical marker:

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Would you give a kidney to somebody you barely knew?

Well, that’s what barefooter Adam Hrankowski did.

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Colorful Characters: William S. Hamilton

William S. Hamilton was one of Alexander Hamilton’s sons. I don’t think he was a barefooter, but he didn’t have qualms about going barefoot when it made sense.

He’s mentioned in an article in an 1866 Harpers New Monthly Magazine related to the time he spent working at lead mining in southwest Wisconsin.

Here’s what it says:

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Our colorful character for today is Charlie Haase, from Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin.

He operated a restaurant there, “Barefoot Charlie’s”, for many, many years.

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Elias Lönnrot was a Finnish doctor. However, he is best known for collecting Finnish folk tales during the mid-1800s and producing the Kalevala. The Kalevala is considered the national epic of Finland (kind of like the Sagas of Iceland).

So, why would I include Lönnrot here?

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This time our colorful character is Lawrence Washington, a blood-relative of George Washington.

The story comes to us from the February 23, 1908 issue of the New York Times.

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Here’s a story from the summer of 1943.

It was apparantly quite popular as filler since it was picked up by quite a few newspapers at the time.

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