During the 1950s and 1960s there seemed to be a lot of reminiscences of the pleasures of growing up barefoot.
Here is yet another one, this one from 1955.
For this one, the name of the writer is William Lamale, who had an opinion column in a Bridgeport, CT newspaper.
Someone should make a survey to find what percentage of the population goes barefoot in the Summer. Maybe there is a trend back to nature.
On a bright afternoon in May, I saw a woman in Easton walk barefooted across the road to her mailbox. In Long Hill, I spotted a housewife putting out her wash without benefit of shoes. Finally, in Seaside Park, I noticed three coeds sitting on the turf, studying barefoot, ant displaying painted toenails.
And, of course, as days get warmer and longer, youngsters in the suburbs are being liberated from the leather.
Looking at them makes me aware of hot, oppressive shoes and unyielding sidewalks, and I envy the barefooted ones who step in deep grass.
Some of the happiest hours I can recall were spent barefoot. Going without shoes seems to be the privilege of the young and carefree. Those who grew up without ever going barefoot outdoors have missed an elemental-pleasure.
Living in crowded neighborhoods where play areas are surfaced with brick, macadam or gravel and sometimes sprinkled with broken glass, makes going shoeless not only impractical but hazardous.
But, as long as there are wide lawns, spacious back yards, woods, and paths by streams, boys will go barefoot.
The shoeless condition always will be in vogue with the freckle-faced set on fishing trips and hikes to swimming holes.
As nearly as I can recall, my own barefoot days began shortly after school was out for the Summer, probably on the first warm day in June.
Feet bound up in hi-top boots all Winter and turned over to the relative comfort of canvas sneakers in the Spring, fairly itched for the feel of the earth.
What a sensation of freedom to kick off scuffed footwear, peel off clinging socks and race outdoors!
Oh, those feet were tender at first, sensitive to pebbles and every unevenness in the ground, but how quickly they toughened in the air and sunlight!
In a few days they’d be deeply tanned, and the soles grass-stained and leathery. Below the pants legs, they’d be all dust and dirt and caked along the instep with mud, tar and even less desirable refuse from the streets and open field.
Going barefooted was tremendously convenient. “n the morning you’d tumble out of bed, pull on your faded blue denims with the more or less permanently rolled-up cuffs, and be off to play. When it came to shinnying up trees, bare feet provided the surest grip. The shoeless foot also allowed one to run faster and silently, as in games of hide-and-seek. Going barefoot, too, enabled one to wade with impunity through mud puddles left by summer showers.
And it saved the annoyance of taking off one’s shops to shake out pebbles and grit that always got inside during play.
There wasn’t much you could do in shoes that you couldn’t do without, and there were more things you could do without shoos than with them.
Naturally, you’d avoid taking short cuts through lots where there was Canadian thistle,
But, of course, every now and then one would suffer a stubbed toe or cut on the sole of the foot and around limping painfully and wearing a bandage, for a day or two.
At night, before bedtime, the barefoot cultist ran into a familiar and distasteful problem, scrubbing his pedal nakedness. “Get those heels clean this time,” was the advice shouted from the kitchen, as he sat soaking his feet in an enameled basin full of warm,, sudsy water. “I want to have a look at those feet before you go to bed.”
On Sunday mornings the barefoot fan would reluctantly pull on his stocking and force his feet into stiffly disciplining shoe leather for an appearance in church.
But on Monday morning you’d find his feet in the natural state again, shoes and socks shoved with relief under the bed.
I can’t recall a much pleasanter sensation of those days than squishng mud between my toes, or walking through grass with the dew still on it.