|This was a large store and a busy one in its time.
During World War II it was still busy and we got
to go there once or twice a month.
Helen Rogers had a car and we would ride with her to town on Saturday nights. Mother would give me 20 cents to go to the picture show. Sometimes she didn’t have extra money so I had to follow her around (in and out of the stores). I got a pair of new shoes once in my life and I got them at the John Smith store.
I had worn second-hand shoes all my life and the ones I had on at that time were too small. For some reason Beverly Fourman didn’t pass on his used shoes that year so mother’s intentions were to buy me a new pair of ‘clod-hoppers’ the black shoes every boy in country school wore. We got in the store and after mother stopped here and there in the sewing department, we ended up in the shoe department.
I looked at the clod-hoppers in brown or black leather, and then I saw a pair of knee-high brown boots that laced up on brass hooks. Knee high? There was a pocket for a small knife on the side—I didn’t have a pocket knife but I wanted those boots. Mother didn’t want to get them but in the end she got them for me.
Later that summer it was too hot to wear knee-high boots so I ended up in need of a new pair of shoes. Mother didn’t have the money for another pair until fall when I went back to school. The only money mother got was from washing and ironing Herb Hamel’s clothes and that was $3.00 a week. I don’t remember how much a pair of shoes cost but mom had to save every spare nickle for a long time to get enough in her purse to buy shoes. That was the summer I went barefoot.