My precious Doc Martens were recently resurrected – rescued from certain banishment to the trash bin by the wizardry of a local cobbler. With new soles and laces, and a good polish, mama has some new old shoes.
I include these in the object category as they are things of mine with meaning beyond their utility and appearance. I purchased these shoes in London in 1994, from a grubby little stall in Camden Lock Market (or it may have been Portobello Road – it was a long time ago). Whenever I wear them, which happens often, I remember their purchase and have a few moments reverie about that trip.
It was my first trip to Europe – I had 4 weeks there, most of which was spent in England, and several days in London. In London, I was a total tourist, visiting museums and attractions and shopping like mad. When I saw the stall, I immediately knew that Doc Martens from London would be a great souvenir. I wore them proudly (if a little painfully) for the rest of the trip, and very comfortably for much of the following 20 years.
Last year, I noticed they were a somewhat shabby – a bit like that London stall they came from – and the famous soles were worn nearly through. I kept them, but rarely wore them any more. A few months ago, in a semi annual review-and-purge of my closet, I realized that several pairs of old favourites were a bit tired. I remembered a colleague recommended a cobbler near to work so I gathered up all the pairs in need of a pick-me-up and dropped them off one morning. The initial outlay was not cheap, but I figured I could save several times that, as well as be environmentally friendly by reusing something old.
The Docs were the biggest return on investment. While not exactly new, they are certainly refurbished, and after wearing them all day today I can attest that they are as comfortable as, well, old shoes. And with the added bonus of reminiscence with each wearing, the fond remembrance of younger days and the adventures in London, they remain a fun pair of objects. When I put them on, suddenly everything seems right.