SHOELESS

BY RELLE

“Immediately post WW2 for those people living in the country there were more important things than shoes. Shoes were worn for special occasions like attending church or going to the nearest town for the weekly shopping. Coming from a farm my brothers first wore shoes when they commenced High School. Our local Primary school was probably 2kms from home and only a gravel road (built up the hardness of your feet). Unfortunately my Mother expected me to wear shoes, but more often than not they came off as soon as I got to school.

From my elder brother’s notes:-

“Sometimes we had to get the cows in for milking. As we never wore footwear this could be painful on a cold and frosty morning. It was not unusual to stand in fresh warm cow droppings to relieve the chill.”

Part of the ritual on a dairy farm was to dip the cattle (due to a tick problem). This meant having the cows swim through a dip bath which consisted of an arsenic mixture. A man from the Tick Dept would come to supervise.

Again from my brother’s notes:-

“A young heifer turned around in the chute, succeeding to turn her around Tommy stood behind her to push her in. Suddenly she decided to jump and Tommy, having exerted a lot of pressure on her, lost his balance and fell straight in to the dip. However Tommy was also one of those people who rarely wore footwear and had skin on about ½” thick on the soles of his feet. The arsenic in the dip affected his feet and the soles of his feet just peeled off about a month later.”

For myself, prior to my marriage, I decided that I would wear shoes around the house but when I discovered that my mother –in – law never did other than during the Winter. BLISS!

Still only wear shoes on a cold day.”