space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* From My Window
space
space
Sports Shorts
* DangleFest 3 on 3 Tourney Delights Local Hockey Fans
* WIAA Conference Realignment Task Force Conducts Review of Plans
* Evers Signs Emergency Order Relating To Elevated Fire Risk
* PHS Alumni Scholarship Golf Outing July 16th
* Wisconsin Spring Turkey Season Opens April 21st

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

From My Window

Issue Date: March 17, 2021

Red Ball Sneakers

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

Bare ground has now emerged from the snow cover and it awakens a childhood memory. The appearance of bare dirt got the blood pumping after a winter of heavy clothing and boots, and my mom admonishing us for months in exasperation not to run in the house. Kids cooped up for a long Wisconsin winter and tired of trying to thrash along in deep snow or on slippery ice crave running free again, and those tiny patches of bare dirt were just the thing to scratch that itch.

It was also the cue for us to get sneakers. All winter long we wore boots every time we went out the door; black rubber boots, with fake fur lining that we preserved by putting bread wrappers over our socks before slipping them on. The sneakers from the previous fall were too small, and usually had holes over the big and small toe areas from our fast-growing feet. That meant even getting a sibling's hand-me-downs, a normal strategy, wouldn't work. Spring meant we got a new pair of canvas sneakers, and when we slipped them on, our feet felt so light we couldn't wait to see how fast we could run. (Outside, Mom reminded us.)

And where did we head to test our speed? Right to the bare dirt patches, carefully avoiding puddles and snowpiles enroute.

I recall getting Ked's brand sneakers but Red Ball sneakers were heavily advertised on Saturday morning cartoon shows, so we always hoped for those. The Red Ball shoes were well marketed since the style of the two brands (and all other kid's sneakers) were identical - absolutely flat, thin soles, and no arch support whatsoever. They were blindingly, virginally white - until we wore them once or twice. Then inevitably the first mud spots despoiled them. I wouldn't let Mom wash them in the wash machine because then I couldn't wear them until they were air dried, so I secretly scrubbed the spots off in the bathroom with my toothbrush. Yes, I really did.

One year they debuted navy blue and bright red ones that were not only much more stylish but had the advantage of disguising the dirt. Small sizes had a big rubber toe cover that extended the life of the shoes but was ugly, and I was thrilled when my feet got big enough to get the "big girl" styles without the toe cap. (Those cap ones looked like clown shoes.)

And there was no doubt we were incredibly speedy in those new shoes. I know it was a combination of six month's over-winter physical growth that fueled the increase, added to the normal spring energy I still feel sixty years later. But the lightweight shoes helped a bit too, and that's what we credited for our lightning fast sprints. Red Ball shoes were the fastest of all, in my opinion.

I snooped around on line a bit and found a poster advertising Red Ball Shoes from 1936 so it was a venerable brand even in the late 1950's. You can still buy Red Ball shoes two ways - a modern version, not branded Red Ball, but identical to what I remember. I don't remember what my parents paid but I bet it was less than five dollars. Modern ones of a similar style I bought a few years ago were around $35, and while I love the look and use them for errand running when I am popping in and out of a car frequently; the absolutely flat insoles are brutal for extensive walking, not a problem I remember having when I was eight.

But you can also buy real Red Balls on line through vintage sites. "Deadstock" has a pair of 1950-ish girl's Red Balls with original box, big rubber toe cap with red and white polka dot canvas in a kid's size 11 - and they are really cute. They should be for $238. And a pair of 1960 men's high top Red Ball Jets sneakers, unworn in the box with the tissue paper offered at $475.

Sadly, I don't have any of my childhood sneakers left because by the time I outgrew them they were totally trashed. And I won't be buying any vintage ones, because no shoes on earth would make this body go as fast as it did back in 1962. But it would be fair to say I have a spring in my step now that our snow is in full retreat, and I can go outside in my grown-up tennis shoes. And I am treasuring the memory of a time when the most exciting thing to a kid my age would be to be able to go outside and play without the ritual of socks, bread wrappers and boots first!

BOOK: just finished "Sediments In Time," an autobiography by Meave Leaky, one of the famous Leaky paleoanthropology family. Her description of her scientific work is interesting, but her story of her life as a pioneering woman scientist is what I enjoyed the most, raising her kids without running water, working and living in a hellishly hot desert camp in Africa.

Happy St. Pat's day to those of Irish descent, and those who wish they were!

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
04-07-2021Front Page
Tim Geltz Is Hero Who Saved Drowning Man

04-07-2021Front Page
Republican Elijah Behnke Wins The 89th District Assembly Seat

04-07-2021Front Page
Numerous New Faces On Local Governing Boards

04-07-2021Front Page
Referendums Fail In Peshtigo, Pass For Lena School District

04-07-2021Front Page
Criminal Interdiction Operation by Oconto Co. Sheriff Department

04-07-2021Community - Coleman
Coleman Board To View Audit May 12th

04-07-2021Community - Coleman
Coleman W&S Utility To View Phosphorus Issue

04-07-2021Community - Coleman
Reunion for Classes 1943-65

04-07-2021Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Auxiliary Minutes for March Meet

04-07-2021Community - Crivitz
LNRB Meets On April 14th

04-07-2021Community - Crivitz
Country Gospel Jam April 16th

04-07-2021Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Monday, April 12th

04-07-2021Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Monday, April 12th

04-07-2021Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Legion to Meet April 20th

04-07-2021Sports
DangleFest 3 on 3 Tourney Delights Local Hockey Fans

04-07-2021Sports
WIAA Conference Realignment Task Force Conducts Review of Plans

04-07-2021Sports
Evers Signs Emergency Order Relating To Elevated Fire Risk

04-07-2021Sports
PHS Alumni Scholarship Golf Outing July 16th

04-07-2021Sports
Wisconsin Spring Turkey Season Opens April 21st

04-07-2021Perspectives
From My Window

04-07-2021Perspectives
From Our Readers...

04-07-2021Perspectives
Country Cousin

04-07-2021Obituaries
Kathleen A. Allen

04-07-2021Obituaries
Arlene E. Berggren

04-07-2021Obituaries
Bernadine Borkovec

04-07-2021Obituaries
Dwayne Brendemihl

04-07-2021Obituaries
William D. Butterfield Jr.

04-07-2021Obituaries
Marvin L. Davidson, Sr.

04-07-2021Obituaries
Stephen L. Duenweg

04-07-2021Obituaries
Deborah L. Gamelin

04-07-2021Obituaries
Robert J. Johnson

04-07-2021Obituaries
Harold E. Larsen

04-07-2021Obituaries
Michael J. Madden

04-07-2021Obituaries
Robert Nordquist

04-07-2021Obituaries
Robert J. Picard

04-07-2021Obituaries
Susan Presti

04-07-2021Obituaries
Linda L. Schultz

04-07-2021Obituaries
Richard C. Steinhaus, Sr.

04-07-2021Obituaries
William J. Swanson

04-07-2021Obituaries
Robert T. Wickham

03-31-2021Front Page


03-31-2021Front Page
Brick Tiles Still Available For Fish Viewing Platform

03-31-2021Front Page
Oginski Honored For Life Saving Actions

03-31-2021Front Page
Sentinel Structures Stops Production on March 31

03-31-2021Front Page
City, Town, Village Electors Go To the Polls On April 6th

03-31-2021Front Page
Dog Park Plan Change Gets Committee Okay

03-31-2021Front Page
Mudbrook Road Site Rejected For Placement Of Sex Offender

03-31-2021Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Hires New Officer, Makes 4th of July Plans

03-31-2021Community - Coleman
Lena Staff Held Spaghetti Supper

03-31-2021Community - Coleman
Lena Pathfinders Hold Food Drive

03-31-2021Community - Coleman
Coleman School Cancels Reunion for Classes 1943-65

03-31-2021Community - Coleman
Coleman Library To Meet April 12

03-31-2021Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Business Association Names Persons of the Year

03-31-2021Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Monday, April 12th

03-31-2021Community - Wausaukee
Legion Post 66 to Elect Officers Apr. 3

03-31-2021Community - Wausaukee
Easter Egg Hunt Set for April 3

03-31-2021Sports
Area Basketball

03-31-2021Sports
Tony Strublic Wins Tom Lund Match Game Championship

03-31-2021Sports
DNR Adopts DHS Recommended Hazard Index Of Certain PFAS

03-31-2021Sports
40,000 Acres Of Private Land Will Open To Turkey Hunters

03-31-2021Sports
Reminder: Wildfire Season Underway

03-31-2021Perspectives
From My Window

03-31-2021Perspectives
Country Cousin

03-31-2021Perspectives
From Our Readers

03-31-2021Obituaries
Juliana Bolosan

03-31-2021Obituaries
Marie L. Belongia

03-31-2021Obituaries
Donald J. Barstow

03-31-2021Obituaries
Clark G. Casperson

03-31-2021Obituaries
Warren R. Gamelin

03-31-2021Obituaries
Richard G. Hass

03-31-2021Obituaries
Louise E. Hohol

03-31-2021Obituaries
Robert B. Radzinski

03-31-2021Obituaries
Wallace J. Reed Jr.

03-31-2021Obituaries
Arnold A. Spaude

03-31-2021Obituaries
Mary L. Thibodeau

03-31-2021Obituaries
Mary A. Woodky

03-24-2021Front Page


03-24-2021Front Page
Set New Motions Hearing In McClintock Murder Case

03-24-2021Front Page
City of Peshtigo To Begin Selling Sesquicentennial Coins, Tickets

03-24-2021Front Page
County Board To Consider Sex Offenders House

03-24-2021Front Page
Malke Working With USDA/FDA On PFAS Remediation Grants

03-24-2021Front Page
Peshtigo May Get Additional $330,000 In Federal Funds

03-24-2021Community - Coleman
Coleman School Cancels Reunion for Classes 1943-65

03-24-2021Community - Coleman
Egg Hunt at Equity Mar. 28

03-24-2021Community - Coleman
Lena Pathfinders To Hold Rummage Sale April 9 & 11

03-24-2021Community - Coleman
Lena School To Hold Summer School, Prom

03-24-2021Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Woman's Club Hosts "Girls Night Out"

03-24-2021Community - Wausaukee
Lakeside Bar, Grill Has New Owners

03-24-2021Community - Wausaukee
Silver Cliff Blood Drive Nets 31 Pints

03-24-2021Community - Wausaukee
Victoria Mueller Seeks Wausaukee Supervisor 2

03-24-2021Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Lions Flower Sale Underway

03-24-2021Sports
Area Basketball - Menominee Boys Bag Double Win Week; Maroon Girls Undefeated

03-24-2021Sports
Fire Danger Expected to Remain High in Wisconsin

03-24-2021Sports
2021 Deer Season Planning Meetings March 22-April 1

03-24-2021Sports
PHS Alumni Scholarship Golf Outing July 16th

03-24-2021Sports
WIAA Alternative Fall Season Culminating Events Planned

03-24-2021Perspectives
From Our Readers

03-24-2021Perspectives
From My Window

03-24-2021Perspectives
Country Cousin

03-24-2021Obituaries
Manfred Blum

03-24-2021Obituaries
Carleton P. DeWitt

03-24-2021Obituaries
Richard J. Gehling

03-24-2021Obituaries
Jeffrey J. Johnson

03-24-2021Obituaries
Elaine J. Kulinski

03-24-2021Obituaries
Glenn C. Lauzer, Jr.

03-24-2021Obituaries
Edwina Lepianka

03-24-2021Obituaries
Judith R. Malek

03-24-2021Obituaries
Irene Martin

03-24-2021Obituaries
Willard H. Paul

03-24-2021Obituaries
Terry L. Richardson

03-24-2021Obituaries
Martin G. Senn

03-24-2021Obituaries
Wyma Sudduth

03-17-2021Front Page
Ice Shoves

03-17-2021Front Page
Town Of Middle Inlet Okays Fire Department Dive Team

03-17-2021Front Page
Sell Maple Lane Apartments, Donate Proceeds To Village

03-17-2021Front Page
Performance Services Inc. Updates Peshtigo Board

03-17-2021Front Page
Town of Peshtigo Hears Water Flow Concerns

03-17-2021Community - Coleman
7th Annual Equity Park Craft, Vendor Fair June 19

03-17-2021Community - Coleman
Egg Hunt at Equity Mar. 28

03-17-2021Community - Coleman
Group Plans June 26 Car Show In Pound

03-17-2021Community - Crivitz
Dollar General Open in Crivitz

03-17-2021Community - Wausaukee
Engelmann Named Town Highway Superintendent

03-17-2021Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Lions Flower Sale Underway

03-17-2021Community - Wausaukee
Easter Egg Hunt Set for April 3

03-17-2021Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Book for Sale Starting May 1

03-17-2021Obituaries
Joan Boye

03-17-2021Obituaries
James C. Deetjen

03-17-2021Obituaries
Arlene L. Ebsch

03-17-2021Obituaries
Eugene S. Magera

03-17-2021Obituaries
Diana Pazdera

03-17-2021Obituaries
Robert P Schneider  

03-17-2021Obituaries
Elaine M. Schwartz

03-17-2021Obituaries
Annette A. Tonn

03-17-2021Obituaries
Joseph A. Tudryn

03-17-2021Perspectives
Country Cousin

03-17-2021Perspectives
From My Window

03-17-2021Perspectives
From our readers

03-17-2021Sports
Maroon Girls Beat Redettes, Boys Take Down Stephenson

03-17-2021Sports
PHS Alumni Scholarship Golf Outing July 16th

03-10-2021Front Page
Trauma Kits

03-10-2021Front Page
Mayor Urges "Yes" Vote On Peshtigo Referendum

03-10-2021Front Page
Steve Walters Seated On Riverside Cemetery Board

03-10-2021Front Page
Coleman High School Returns To Full Time Classes April 5

03-10-2021Front Page
Lena Has 30 Applicants To Replace Principal Torzala

03-10-2021Community - Crivitz
Middle Inlet Firefighters May Add Dive Team

03-10-2021Community - Crivitz
Crivitz American Legion Gun Show March 13th

03-10-2021Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Auxiliary to Meet March 17

03-10-2021Community - Coleman
Lena High School Lists 1st Semester Honor Roll

03-10-2021Community - Coleman
Lena Middle School 1st Semester Honor Roll Listed

03-10-2021Community - Coleman
Kerr on Dean's List at Mount Mary University


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Have you had your Covid-19 Vaccine yet?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2021
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites