Memories of Yaz at Payless Shoe Source

photo by Jessica Dofflemyer


I’m in Payless Shoe Source with my 6 year old trying on his first pair of tie shoes.
He doesn’t know how to tie bows yet but I’m hoping these new Converse-style kicks will inspire him.

Jeb pulls the tongue of the shoe out and wrestles with the laces while Erasure’s “Chains of Love” bleeds out over the shoe store sound system.

“…come to me, cover me, hold me, together we’ll break these chains of love…”

The synthesized sounds take me back to 1986, when I was 15, wearing Keds and listening to Yaz. That summer my friend and I met Marcus, the older boy with the long ponytail who chewed Big Red and drove us around in his Audi listening to “Upstairs at Eric’s” at high volume.

Back at Payless Shoes I tie Jeb’s bright white laces and put a thumb to the toe to check for space.

“How do they feel? Do they feel like they fit?”

He nods and smiles.

“…they used to talk about the weather, making plans together, days would last forever…”

I’m 36 now, on my knees in the size 1 aisle listening to Vince Clarke’s keyboards in a whole new context.

“…don’t give up, don’t give up now, together with me and my baby break the chains of love…”

We buy the shoes.

And when we get home – I can’t believe it – Jeb ties them on his first try.

The Corkscrew

I bought a bottle of French wine yesterday for no particular occasion. It only cost $15 but the gesture felt full and (pardon the word) “juicy” in a joie de vivre kind of way.

Bottle in hand, I returned home to an empty house and had exactly one hour before picking up my six year old. I thought to pour myself a glass of wine, let the setting sun cast golden on my velvet couch and do some writing. I’d let the rich, red liquid from a distant land loosen the words from my pencil lead. Maybe my fingers would fly over the keyboard. I would steep in the essence of being a 37 year old woman, alone in the early evening, drinking a glass of wine and writing, feeling sensual and alive. Read more


Jeb discovers the concept of coupons
the free Longs Drugs store booklet is in our post office box
advertising images of electric nose hair trimmers for $7.99
V05 Shampoo
and Hershey bars
are on sale
he’s in the back seat as we drive home
flipping through his book of options
brimming with more enthusiasm than I have heard all week
“even soda!”
“even cereal!”
“this is unbelievable!”

He is in amazement that one can open the mailbox
be gifted a book of consumer goods
and be able to receive these items at reduced rates
by simply presenting a piece of paper

He grasps the concept like an alien that just landed on planet earth
(which at the age of six, he sort of is)
reminding me of all I take for granted
all the coupon books I’ve cursed on their way to the recycle bin
my sadness for the trees lost
to sell a can of Van de Camp baked beans