We children of the 50s, 60s, and 70s know the unique pleasure of donning a raincoat and a pair of galoshes just to walk to school. We remember slogging along in the snow, wearing oversized rubber shoe covers that made our footprints look three sizes too big. Thinking back on those times, this writer was forced to answer a fundamental question: how did mom know I wasn’t wearing my galoshes?
I and my siblings used to wear our oversized overshoes with religious zeal. But wait, it wasn’t our zeal. We borrowed it from mom and dad. If we could get away with being less than zealous, we jumped at the opportunity. I used to try it every winter. However, I rarely got away with it.
Delivering Newspapers in the Snow
At one point in my childhood career, I had an afternoon newspaper route. I would come home from school, drop my books, and head out to make nearly five dozen stops within a 10-block area. During the winter months, it would take several hours to complete my route.
I was no dummy. I knew the galoshes were slowing me down. I would change into work clothes before I headed out, an outfit that included my favorite sneakers. My galoshes were a temporary diversion. I wore them long enough to get up the street and out of sight of the house. Then off they came. I stuffed them into my newspaper bag and carried on in my sneakers.
I put the galoshes back on as I approached the house. But for some reason, my mother wasn’t fooled. I was barely five steps inside the door before she asked why I hadn’t worn the galoshes on my route. I insist that I had, but she knew otherwise. What, she following me around?
Wet, Dirty Shoes
As a 12-year-old kid with the street smarts of a shelled peanut, I had no idea how my mother knew I wasn’t wearing my galoshes. As a middle-aged adult, I am a lot smarter. I now know that mom could easily see my wet, dirty shoes. She knew that I either took off my galoshes or nature had somehow figured out how to penetrate an eighth of an inch of rubber with nothing more than snow.
I remember insisting that I had worn my galoshes the entire time I was walking around town. I remember telling my mother she could choose to believe me or not, but I wasn’t changing my story. All she could do was shake her head in frustration and warn me that she wasn’t buying another pair of shoes until the start of the next school year. If I ruined the ones I was wearing, I would have to go barefoot.
A Tool Perfect for the Job
I look back on my galoshes from the 70s with a bit of nostalgia. Today’s galoshes are more like overshoes. You can get them from companies like GC Tech, companies that have designed their products to be more streamlined and less clunky. At the end of the day, they are tool perfect for the job at hand.
No matter what you call them, galoshes do a fantastic job of protecting your shoes against snow, rain, etc. Most are still made with rubber, though there are other materials available these days. A good pair offers waterproof protection along with a sole designed to grip wet pavement underneath.
I no longer need my mother to tell me to wear my galoshes. I have learned my lesson. Now I wonder about the grandchildren.