Hand-me-down Shoes

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, August 7, 1912:Was donated with a pair of shoes. First time since I don’t know when. Ma and I had sort of a scrap this afternoon!

Here’s an ad for shoes in the Milton Evening Standard from May 4, 1911. Maybe the “donated” shoes looked like the ones in the picture. Were they still in style in 1912?

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Poor Grandma, she wants to look stylish and instead gets a pair of hand-me-down shoes.

I bet that her mother didn’t think that she was appropriately appreciative of the donated shoes—and gave her a hard time about it.

Who gave the shoes to Grandma? . . . were they her mother’s old shoes . . . her sister’s shoes. . . or someone else’s? In February, 1912 Grandma mentioned that her Aunt Annie, who was married to a doctor, gave her an old dress. Maybe Aunt Annie also handed down shoes.

11 Responses

  1. My heart goes out to her, as the youngest in my family I always had hand me downs – from family and friends. :(

  2. Funny how sometimes hand-me-downs are like treasures, and other times almost an insult. Our snow gear has been handed down from grandchild to grandchild — greeted with, “Is it my turn to have the red jacket?” “Can’t I wear it one more year?”
    However, other things, o, not so much.

    • You’re right–sometimes they do seem special. I was the oldest child in my family and got very few hand-me-downs, but I can remember a hand-me-down dress that a cousin gave me that I really liked.

  3. I remember all too well, the age of hand-me-down clothes. I could just imagine what some kids today would say to such a thing… I never had hand-me-down shoes… but from what I endured as a child I can just imagine that it must have been very hard for her to wear them. Shoes take on the form of your feet and they might have hurt her feet in wearing them. Clothes were one thing, but shoes? I think I would have made my foot look to big to get into them to keep from wearing them if it had happened to me!

  4. Oh my … hand-me-downs used to be much more common, I think — times have changed! I hope she grew comfortable with the shoes …

  5. Hand me downs used to be a way of life in our family even though I grew up with boys, HA. I know people still do it but it seems kids have just as big a closet as grown ups so nothing really looks worn.

  6. Times have changed! Except for decorative patches, it has been years since I’ve seen a child wearing patched jeans.

  7. Hi Sheryl! I remember many hand-me-downs, some of which I didn’t like. I can understand how she must have felt! I love the shoe add, especially the description along with the prices!

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