Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shoes that tell a story

Tuesday on the bus my phone rings. It's my dad...

You on your way home from work?

Me: Yep.

Dad: So you know Honest Ed's is up for sale?

Me: Yep.

Dad: Remember my dress shoes? 

(My interest piques as I now know where he's going with this conversation): Of course dad, they're legendary.

Dad: Do you think anyone in the papers wants to know about my shoes?

(That's how my dad talks, every noun has a "the" in front of it for emphasis: the cancer, the papers, the television, the flood, the gas prices, the arthritis, etc.)

Me: How about Breakfast Television? 

Dad: Yeah, yeah! Or how about the Twitter and your GO train site? You should put it on your site!

Me: Dad... how about Twitter? Let's start with Twitter.

Dad: But you'll write about them on your site, too, right?

We started with Twitter.

So what's the story you ask?

In the mid-sixties my dad had very little money having just moved to Ontario from New Brunswick in search of work and a chance at prosperity. He grew up poor and Honest Ed's was a place that fit his budget. He shopped there every Friday night for food, household items and clothing. He worked odd jobs, met my mom and they began dating. For their first official date, he felt he needed to look a little dapper. One item he didn't own were dress shoes. Honest Ed's, in his opinion, was the ideal place to visit. He bought his only pair of dress shoes that he still wears to this day.

A reporter from the Globe and Mail reached out to me via Twitter and asked if my dad would come down to Honest Ed's wearing the shoes as she was working on a story about what Honest Ed's meant to people.

My dad was happy to oblige. The story is supposed to run Sunday.

Below is a now and then of the shoes. The photo on the right is from a digital scrapbook I designed and produced for my mother's 60th birthday. Mom and dad were part of a wedding which is one of the many formal events over the past 45 years where dad wore the shoes.

I promised my dad I would put the photo up on the site.

Yep, this story has absolutely nothing to do with commuting but I'm pretty sure at some point in time, someone rode a GO train to get to Honest Ed's for a free turkey.


FRED said...

Your parents sound awesome. Can't wait to read the story in the paper.

Anonymous said...

Your dad, from what I remember, has been pushing Honest Ed's forever.

Why did you buy wash cloths from the Bay? You can buy 20 from Honest Ed's for a $1 and they'll last you 30 years!

Classic advice from a classy man.

Unknown said...

Your dad sounds like an awesome person. No wonder you turned out so nice CJ. Better than 99% of the idiots on GO.
Tell your dad, he can probably be buried in those shoes. LOL
I'm hoping Honest Ed's isn't sold to asians or a dollar store type place, as they would just ruin it.
Here's hoping it's sold to someone who knows the true love that Ed put into that store, and continues to pour their love into Honest Ed's for another half century ... or more.

C.J. Smith said...

My parents are very special to me. I'm glad I have them.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean, sold to Asians??? Please explain.

TomW said...

Danmit, I wish my dress shoes would last 50 years... I get two years, max, out of a pair.

April said...

@Allan terribly inappropriate comment.

Honest Eds and the entire Mirvish Village are being sold for redevelopment.

Lori said...

Very nice story CJ, your dad must really take care of his belongings for those shoes to last this long.

I just hope whomever buys it doesn't tear it down to build condos, I am sick of condos. Too expensive and they are isolated so you can't walk anywhere near them unless you own one or are visiting someone who does. Plus, the infrastructure around them needs to be upgraded first.

C.J. Smith said...

Considering they were worn for 25 times or so, it's not that surprising. Dad isn't one for dressing up. Once he got married, he settled into more casual shoes!

Anonymous said...

Awesome story CJ. Practicality and frugality - something we don't see much of these days. Bet your dad influenced your perspective on etiquette and respect for others. Think we could convince him to wear them on the GO for a pic with his feet up on the seat? Priceless!