A Squeaky Shoe

About two years ago I bought an expensive pair of shoes that the manufacturer claimed were popular with postmen. They’ve been excellent shoes, lasting so long that the right one has developed a squeak. But I only hear it when I’m in the hallway at home. The sound takes me back to my childhood.

A few months after World War II was over my mother and I moved to Southern California. I went into the second grade and Mom went to work at Woolworth’s Five and Dime, cutting roll-up window shades for customers. After school, rather than going to an empty home, she enrolled me in the Boy’s Club, and she would stop by for on her way home. Some evenings if nothing at the Boy’s Club interested me I went to Woolworth’s and waited.

There were no security cameras in those days. Management depended on people to keep an eye on things. Those hired for that purpose were called floor-walkers. One floor-walker had a squeaky shoe. It squeaked loud enough to alert me when I was playing with the toys, and I was able to get squared away.