Lynne d Johnson



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06.15.02 11:16 PM

kick's obsession

I have a sneaker fetish. It probably began in the 70s when my parents bought me my first pair of Pro Keds. They let me pick out my own pair, and for some reason I chose purple. You see, prior to the Keds, I was wearing rejects and sneakers of the Thom McCann variety, so I wanted my sneakers to be special. To stand out in some way. Ever since then, it seems I've been trying to do the same thing. Now mind you, I prefer to wear heels. At least I used to. A bit of a Napolean complex to blame for that.

I remember that after the purple Pro Keds, I got a royal blue suede pair of 69ers. Those were like super Pro Keds. Can't remember many other sneakers until my teen years, because around that time I was also allowed to start wearing pumps. And trust, I got a pair in almost every color imaginable. But this session is about sneakers, so let me stop digressing. Hmm...the next pair of interesting sneakers I remember were a pair of light gray suede pumas with a green swoosh. Yeah, I know swooshes are for Nikes. I think everyone else was rocking the green suede Pumas with the white form stripe then. I also remember in the 80s when everyone else was buying the shell toe Adidas, I instead got a soft toe white pair with a white suede tip at the toe and white suede stripes. I then got into Stan Smiths after that (the back of the shoe and lettering were green then), and at the time they really weren't cool shoes in the 'hood. Why would they be, they're tennis shoes.

The thing that was interesting about shopping for sneakers in the Bronx during my teen years was that we used to take the train all the way from the tip of the North East section of the Bronx to Simpson St. and Freeman St. in the South Bronx. That was where you could buy your sneakers, and Jordache and Sassoon Jeans. Now let me get to the interesting part. We used to call every store in that section, or at least two of them, Jew Man. Now this is meant as no offense to anyone, but I suppose the proprietors were Jewish. But the thing was if something cost $35 and you only had $30, you could do what we call in New York, Jew them down, to $30. Again, no offense meant. It was cool to come back to the block and ask someone what they paid for their gear and to boast that you got the same thing for a lower price.

My Kicks
The Lynne d United Sneaker Collection

A few other pair of sneakers that I'll never forget were a pair of blue suede Spauldings, deep blue nylon Nike running shoes with a white swoosh, the original all white leather K Swiss, light gray leather high top Chuck Taylors, white nylon Adidas Samoa running shoes with red stripes, a pair of black adidas boxing shoes with white stripes (think Janet Jackson "Pleasure Principle" video), a pair of original all white Converse Dr. J hi-tops, and then of course the New Balance I bought to run track with in both high school and college. I've owned lots of sneakers in my days, so many that I can't even remember them all. Most of my adult life, I've had a boot fetish, so the sneakers kind of took a backseat. At least that was until recently. It seems I am revisiting my childhood need to find sneakers that stand out from the rest. In essence, I've become somewhat of a sneaker collector.

Currently I own two pair of Pumas, a pair of Nikes, a pair of Reeboks, a pair of Merrells, and one pair of Adidas. When I think of Adidas, I again am reminded of my youth. The letters that spell Adidas became an acronym for All Day I Dream About Sex. What won't kids think of? Like we were really thinking about sex then. I know I wasn't, but then today what has become a love jones for owning distinctive sneakers in my life could be likened to that ultimate quest for the overarching climax.

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