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Carol Perkins: 1966- When Bass Weejuns were the rage

A memory many 60s people remember - when most shoes needed to be "broken in" which worked on most inexpensive brands, but not Bass Weejuns!
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By Carol Perkins

In 1966, Bass Weejuns were the rage among college students. Because they were very expensive, only the "money" kids could afford them. I was not a "money kid." I look back now and realize that they may not have had much money either, but they were wearing Weejuns and I wasn't and I wanted a pair.

I would never have asked for the money to buy the Weejuns because back in those days keeping a student in college was expensive-more so than now because most scholarships were given to athletes. I never knew anyone going on an academic scholarship back then. I wouldn't have been a recipient anyway! Back to the shoes . . .

Best summer of college life was at summer school at EKU

One summer I stayed in Richmond and went to summer school. That was the best summer of my college life. A "new" good friend of mine, Sherry, and I stayed in married housing that summer because she knew someone who knew someone. The apartment was uptown and we felt like adults. We lived the life of going to class, working, and lying by the pool. Only because I was working did I have extra money beyond the $20 that came weekly from home. I made a plan.

Downtown Richmond had one particular shop that sold Weejuns. I remember going upstairs to the shoe department and admiring the brown leather, penny loafer style Weejuns that looked even better once broken in. I tried on a pair or two and the clerk suggested I get the pair that was a little tight because once broken in they might be too large. I chose the shoe and put it on lay-a-way. I would start the fall with my new shoes.

The shoe clerk's advice wasn't good

Each week I paid a little on the shoes. They might have cost $20, but that was more than I had, so I probably paid $2 or $3 dollars a week. By the end of summer school, I had paid for my Weejuns. Now I would feel much better about myself!

I wore my new shoes with my knee socks but soon blisters formed on my heels. "I need to break them in," I kept telling myself, so I continued to wear them,limping across campus. I scuffed up the bottoms but the leather didn't "give"---EVER. The bottom line was that I could not then or EVER wear those shoes. The shoes I had worked so hard to buy; the shoes that would place me in the "money" crowd of clothing. I was depressed.

I found that pair of Bass Weejuns just the other day

Just the other day I was looking through some boxes and found those shoes. The leather looks perfect. They should. I never really wore them, yet I have never had the heart to throw them away. I blamed myself for not taking them back after a few days, but I kept thinking I just had to break them in. By that time, they were too scuffed. I replayed what I should have done many times that fall without my Weejuns.

I never told my parents this story because it would have made them feel bad. There aren't any of us who haven't had something we wanted but couldn't afford including our parents. Mine was a pair of Bass Weejuns. I would still like to have a pair today. . . just because.

Carol Perkins, the writer of this popular CM Column, is an author, owner and operator of Main Street Screenprinting, 601 S. Main Street, Edmonton, KY, Phones 270-432-3152 and 270-670-4913 and is co-host of Susan (Susan Shirley Chambers) & Carol (Carol Sullivan Perkins) on 99.1 The Hoss, regularly live at 10amCT, each Tuesday.

This story was posted on 2015-03-22 04:37:15
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