Back in the 90’s in Romania-1991 to be precise- while in 11th grade, the town was hit- probably an American famous pop singer brought it about- by a new fashion must; white hi tops sneakers.
Like any respectable poor person -not sure what’s respectable about being poor:)- I dreamed of having a pair but lacked the money to purchase such an outrageous item -the cost was two months of a laborer’s paycheck. Food was much higher on the priority list than some silly notion of fashion-I knew, if I asked my parents for a pair, their answers would be along those lines. So I had to take matters in my own hands; after all a poor young girl can only forgo so many earthy pleasures before resenting her social status; and I was way past that level.
After the revolution of 1989, where communism supposedly fell- only to be replaced by the same corrupted politicians wearing hats with different political agendas- my family began receiving packages of clothing and food- a perk for being poor. Most of the clothes were of a “worldly style”, meaning too racey (sexy) for our conservative Christian life style, so I sold them to my classmates who seemed to love such style. (I loved some of those clothes too, but I would’ve been blue and purple if my father caught me wearing them). It was the two gold necklaces that I sold who brought me real dough. I purchased food and my favorite (and only) new pair of shoes as far back as I remembered. I admired those white beauties for a long time, too afraid to get them dirty. Eventually I put them on and walked, chest high, all over town. Yes, I did get a few looks of envy and admiration, which was all so worth it. The first crack -after only 15 minutes of wear- was the most painful rip through my heart. By the time I go home there were big cracks on top. Pieces of fake junk. Bought them directly from a store but that held no guarantee of quality for any client. Well, I felt foolish, sad and still loving those sneakers but soon after, I had to throw them in the trash -a sad day full of mournful thoughts and a plan to learn the difference between real leather and the plastic fakes. I still remember those nice pairs of hi tops -never bought another one- and for a few days I felt as rich as everyone else in town, a feeling well worth all that trouble:)