Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ode to my All-Stars.

Dear All-Stars,

How time flies.

It seems like just yesterday that I brought you home. It was December 2008, and I was home from college for winter break – my final winter break, as it was my senior year. I had gone to Sioux Falls to spend my hard-earned Christmas money. I had wanted a pair of black Converse All-Stars for a while, and this seemed like the day to commit. I strolled into JCPenney, and in a few short minutes, I was the proud owner of a brand-new pair of Converse All-Stars.

All-Stars, you were the perfect shoes. As soon as I put you on, I wondered what took me so long to buy you. Where had you been all my life? Never before had I loved a pair of sneakers so much.
Converses' first picture.
I wore you almost every day during that last semester of college. That was a busy semester for me, and I needed you. I wore you to work at the Common Cup Coffeehouse at 6am on Mondays and Fridays, and I wore you to my 8am art history class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (An 8am class is a college student’s worst nightmare, and I had managed to avoid them until my last semester.) Without you, dear All-Stars, I never would’ve been on time for either one. All-Stars, I didn’t want to pay for a campus parking pass, so you got me back and forth to class each day – be it on foot or by bicycle. By the time I graduated, you were dingy and dirty and looked as well-loved as you were.
A fellow Converse enthusiast.
But our adventures were far from over. After college, I embarked upon internships in art museums in Denver, New Orleans, and Minneapolis. These internships were all unpaid, so my entertainment was limited to things that were free. And you know what is free, All-Stars? Walking. And you can’t go walking without a good pair of sneakers.
You also can't ride the bus next to discarded hair extensions without a good pair of sneakers.
All-Stars, you took me everywhere. We walked around Denver together, enjoying summer in the mountains. In New Orleans, we spent countless hours exploring the French Quarter, Magazine Street, and Lake Ponchartrain.
I made friends with a French Quarter trombonist in
my Converses.
Downtown Minneapolis was not too far from my apartment, so I’d put on my All-Stars and stroll to the Nicollet Mall. 
Over my lunch break at work, my All-Stars and I took countless trips to Lake Calhoun. Rain or shine, All-Stars, we were out discovering new things about the places we lived.
Like fun graffiti...
...or rock formations...
...or giant interactive sculptures...
...or swing sets...
...or waterfalls...
...or apple orchards.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though, All-Stars. Not all of our time together was spent walking around and absorbing the beauty of those three cities. No, a lot of it was hard work. In Denver, New Orleans, and Minneapolis, I was working at least two minimum wage jobs in addition to my internships. After all, I still had to eat.I worked at American Eagle in all three cities, plus a fireworks store in Denver, Michael’s in New Orleans, and three Craigslist jobs in Minneapolis. All of those jobs required a lot of time on my feet, and there were many days that I was going right from one job to another. All-Stars, I wouldn’t have been able to log all hours without you.

I’m a one-job gal now and have been for some time. While I can’t wear you every day, All-Stars, I gladly wear you on casual Fridays or weekends.
Especially when my weekends involve climbing
in tractor tires...
...or playing with happy black labs.
All-Stars, you were my first. You opened the door for other All-Stars in varying colors and patterns – I even wore turquoise All-Stars on my wedding day.
But it all started with you, my black All-Stars. Without you, I never would’ve known the glory of the Converse All-Star. And you can bet that I’ll never forget.

All-Stars, you have been with me for almost six years, and we’ve been through a lot together. Through the good and the bad, you’ve been there for me. I’ll always remember all the jobs we’ve worked, all the places we’ve been, and all the streets we’ve explored.
My Converses. My brother's Converses.
You’re faded now, and your soles are worn down. Your edges are cracked, and you don’t keep out the snow and rain like you used to. My dear All-Stars, the time has come for you to retire. After the thousands of miles we’ve put on, you’ve earned a rest. Though it pains me to have to say goodbye, we both know it’s time. I’ll replace you with a pair of new black All-Stars, but they’ll never be as special as you.
Our last great adventure together: a New Orleans
Rest in peace, dear black All-Stars. I’ll never forget you.

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