Van’s Tennis Shoes

Rubber and new cloth and dyed canvas; oily creosote from the railroad ties behind the factory store. I got a brand new pair of red Van’s tennis shoes every fall, to wear with my tights and dresses and later, my brothers’ hand-me-down play clothes. At kindergarden recess, I would untie the laces so that I could watch them flutter toward me and away as I went back and forth on the swings. I always needed help getting them retied, but no amount of scolding could prevent me from doing it again. No other new shoes smell quite the same as Van’s–I’m glad to see that they’re still around.

Edited to add: Since I’d planned a trip home, I looked up the address of the old factory. I drove by there yesterday, and it’s no longer Van Doren Rubber Company, but you can see the bricked in space where we used to enter the store.


About Samantha

2006 - Portland, OR Samantha Soma is an erstwhile aromatherapist, collects vintage and modern perfumes, and is in love with the sense of smell. She lives in the Northwest, which means that books, coffee, wine, beer, and humidity play large roles in her personal experience.
This entry was posted in childhood, made by humans, organic. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Van’s Tennis Shoes

  1. nc says:

    How is it that we know each other so well, but never knew that we both wore red Van Doren tennies in our respective youths? They really do smell different from Converse, more powdery maybe.

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