September 29, 2016

On Sneakers and Spicoli

In recent months, I've noticed that Vans sneakers have become quite popular again, particularly the slip-on variety. (Well, I suppose they’ve never really gone out of style completely, but it seems I’m seeing them far more frequently lately.) Of course, they’re just one of a quadrillion little things that make me think of my sweet brother Amir every day.

Why Vans? Well, in spite of his advanced intelligence, Amir was slow to learn how to tie his shoes. (Ya think maybe because he had two older sisters who constantly did it for him??) Anyway, because of his having yet to acquire this skill, and probably due to the ubiquity at the time of slip-on Vans partly because of the popularity of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Vans being Spicoli’s sneaker of choice, Amir insisted on wearing slip-ons for much of his early childhood. That is, until later in the 80s, when high-top Nikes became the sneaker du jour for basketball-obsessed kids like my teenage bro. (And when Yael and I migrated to high-top Reeboks or LA Gear. Oh, but we were a stylish bunch.)

At back-to-school time, we’d pile into the station wagon and head to the miniature Vans store on Topanga Canyon that we all loved because it looked like a little surf shack. We’d squeeze into the tiny shop, where I’d choose the two-tone, lace-up Vans and Amir always made a beeline for the slip-ons. Then, like all the hip kids of the day, as soon as we brought home our pristine new sneakers, we all promptly colored in the waffle-like squares on the soles with different-colored pens. We were cool that way.

[I'm on the hunt for photos. Stay tuned.]