These almost brand new shoes, like all of ours, have a story. They belonged to my sister, Gail.
Gail was the third in a family of 4 kids. My mom always said Gail was shy, the one child in our boisterous group who held back with strangers, was the last to break out in a smile or laugh.
She grew up, went to school, flourished. When she was a sophomore in High School, she met a boy, a senior. She ‘fell in love’ and soon was expecting her first child. An early marriage and two more children kept her very busy. She worked nights as a nurses’ aid for many years while she tried to get some sleep during the day while her husband worked.
He got a good job in another state, they moved, but eventually that marriage failed, was followed by a second marriage, and one more child. After a few years, Gail was on her own again, working and taking classes, studying to become an Operating Room Tech (ORT).
Luckily for our family, Gail and her kids moved back to Wisconsin. She worked in a hospital and went to school. Her goal was to become a nurse. She succeeded! She graduated, had a better income, her children were older and could help at home, and she had family around.
Looking for adventure, or security perhaps, Gail joined the Army Reserves. Our collective memories remember this period of her life as a good and happy one for her. She met and married a service man, travelled to Europe, worked in field hospitals, and then settled into a new life in Alaska.
During the Gulf War, she was called to serve in a military hospital in Germany. While she was deployed, her Army husband cheated her out of her home and savings. When she returned, she packed up what was left, and drove from Fairbanks, Alaska to Wisconsin. She wasn’t alone; she had her dog and cat for company.
She had several good years in the active reserves in Ohio, retired and moved back to WI for a few years. We loved having her back with us. Eventually she retired, packed up her dog, and moved in with her daughter in Florida. Life was very good for a few years. She had enough income to travel and visit her family in multiple locations, always driving across the country. Both her daughters ordered shoes on line and encouraged her to do the same! She loved being with them.
On a trip to Kansas for a granddaughter’s wedding, she had trouble walking, kept falling. A week after she returned to Florida, she was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma brain tumor in September.
She died in March. The shoes were never worn.