Wintry weather teaches smart shopper sharp lesson on boots

NEIGHBORS

February 18, 1994|By KATHY SUTPHIN

After 23 years as a mommy, the challenging winter of 1994 has taught me a lesson I hope never to forget.

I thought I was being a savvy shopper by waiting for a fall sale before I bought snow boots for my two younger daughters. I thought the boots they wanted were expensive, considering the rate at which their feet were growing. Silly me.

In the frenzied fall days between Halloween and Christmas, I missed all the sales. And I missed the boot boat.

By the time the first frosty forecast was announced, every pair of warm winter boots in my children's sizes on the East Coast had been purchased by wise mothers who had some premonition that this would be one wicked winter. But I didn't give up.

In late December, I continued my hopeful search for a new shipment of winter boots north, south, east and west of Mount Airy. I didn't realize how hopeless my quest was until a shoe clerk, who was putting spring dress shoes on the rack, burst out laughing when I asked when she would be getting more snow boots.

I did find a pair of ladies' black boots with reluctant-to-zip-up back zippers that had been returned after Christmas to a Westminster shoe store. I quickly purchased these boots, because they were near to my daughter's size. They have served the purpose, but I knew my 9-year-old was disappointed because they didn't look anything like the boots she had wanted.

As January's barrage of snow, sleet and ice continued, my 7-year-old wore holes in the sides of the boots that were last year's hand-me-downs from her sister. I expanded my search and spent half an hour on the phone with a J.C. Penney's sales representative in Utah who searched catalogs for any pair or style of snow boots remotely close to my children's sizes I found out that Utah had had very little snow then, and that the warehouse had zero snow boots for me to order. The sales rep suggested I buy a water-bed repair kit and use it to patch holes in the old boots. It was time to call in the reinforcements.

My sister, Dede, who is known in our family for her shopping expertise, lives in Texas. I sent her on a mission to the malls in the Dallas-Fort Worth area via a message on her answering machine.

In less than 12 hours, Dede called me from a mall. The good news was, she had found one store that still had snow boots in a variety of sizes. The bad news was they were expensive.

At that point, cost was a minor consideration. I ordered two pairs, and she sent them rapid delivery to Mount Airy from a mall mail service. The warm, rubber-soled leather creations arrived five days later. They not only fit with some room for growth, but they satisfied my daughters' fashion expectations.

After spending nearly twice the cost of the original snow boots that my children wanted, I have learned not to wait until December to purchase snow boots. And, since the respite from our siege of snow and ice is forecasted to last through the weekend, I plan to take the girls shopping for Easter shoes before they, too, vanish from the shelves.

*

Valentine's Day 1994 has come and gone, but memories of the endearing holiday as it was celebrated from 1915 to 1930 are featured in the display case of the Mount Airy Branch Library.

Six shelves of Valentine's Day cards, sent long ago with love from students to a dedicated teacher, are on display, thanks to Philip and Martha Dean of Monrovia.

From ornate beauties made in Bavaria to home-made greetings created from newspaper and wallpaper, the cards were sent to Leolia Black, who lived and taught school in the small, rural community of Newtown, Ind. Mr. Dean was given the collection last year by his mother, Thelma Black Dean. She inherit

ed the cards when Miss Black, known as "Aunt Lolie," died about 25 years ago at age 93.

The valentines will be featured in the library's foyer until the end -- of February.

*

Congratulations to Heather Young, winner of American Legion Post 191's National High School Oratorical Contest on Sunday.

"The Constitution: A Fresh Beginning for Freedom," was the title of Miss Young's eight-minute-plus oration that garnered the South Carroll High School senior a $100 prize.

This was the third year that Miss Young, daughter of George and Elizabeth Young of Mount Airy, has participated in and won Post 191's annual contest.

Miss Young is a member of the National Honor Society and South Carroll's Varsity Club, Student Government Association and the Senior Class Executive Board. She is also captain of the track and cross- country teams and plans to major in chemical engineering in college.

Congratulations also go to South Carroll High School senior Doug Zwiselsberger, who placed second in Post 191's contest. Mr. Zwiselsberger received a $75 prize for his efforts.

*

Three times is sure to be a charm for the new date of Winfield Elementary School's rededication ceremony.

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