Childhood and the memories one retains from it are mysterious, curious, and wonderful. There’s nothing like hearing a song, or smelling a smell that suddenly transports you to your five year-old self, sitting on a dock licking ice cream.
My memories of the summers I spent at my grandparents’ house are fantastic. They are entirely classic in the sense that the focal point of most of these memories is their backyard pool. These summers became the root of many loves for many things I hold most dear, such as Elvis, malted milk, and a keen ability to strategize my way through a mall in record time (from my Grammie). Then there are other things, less obvious things, that I kept in my heart as a result of these summers that have crept up over the years, exposing themselves after a long sleep in the depths of my mind.
One of these things is my love of old keys. For years I have collected interesting old keys from all over, not really sure why. That was until my mum reminded me of my burglar phase. In kindergarten, I stole a bracelet off the Cinderella display simply because I thought it should be mine. That following summer I stole a beautiful old-fashioned key from my grandparents’ house and took it home at the end of my stay. My grandparents had a number of old keys on a hook that was far out of my reach and I had executed an elaborate heist to steal one for my own keeping. Being six, my parents quickly discovered my thievery and the keys were sent home (express) to return to do their daily purpose of opening gates and doors. I enjoyed learning about this because I understood what my obsession was rooted in.
The second thing, less obvious love was that of loafers, which like the keys snuck in, subtle and quiet, from my admiration for my Grampie.
My grandfather is an elegant man, and one symptom of his elegance is the way he dresses. He does not dress strange for someone “of his generation” (baby boomer), but it is a way of dressing that is now somewhat lost. It is with care. A button down shirt, trousers, and matching belt and shoes. Every day. One thing he does that I love is change out of his loafers when he comes home into a different pair, only slightly different in appearance. Not slippers, but indoor loafers. As a child, I witnessed this, filed the subtle brilliance of it, and quickly returned to the endless games of Scrabble.
This whole time, I thought I loved my Grammie’s closet more. Rows of high-heeled shoes that over the years gave her added confidence. I loved her sparkly jackets, long skirts, and ruffled blouses. At the time, my grandfather’s wardrobe was too simple. The blue, white, pink, and other neutrally-coloured shirts hung neatly in a row, followed by equally neat pairs of khaki slacks. And below those, were the things that stuck: the loafers. Carefully placed pairs of black and brown leather shoes lined the floor of his closet, each with a shoe shaper inside.
But as I look down at my feet as I write this, I am not in a pair of high-heeled shoes. I am wearing loafers. Loafers almost exactly like the ones that lined, and still line, my grandfather’s closet floor.
In my yearbook, I jokingly named Prince Charles as my style icon. Turns out, I was right. It’s amazing to think back and find the root of what influences your life, love, and style.