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Did Penny Loafers Mean Pride or Miserly Folks?

Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.

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The lecture today is about your friend and theirs, penny loafers, the neat-looking slippers that some say today in 2022, that penny loafers are pushing extinction. I can't argue that point, but I can give you a few thoughts on this (once) fashion plate for young folks in the 1950's. But after this era, something mysterious happened: penny loafers disappeared. Not by magician David Copperfield, but I think that this was the diabolical work of a group of powerful European cobblers and shoe salesmen who were jealous of the penny loafer's fame in the U.S.A. and on one fateful night, they sneaked inside the homes of the penny loafers wearing public and stole them as slick as a firehouse pole.

Can I prove this? What do you think? But as near as I know, a shoe-design genius by the name of G.H. Bass, (no relation to Ernest T. Bass of Andy Griffith fame), and folks today trace the history of penny loafers to the 1930s when different companies started offering loafer styles. In 1936, G.H. Bass introduced his Weejun style; many people consider this the ‘first’ loafer

True fact. Mr. Bass was famous for Weejun style penny loafers. I wonder what he was worth at the peak of his very-lucrative penny loafer kingdom? I can guess that he did score a few bales of scratch and lived out a restful life all thanks to the penny loafer.

did-penny-loafers-mean-pride-or-miserly-folks

But I know the question that you are all wondering. Where does the penny (one cent) go on the shoes? A more relative question is why did penny loafer wearing folks even bother to put pennies in their loafters? Status can drive certain people to do strange things. I never owned any penny loafers when I was single. My parents didn't have a lot of extra money to afford such luxuries as penny loafers for their one and only son.

I was made to wear the common boot of brown leather with long shoelaces and steel hooks that held the shoelaces tight and sure, this to me, was a lot of labor, but when older people with authority to keep you under a roof and in a warm bed will accept any type of boot. But I did hold a lot of jealousy toward the kids around me in school who were so blessed to have rich parents, the kids love to flaunt their penny loafers to run us common boot wearers' nose in the mud and we took it like real troopers.

Do I still feel resentment toward the classmates who made fun of my friends and I who were ot wearing penny loafers? Yes. Do you think that I am some type of mindless clod?

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Ladies and Gentlemen . . .Enoy

I was going to share a collection of song titles which featured the names penny and loafer, but it turns out that there were so many titles, I simply had to present the one below, a video of a group of folks named, The Penny Loafers, doing something they perform, "The Mayberry Rap." Enjoy.

I was born Nov. 27, 1953, and in my upbringing, I was privy to the Nifty 50's--Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and The Everly Brothers. Yes, most of their fandom did wear penny loafers by girls and guys. So in our sensitive year of 2022, you can honestly say that penny loafers were the first unisexual shoes. Right?

By the way, I always wished that my folks would have bought me a pair. Looking back, the fact above could have kept me from taking a beating.

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© 2022 Kenneth Avery

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