I went to Wheaton College, a rather preppy place. Being a prep of the 80s myself, this was not a problem and I fit in pretty well. I didn’t have the money to back up my style, but I had the obligatory Tretorn sneakers and patent leather flats.
What I did not have was a pair of L.L. Bean boots. Man alive, did I covet those boots. I can’t remember how much they cost back in 1983 but it was more than I could afford on my meager wages as an assistant at the college library. And I wouldn’t ask my parents for the money to buy a pair as they were broke just paying their portion of my tuition. In a truly uncharacteristic manner for me, I went without the boots. Four years of college and I never pulled the money together to justify buying a pair.
I got my first full time job in January of 1988 and technically I could have bought the boots then. But I was living at home and saving for a wedding. Plus, I wasn’t surrounded by them anymore, the way I had been while at Wheaton. And then came the very snowy winter of 1989. My boss at the time, who was also a very good friend, suggested we order boots from Bean. I was married by then and, while money was tight, at least it was my own. So Diane and I each ordered a pair of L.L. Bean boots. We had them shipped to the library and I still remember the day they arrived. I was so excited to finally have them, after having wanted for them for such a long time, that I put them on and wore them around the library for the rest of the day. With a dress. I looked like a fool but I didn’t care, I was just so happy to finally have these boots.
And you know what? They were worth every penny because 18 years later I still have them. They are in fabulous condition, practically like new despite the fact that I’ve worn them a lot. I wear them every time it snows but this year I haven’t had the opportunity much. Paired up with hand knit socks they keep my feet warm and dry – I even wore them to New Hampshire Sheep and Wool last year in the pouring rain. The rest of me was soaked but my feet? Dry, dry, dry. Warm, warm, warm.
When I wear them to work I still leave them on all day. But at least now I wear them with jeans and not a dress.