Some childhood moments remain with me in complete clarity. Learning to tie my shoes is one. I was between three and four years old.
The staircase to upstairs had one landing. I sat on the first step of the top landing, tying the shoelace of a brown Buster Brown, overhand knot after overhand knot. I wanted to make the laces short enough not to step on.
“Damn shoe won’t tie,” I said repeatedly under my breath. “Damn shoe won’t tie.”
I became aware of my father looming tall over me. “Would you like to learn to tie your shoes?”
I nodded a vigorous yes.
He walked down a couple of steps, and then sat down behind me on the landing, his feet below mine. (Dad was about 6’6”, and could stand on the bottom step, bend over and put his palms on the floor.)
I watched as his long fingers quickly untied several inches of knots. Then he demonstrated. Then he untied my shoe lace and guided my hands through the motions. Then he untied my shoe and I tied it myself.
Dad stood up and said, “Very nice. Your cousin Bobby can’t do that yet, and he’s in school.”
My brother Walt and me, April 1946. The sibling on the left could tie shoes.
With thanks to Handy Andy for stirring up such a fun memory.