I am writing in response to the article on the shoe tree at GWU (“Footloose and Fancy Tree,” 2/7). The article was right when it said the shoe tree was started innocently by a couple of brothers 15 years ago. As a matter of fact, it was exactly 15 years ago, and I started it. it was after a trip to Brooklyn, where I saw a few kids immortalize their worn-out prized possessions. It was in the early ’80s that sneakers began to be major status symbols. Even after the sneakers had been replaced by a new pair, it was hard to simply throw the old ones away. Those were the sneakers we had lusted after and saved up to purchase, a pair of sneakers that often made the difference between a guy being teased or admired at school. Because we did not have any aboveground wires, we used a tree outside my window.
It is a shame that a few misinformed people can destroy a tradition by bastardizing its meaning. There was never any sexual meaning or innuendo associated with the sneakers’ rite of passage. I can not help wondering, though, about the womyn’s (sic) motives when they are waiting outside fraternities for shaken college girls.
Delta Tau Delta class of 1984