How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Cousin Ricky - The White Shoes Connection

I posted a photo of Bud Steele who owned the Atlantic gas station in town on the January 5, 2009 Blog entry (See photo below). He is holding his son, Ricky, who was wearing white shoes.

Little Rickie Steele helped his father "Buddy" out at the Atlantic station from time to time. Notice the white shoes on Little Rickie. Must be before Labor Day. (Photo courtesy of Almira Cramer Steele.)

Well, it seems that, as a result of that Blog posting, a new nickname, Ricky "White Shoes" Steele, was born in the old New Gretna tradition. Evidently, some people in town, including our postmistress, have been addressing Ricky with that new moniker. Of course, I've also joined in here at the Blog. Never let it be said that I don't enjoy a little kibitzing among friends. And Ricky doesn't let me forget it.

Now, it appears, that the last laugh may be on me. I was going through some old Stemmer family photos the other day and came across two photos of me wearing, of all things, white shoes!

Nicholas and Madeline Stemmer, in the summer of 1943, holding their new son, Peter, who I must say is looking very fashionable.

I'll match my white shoes with Cousin Ricky's anytime!"

The surfacing of these Stemmer family photos poses two questions - (1) Does that make Ricky and me cousins by white shoe proxy? and (2) Can two people have the same nicknames, according to New Gretna tradition? My vote is NO!

Pete S

PS- Unfamiliar with the Bass River tradition of nicknames? Click on the link below to read Almira Cramer Steele's "Bass River Gazette" article (Issue #2, October, 1998 - page 4) on Bass River nicknames. Ironically, Almira is Ricky "White Shoes" Steele's mother.


  1. Hey, nice shoes there "white Shoes II". Notice the black paint on the Atlantic Station in the picture with Bud holding Ricky. That is the tide line from a nor'easter sometime around 1950. Don't remember exactly. Anybody out there remember that one? All of Ruby's dry docked boats floated away up in the edge of the woods. 6 or 7 duck hunters drowned. Bad real bad. Bob

  2. Hi Pete: I believe there is "no contest" when it comes to kids wearing white shoes. Have you noticed they are all high top shoes and all are white? I think that is the way they came, like Henry Ford and the model T. Any color as long as it was black, but in this case any color as long as it was white. I have a picture of me taken with Mom Leepa and her daughter Alice and guess what? I'm wearing white high top shoes.
    Run it past me as to how to post the picture, if you are interested in more evidence.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

  3. Well, it's nice to know that "Little Ricky White-shoes" was not the only boy circa 1950 that had to wear white shoes. It seems all my pictures, as I remember, I had "brown shoes". I think they were called "oxfords". But I am "younger" than Ricky so maybe the shoemakers were getting "hip" to colors. Or in Vt. where I hail from, my parents didn't want to polish the white ones. I hated those brown shoes.
    Postmaster, Michele S

  4. Beverly,

    To get a photo placed on the Blog, you must email it to me. After review, if appropriate, I'll post it on the Blog.

    Hey, how about everyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere emailing me a baby photo showing your shoes? I'll post them all as an informal survey regarding footwear of past generations.

    We may even get a few laughs out of the photos.

    Pete S

  5. my maiden name was Stemmer I did not think there were any other as my dad was an only child