Sunday, February 02, 2014

White Dunlop Volleys

(This is part of a yarn I am working on... and surprise, surprise, its a SHOE post.)

When I was a child – last century, before cordless telephones, vehicular air-conditioning, VCRs and the internet – I went to the toughest school in Central Queensland.  Sandfly Flats.

In those days, we never wore shoes to school.  At all. 

Sure, our mother – and probably one or two of the other mothers of our classmates – ensured we were shod when we left the house at the beginning of the day. But when I first started at Sandfly Flats, not one student foot was impeded with footwear while actually at the school.

Did I mention we were the toughest school in Central Queensland?

We prided ourselves on how resilient our soles were.  We would walk across midday bitumen during summer without flinching.  We would run across patches of bindiis – you know, those really old patches that have several generations of dried prickles just waiting for the brush of a new host? – we would run across with complete disregard to any pain or suffering.  We would skid on the cement basketball court and laugh at the chalk-marks our heels left behind.

THAT is the Sandfly Flats level of toughness.

Sports Day was always a big thing – then even more than now.

Sport was a socialising factor in our sparsley populated region.  And as Sandfly Flats had the joy of being equidistant to two larger centres, it was afforded the opportunity to participate in twice as many Sports Days.   Twice as much fun. 

We truly lived in a magical place in a magical time.

On Sports Day, the rule was that shoes were to be worn - at least for the March Past.  And that rule went even further to say that these shoes were to be sandshoes, and the sandshoes were to be White Dunlop Volleys.  And that meant WHITE DUNLOP VOLLEYS - none of your new-fangled high-faluting fancy coloured stripes think-you-can-get-away-with-it-missy shoes either.

Before Sports Day, it was YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to clean them.   This could mean anything from whitening them through to the full scrub and cycle of the washing machine - generally dependent on the time since the last Sports Day and whether it had rained.  But to at least freshen up the whitening - this was the mandatory duty of every child.

The product that we were required to use was a jar of white liquid with a sponge on a stick rubber-banded to the side. (If anyone can give me the name of that product, you get bonus points this round)

As you painted it on to your White Dunlop Volleys, you had to ensure that you didn’t paint yourself.  The stuff was impossible to remove without taking off some skin. 

Once that was done, you had to pray like crazy that it wouldn’t rain and there would be enough time for it to dry before going to the Sports Day, as there is nothing worse than standing in the pre-dawn light in mid-Winter waiting for March Past to begin - with damp feet in soggy shoes and a parent lecturing you on planning and preparation.

Now, you have to note that rumour was a device with irrational logic in Sandfly Flats.

 And rumour had it that none of the Wheeler boys ever had White Dunlop Volleys.  Rumour has it that the Wheeler boys stood in line with painted feet to undertake the March Past.

I often wonder how this could be so, given that later in the day each of those boys undertook athletic feats in bare feet that had no line of demarcation - or indeed recent scrubbing - at all.


Leenie said...

Had to look up Dunlop Volleys. No such thing around here but they look great. I understand the bragging rights that come with tough feet. Been there. And the white stuff to perk up white canvas shoes, yup. The Wheeler boys must have been a tough lot who scrubbed off the white paint with steel wool before competing.

Debby said...

This will make you laugh...our white sneaker dye was Kiwi brand. Be interesting to know what brand you used.

Kelly said...

Ha! I can remember the days of toughened soles and being able to walk/run on anything. :)

Now, I'm afraid all that comes to mind when you speak of the "white stuff" is liquid paper!

jeanie said...

Sorry Leenie - I actually couldn't find a link to the white versions of this story - only the "new" added stripe version.

Debby - I actually believe that is what we used also - not sure if that was the modernised brand, though, that thoughtfully put the liquid in a container with the sponge at the spout - for wusses.

Kelly - I think our feet were lucky that frost was the coldest test they endured.

Debby said...

I first became acquainted with the stuff because my mother kept it on hand for baby shoes. It had a wire with a cotton ball like on the end. It was attached to the inside of the top of the bottle. You unscrewed it, and you pulled the applicator out as you removed the top.

Debby said...

Actually, I think the baby shoe polish was a product called Sani-White.

jeanie said...

Ah, that sounds more fangled that the original stuff I was talking about, yet less modern than the "applicator in one" variety...

You need to whiten baby shoes? They are tough babies to be dirtying them...

Debby said...

In the old days, the white high top baby walking shoes took quite a beating. Outside, inside, all around the house. It was (at least here) considered unhealthy to let babies run around without hardsoled walking shoes.

Anonymous said...

Our white stuff was called Jif (or) Jiffy White. It was designed for bowling shoes. It was a bottle you tipped upside down and the sponge, which was slightly to one side of the bottle end but tilted, was black. It was quite a chalky liquid. Does that help? You brought back great memories - thanks :)

jeanie said...

Debbie - don't times change!! I am sure that my mum may have been given the guff about shoeing children, but we certainly paid it no heed.

Rhu - I think that was the ultra-modern twist that was in our dreams but not in our realities...

Rambling Tart said...

Oh this made me smile. :-) I love the funny things we do as kids. :-)

jeanie said...

Rambling Tart - glad I gave you a smile - things generally look better from a distance, and I got that now!!