In the Land of Shoes by Nancy Lund
May 16, 2012
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It came to her when she was on her knees, frantically searching for two dollar bills – the only money in the house until Friday when she hoped her husband would be paid. All this fuss over two measly dollars. And that is what triggered the memory: “That shoe! I’m living in the land of the shoes.”
The title of Nancy Lund’s memoir comes from the moment when she remembered herself at age six finding a strange object and being told it was a shoe “probably dropped off the rag-pickers wagon”. A sheltered child of an upper-middle class family, she had never seen a shoe that wasn’t polished, without a heel, laces or neat little buttons. She tried to imagine what kind of a creature could wear the flat, shapeless thing – maybe a tribe of one-footed people who flitted about in the sky.
She never thought of it again until at the age of thirty-three, needing to buy milk for her kids, she realized that she herself was living in the land of the shoes. Real people lived in that world; they grew up, married, had kids, and their shoes got run down – if they were lucky enough to have any.
"In the Land of the Shoes,” is a journey told with humor and honesty. Nancy gives us stories about her family, the unlikely beginnings of her very happy marriage to Dick Lund, the turmoil of the sixties, and her difficulty accepting the choices her kids made. Even more, it is the story of Nancy’s longing for a world free of discrimination, poverty and war. Full of ideals, she joined the Communist Party in 1941; but after almost twenty years (and hundreds of pages in the files of the FBI), she dropped out, disillusioned. Her search for alternate ways to use her ideals – and her considerable energy – led her to working in the mainstream, in the Democratic Party, women’s rights, the peace movement, and for the last thirty five years, in the small mountain town of Greenville, California, as an advocate for the elderly.
Characterizing herself as a “card-carrying optimist,” Nancy continues at the age of 94 in unwavering dedication to equality, justice and peace.
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