My Puerto Rican Superstition: Today I walk with both shoes on into the Voting Booth

I am going to share a very odd fact about me with you.  I am not ashamed to do so. It is just a quirky bit about me that comes into play today; this being election day in the United States. Further, it is the date my mom was born.  More often than not, her birthday fell on election day.  As a result, I grew up with a keen sense of my civic duty. We often celebrated her birthday by going to the polling place. My love for my mother was wrapped up in a tiny bit in my love for my country and my sense of what it meant to be a citizen. I have never missed an election. Today was no exception.   This is not the odd part about me.

Let me share with you the odd tidbit that crosses my mind today.

Growing up I was very scared to walk with one shoe on. I had to either wear both or wear none.  I know this sounds very strange but my childhood was somewhat strange. So it all works out at the end. Here is the thing. My mom was very superstitious. Extremely superstitious.  I grew up fearing every type of superstition there was out there. I didn’t walk under ladders (I still don’t). I avoided walking near black cats (I still do). I was very careful when I put utensils away because, if any were to fall, it had serious implications.  For instance, if a knife fell it meant that a fight was coming.   Till this day, I still hate putting the utensils away. With all that said, I am rooted in superstition.

My mom had some scary superstitions that put much fear in me.   One such superstition was that I was to not walk with just one shoe on.   Walking with just one shoe put the lives of others in peril. Specifically, one shoe walking meant that one’s mother could die. Creepy, scary, right?   It made me extremely scared.  No one did I ever want to walk with just one shoe on.  A teeny-bopper group named One Direction noted that “Only half a blue sky. Kinda there but not quite. I’m walking around with just one shoe. I’m half a heart without you.


But back to the shoe. Or rather other odd similar superstitions.  Have you ever heard “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” How bizarre a rhyme to teach young kids. Why do we pass on such sad, horribly scary superstitions. To keep us in line?  We do terrorize our children.


I don’t know from where the shoe superstition comes from but I have never forgotten it. I always made sure to never just walk with one shoe on.  I was scared of what the consequences could be. Sadly, my mom has left this earth. Thus, I am not so afraid anymore to wear just one shoe. I do monitor my son’s shoe walking but I have yet to share with him my superstition. I don’t want to burden him with that. No need to scare him. He already worries about whether I have iced my knee enough so I don’t have to have an operation.  What a kind son I have. And it is because of his kind heart that I wear both shoes. I will walk into the voting booth in honor of my mom and for my son’s future.


1 reply »

  1. Superstitions must be another one of those things that unite us across cultures. I’d bet your Puerto Rican mom and my Jewish mom share some of the same superstitions. I love hearing some of your mom’s. They make me laugh and/or shake my head in disbelief, which of course also makes me wish I knew the origin, which could probably be found through googling if/when either of us might be so inclined. My mom, and especially my dad, also taught us to do our civic duty by voting, which they knew was a privilege in our country that is not always available in other places and, sadly, not even here sometimes.


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