I’ve been looking at a diary kept by my mum when she was nineteen years old.
On Saturday January 4th 1947 she wrote:
Went to Leeds got some smashing cool-ee joyce shoes in tan + navy £2. 17s. 11d.
I wanted to find out what she meant by cool-ee joyce shoes. My mum died many years ago so isn’t around to answer my questions.
It was the same when I was researching the background to I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety: The Diary of a Petty Officer in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II; in the introduction I wrote: “I read it (my dad’s diary) again and was intrigued by what my dad had written and as I deciphered his handwriting a number of questions were raised in my mind. I decided to type up the manuscript to make the extracts more legible and accessible and then passed copies to my two sisters. Like me, they were intrigued and also prompted to ask questions in relation to what they were reading. When he was alive, our dad had never really spoken about his war time experiences and when we were younger we hadn't been interested in what he'd been doing thirty years previously. Now we had the interest we didn't have the person with the answers.”
So, yes, I did have a Eureka moment when I stumbled upon an amazing blogsite which houses some adverts for 1940s Joyce cool-ee shoes:
The adverts show some of the shoe designs from the 1940s. These may not be the exact same ones that my mum was so pleased with (and she paid a quarter of her wages to buy them) but you can see how special they were.
I’ve transcribed the words on the adverts here as they epitomise the era illustrating a mixture of concern for austerity with a desire for fashion and style.
“At a time when dress allowances are pretty sorely strained, COOL-EES by Joyce come to the rescue with jaunty, devil-may-care designs at severely sober prices. Here are four typical models that cost far less than they look. Joyce of California styled them… and doesn't he know the inspiring value these days of gay colours and rakish lines.”
“These Cool-ees models are pretty like the British character - easy-going, good natured, friendly and reliable. Joyce of California has given them the added attraction of New World styling which compliments the fine British craftsmanship in a highly desirable way. You'll wear them knowing you've done the right thing by your fashion sense and have played fair with the need for economy…..”
What I’ve learned over the years is that when undertaking family history research nothing pays off like persistence and I firmly believe that if you search long and hard enough you can find the answers to nearly all your family history questions.