Irene Salce de Urbina in Dress-Up Sneakers, 1986

Born in Mexico in 1908, Irene Salce de Urbina moved to Texas in the 1940s with her husband and seven children.  She became a US citizen in 1963. Her husband, a minister in the Mexican Baptist Church, died in 1967. The occasion for this photo was the donation of Urbina family records to the Houston Public Library in order to document the contribution of Mexican Americans to the history of Texas.

The petite Urbina is dressed up for the event, complete with a big corsage. Her dress, perhaps a stretchy polyester, is decorated with shiny diagonal stripes. To my eye, her gleaming white sneakers stand out glaringly against her outfit. But perhaps she was simply in the vanguard, since dress up sneakers are everywhere today.

I wish I could get used to the look, which I think just seems sloppy. But maybe we all should decide that comfort is the most important thing of all.

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