Thursday, June 02, 2016

Wells Fargo : The Old Shoe

In the Wells Fargo’s Los Angeles History Museum is an old shoe with an interesting history. In 1896, a young woman’s shoe was found in the Wells Fargo’s express office in Vacaville, Calif. Keen to reunite the shoe with the owner an agent sent it forward along the railroad line in an effort to have it arrive at the young woman’s destination. At each stop, agents forwarded the mislaid shoe to the next, hoping to catch up to her, and to complete the pair. Despite these efforts to locate her she was nowhere to be found, and made no effort to report the shoe lost or try to reclaim it. The lonely shoe traveled throughout California and Oregon for several years, gathering express tags from each office as it went.

By the time any likelihood of returning the shoe was gone, it had become a tradition for Wells Fargo people to keep the shoe on the move. As the unclaimed shoe went from office to office, it brought out the poet in agents, who took to writing verses on the express tags. One from Glen Ellen, Calif., had a limerick:

This little shoe
Is one of two
That’s looking for a mate
To find it go,
But don’t be slow
Or else you’ll be too late

An unknown agent, who understood a solitary life, penned this ode:

We hope this shoe will keep its strength
As it goes from state to state.
For truly we know how to sympathize—
We, too, are without a mate.

In Oregon, B.H. Boles displayed his sentiments :

Ah, poor little tracer, it’s far you have traced
While barefooted mistress without you has chased
Still you must trace onward although it is late
Perchance you may yet meet your long-missing mate
On the foot of some maiden down by the gate.

Boles closed with an invitation to the shoe’s owner to bring closure to everyone:

If in your wide travels your mate you should meet
And then gently cover your mistress’ small feet
If then to our village you kindly should stray
I promise you now we’d not send you away

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