My Family’s Obsession with Buster Brown Shoes

Saddle Shoes & Maryjanes reigned supreme

Bonni Brodnick
The Memoirist
Published in
4 min readFeb 9, 2022


Photo by

A friend of mine once circulated this question on Facebook:

“Does anyone remember getting a new pair of shoes for the first day of school?”

My response: “Hell, yeah! I do!!”

She came to the right person. My father (David Kogen) was an executive with Brown Shoe Company for eons. (They even named a shoe after him called “The Kogey.”) Every season, my sister and I delighted in the tons of shoes sent to him from the St. Louis headquarters.

Here is a photo of my father in his Empire State Building office in New York City. From the colorful array of shoes and sandals, we can surmise that this was a Spring/Summer line:

Courtesy of Author’s Archives

In first grade, my foot was “model size.” In lay terms, that means that shoe samples were in my size. This lucky turn, at age 7, endowed me with a bounty of shoes that lined up neatly on the floor of my closet. It included:

- Red pigskin loafers

- Green pigskin loafers

- Brown leather loafers with both a kilt on the vamp and another pair with a buckle on the vamp

- Black patent-leather Maryjanes

- White patent-leather Maryjanes

- Blue leather Maryjanes

- Black/white saddle shoes

- Brown/white saddle shoes

Raise your hand if you remember this cutie T-strap sandal for summer. (I had it in red, blue, and natural leather.)

Buster Brown reigned almighty in my Maplewood, New Jersey childhood. The Boy and The Dog were ubiquitous. We’d wow. our friend’s with my father’s collection of Buster Brown lamps, old cartoons, watches, prints, rings, rugs, buttons, advertisements, posters, and more.

One summer night, my brother, sister, and I were called to recite the company jingle when our family was around a campfire with friends. Burnished…



Bonni Brodnick
The Memoirist

Writer. Creative. Thinker. Humorist. Author of "My Stroke in the Fast Lane" + "Pound Ridge Past." A proud Stroke Survivor. Visit me at