Man’s shoes are his life, and now they are back in the home he shared with his family for nearly three decades.
In the 1980s, when John and Joanne Kahl lived in Westchester County, New York, John was an unemployed carpenter and JoAnne an office secretary.
They were both single, and when John died of cancer, Joanne’s sister, Kathy, took over.
Now, as he prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday on May 6, John and Kathy are living in a three-bedroom house on the outskirts of town.
It was in the 1980’s that John started to feel like his feet would always have to be somewhere, even if he didn’t know what that meant.
His feet had to go somewhere, and he wanted to be where he wanted.
That’s where he decided to spend the last 30 years of his life.
“It was like a bad dream.
You wake up in the middle of the night and you’re like, ‘I don’t want to go out with my wife and kids anymore,'” he says.
“I’m in this apartment in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and my feet are not here.”
That’s where John and his wife, Joanna, put their feet.
They put them in the garage in order to keep them in their own space.
“We wanted to make it as quiet as possible,” he says of their choice to put their shoes in the ground.
“We wanted the whole house to be quiet, and we wanted it to be as clean as possible.”
After many years, John started asking for help from the local Salvation Army and a local shoe shop.
They said they were happy to help him.
But there was one problem.
When he asked them to put them back in their original location, the Salvation Army refused.
The Salvation Army said it was because they didn’t have a place to put the shoes, and that’s when John decided to take matters into his own hands.
“They were going to be in the parking lot,” he remembers.
“That’s when I went to the store.
I said, ‘Here’s your shoes.’
And the owner said, `Oh, you don’t have any shoes?’
So I said to her, ‘Why don’t you put them here?’
And she did, and she put them where they belong.”
John put his shoes back into the ground, and the Salvation Service offered him a $500 check for them.
Now, they’re there.
“I just want people to know that they’re still here,” he said.
“They’re still standing in the same spot.
They’re still there.
They still love their shoes.”
The couple, who live in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania with their four children, also have a garage and an old barn.
But they also have the option to use the house they bought in 1985, which is a new addition.
“You get to pick your own yard,” John says.
“That’s the best part,” Joanna adds.
“Just get the new yard, and let it sit there for as long as you want,” he adds.
“And we’re gonna get the kids out, and I want to make sure they’re OK, and they’re gonna have their toys and they want to play.
And that’s what we do.”
John and Joanna say the money will help keep the house in good shape, and to give the family some stability.
They also want to give their new home to someone who may need it for some time.