Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cruel Shoes

Oh, I can remember going to the "dime" store (boy, can't you tell there is inflation when it went from dime to dollar store?) and getting my first pair of heels. Let's clarify what I am talking about: Two pieces of plastic, usually with sparkly stuff embedded in them, with elastic that went across the feet. Ooo, I felt so glamorous when I got these for Christmas. I'm sure, given the quality of workmanship, that they lasted about 2 days. I don't even want to think that there may have been lead in them, which I am sure is the reason I had a lead foot for a few years (not now, I always drive the speed limit) I digress.

I remember longing to wear high heels. My mother had some beautiful shoes that were linen with splashes of color, that were about 4" high and had very pointed toes. Oh! They were the height of sexy shoes (although I didn't know what it meant, I knew my mother's legs always looked good when she wore them) And any time my parents went out, I got into my mom's side of the closet, got out the shoe box and would prance around wearing those shoes. My feet just couldn't grow fast enough and I couldn't grow up quickly so I could be the right age for those cool shoes.

Finally, the big day came when my mother said that we could go to Burger Phillips. It was a department store downtown and they were having a SALE. On shoes. On high heels! Mom said I could pick out a pair. I had visions of the pointy toed, 4" heels in my head as we took the long drive. We didn't have interstates back in those days, so I had plenty of time to day dream.

When we got to the store, we went directly to the bargain basement. There were shoes everywhere and the aisles were packed with shoppers who had the same idea as we: Best shoes Lowest price. I tried on many pairs of shoes but none came close to my idea of my transportation to Womanhood. I finally found a pair that could fit, and they were nothing like my vision. The heel was about 1" high, curved inward and had round toes, patent leather with a bow. My mother was thrilled: This is EXACTLY what she had in mind. I was not THRILLED. After all, my mother was responsible for my having those irrational thoughts--she is the one who had the cool shoes. I guess the only thing I thought these shoes had going for them was a bow, and there was no way these patent leather shoes would reflect my underwear, a common thought programmed into my head by the nuns at school. After I wrapped my mind around the fact that no linen shoes were in my immediate future, I quickly fell in love with my new shoes. I fall in love easily.

I then turned my active imagination to going to church on Sunday. I was already entertaining visions of how the rest of the congregation was going to be wowed when they saw my feet. Sunday just couldn't get here fast enough. Then came the big day: and for once in my Dad's life, he didn't have to cajole me to get out of bed--I was ready to go in no time flat. I was wearing a horrible garter belt with hose and my new "cool" shoes. Let the show begin!

During church all I could think about was Communion and my moment walking down the aisle. What was the reaction? Probably nothing. But in my young mind, all eyes were following me.

I hadn't thought about those shoes in years until today. My hair stylist was wearing shoes with heels shaped just like my first. We laughed about that and then reflected that just as we fought hard for the right to wear big girl shoes, we couldn't wait to get OUT of heels. I love the days when I don't have to pull out heels, and flats will do just fine. I'm not ready for orthopedic shoes yet and Dr. Scholl's will just have to take a hike. I still putting my best foot forward and hiding my Achilles Heel.