A Life in Shoes

I love shoes. They’ve marked some important events in my life. When I got my tonsils removed at age three, I got white sandals for being brave. I wanted to race out of the hospital, but my daddy carried me. I can still remember what they looked like on my pudgy little feet.

Growing up, I had two pairs of shoes, one brown pair for everyday school shoes and Mary Jane black ones for church. I know those shoes were probably two more than other kids had, but I can admit it now–I wanted more. When I turned thirteen, my parents gave me black patent French heels for my birthday, and  even though my younger brother insisted we could only love people and not things, I looooooved them. My everyday shoes were cordovan penny loafers, but I thought of myself as an uptown girl, so I put silver dimes in them instead of copper pennies. ( I had no idea what an uptown girl was, but I felt sure she’d prefer silver to copper.)

When I graduated from college and bought my own wardrobe, I began buying shoes in larger numbers, but they were from discount stores, made of imitation leather that made my feet sweat. Smelly feet, however, were a small price to pay for 3-inch heels with tiny slingback straps in red, white, taupe, navy, gold, pink, lavender, silver, and black. I was twenty-one teaching high school seniors who were seveneen, eighteen and nineteen. I needed the height.

I moved from teaching into administration in my thirties, enabling me to buy good Italian leather shoes. My favorite was a pink and white Bally high-heel number from Neiman Marcus. I also purchased slinky sandals and sturdy atheletic shoes in both bold and muted colors. As they say from where I come from, I was in high cotton.

Now that I’m nearing retirement, I no longer buy high-heels–or to be honest, mid-heels. I need to be extra careful about keeping my balance. It’s a much harder fall at my age and further down, too. So I’m wearing flats again. My favorite are a pair of Mary Janes. They’re comfortable and the crossover straps keep them snug on my feet.

Oh, and I have three pairs of low-heel leather cowboy boots: one in a red, white, and blue Lone Star design, one in blood red, and one Ostrich pair in honey brown.  After all, I am a Texas woman, y’all.