Black Shoes

I never considered myself a popular kid in school. I blame this on the black shoes. They were boys shoes, clunky and black.  I was diagnosed with flat feet. In the 50’s that would keep you out of the military as a man and as a woman, it would make it hard on me to carry all the weight of pregnancy. It wshoesas considered a pretty serious problem.  My mother hauled me off to the podiatrist, who recommended exercises and orthotics. I faithfully did my exercises everyday – 20 toe raises and 20 foot curls. Looking down afterwards I would notice that they were still flat.
My mother wanted me to have sturdy shoes. I played hard and she wanted these shoes to last. I wanted the black & white oxfords. She headed for the boys shoes. “These,” she said, and pointed at the black boys shoes. No matter how I cried, she wouldn’t budge.  My mother was a farm girl. Built big like most good German farm girls. She was practical, not good with social situations and had a knack for humiliating me. I could cleverly hide them under my desk during class, but at recess, I had to hurry outside and sit down on the playground with my feet tucked up under my skirt so the other kids wouldn’t stare at me.  Those shoes were just one of the many things my mother felt was needed for a proper, healthy lifestyle.
I can’t remember what age I was when she finally just checked out on my up-bringing to “discover” herself.  Luckily for me, it was before I attended high school.  But….that’s another story.

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