Thursday, February 10, 2011


Many funny confessions were heard after my last post, Bundle up.

I heard stories from people who grew up in the same era I did who related to going to school in sub-zero weather, clad only in a short skirt, sweater, fashionable jacket, and nothing on their legs or feet but a pair of slip-on flats.

The dress code of our day did not allow for girls to wear slacks to school. Only once in four years of high school did I wear slacks. That was the day our home ec class was practicing first aid and Mrs. Cuthbert said those who acted as patients could wear slacks. I volunteered to be a patient.

The first confession came from Evelyn: "Mom used to make my sister and I wear our boots to the bus, but we switched to our flats before the bus came and hid our boots in the snow bank."

Then I heard from Sonia: "I remember my mother insisting on cold winter mornings that I tie on my scarf--the heavy kind we folded into a triangle and tied under our chin--it was cold out, she said. And scolding me to button my coat--all the way up--even the top button. I'd argue each day, then finally do as she ordered. But as soon as I was down the block and out of her sight, the scarf would come off and the coat would be unbuttoned. I'd have died of embarrassment, I was sure, if my friends saw me bundled up that way!"

But what my friends don't know, or perhaps never suspected, was the secret I've carried with me all these years.

My mother took me to a podiatrist to check my feet. Why, I don't know. There was nothing wrong with my feet.

But good old Dr. Leibold said I really should be wearing "wedge" shoes. The type that old ladies wore. The type I would not wear, even today, much less be caught dead in them in high school. Horrors!

But my mother took me to an orthopedic shoe store and bought me gray "wedgies." And insisted I wear them. To school. To school!

And no amount of crying did any good to break her resolve.

So I would put them on in the morning, stuff my flats into my bucket purse, head out the door, remove the gray wedgies, hide them in the bushes in our front yard, change into my flats, and carry on with my day.

Of course, returning home, I'd have to sneak back into the yard, retrieve the ugly gray shoes and put them back on. Noone the wiser.

Only my sister, Christine, shared my secret.

Now I thought my mother was very cruel to make me go through all that. The truth is, I'm now mature enough to realize she had my health at heart and, despite the gray wedgies, I love her dearly.

And we all knew our mothers loved us when they insisted we tie those scarves, suggested we wear leggings (gasp) in the cold, or boots, mittens, and so on.

But weren't they just so out of touch with reality, though?

With the dress "code" - or lack thereof - today, what can a mother say?