Thursday, March 23, 2017

On The Heels of Winter

Memphis weather is fickle if not bitchy at times. One day, spring has sprung with all of its warmth, color and glory, and the next day Mother Nature is on her period and brings us a cold snap complete with ice and snow. Everyone rushes out to the stores to pick up their emergency stock of bread and milk in case they die in the tragic freeze (which lasts until about 6 p.m.), then it's back to business as usual. Spring comes in on the heels of winter, rarely a smooth transition but once it begins to even out, the short magical spell lasts maybe a week or two before rushing head first into the melt of summer, which is hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hell...
  *(with a side of mud and bugs).

Through this sweet handful of days where we get to feel that hope, perfect temperatures and spirit of renewal, I am usually reminded of a few delightful childhood memories.

This morning I was reflecting on just one particular such memory, which I am pretty certain was about 6th grade (I wanted to say fifth but I am embarrassed to say I can't say for sure).

When you're 10 or 11, and your Mom takes you for that first pair of official "heels", the excitement is just immeasurable. In fact, everything you get to do as a kid seems magical that way. They were little, tan leather "slip on" heels (my first "Candie's"). I couldn't wait to wear them, learn to walk in these heels. I felt like such a grown up. Though they were slip-ons, I remember trying them out with hosiery. Back then, I always thought my legs looked so great with the stockings on since I've always been pale, the stockings made me feel tan. Not so much now, I hate tangling with them, profusely! You might catch me giving in to the need for hosiery on special occasions, if you're lucky. So anyways, little me... I clomped around in my amazing grown-up little high heeled shoes, really thinking I was 'somethin else' as we say in the south. I practiced as much as possible, and tried feverishly to get as good as my mother at walking in these big girl heels. 

When I say my mother amazed me, seriously, she had a closet full of so many types of heels (all classy, my mother was indeed no slouch). Some had the tiniest little 'nail-like' quality to them, some were normal, and some of course were thicker. I wonder if she had ever thrown away a pair of shoes. It looked to me like she kept every pair from all eras, and I was just hypnotized.

I think her favorite shoes to wear were these cute little black boots, not but just over the ankle, guess you could call them "granny boots". She settled on a pair and wore them, thus actually rocking them with almost any outfit. She wore them during her time working as one of the "demo ladies" at Walmart, she wore them with jeans, pant suits, skirts. You name it.
She wore them so much the heels wore down to a frazzle. It was at this point that I, being the admirable doting daughter I was, took them to a local cobbler near where I worked, and had the heels redone so she could wear them even longer.

As much as I admired my mother's ability to completely win at the heel game, and even though she taught us to always dress as classy as possible, I still never really got the hang of heels, nor did I develop a very big passion for shoes, or shopping. To this day, the thought of having to go pick out new outfits and shoes leaves me in dread, my attitude quite lackluster. It's really sad because I would give anything to carry it all off the way she did.

So here I am at work on a pretty warm day, still early in this season just thinking of all of these delightful things that such a hopeful time of year can bring to mind. Missing my Mom and Dad, because they're the two biggest reasons I had such an amazing childhood. Yes, here I sit in my not-truly-appropriate for office flat tennis shoes, reminiscing on a time (some lovely time somewhere in the south in spring) that a hopeful "young lady", still unscathed by the harsh realities of life was there, trying to find a little glamour and grace, trying to learn to walk or rather, 'spring in' to young adulthood on the cool heels of winter.

I Miss My Childhood,

Aunt Jackie (Jax)



3 comments:

  1. Your post brought to mind the time I begged Mum to buy me a pair of brown clogs (early 80s, I was still in elementary school). All the girls were wearing them, so I wanted a pair desperately. She was so worried and rightfully so, I could barely walk in them. It was like a self-imposed fashion punishment. lol!

    I bought my first proper pair of heels with her when I was in middle school—I think it was 6th grade too. I practiced hard walking in those shoes (my brother kept trying to steer me and shield me from falling) but never got the hang of it. Like you, to this day I still rarely wear heels and going shoe shopping fills me with dread.

    But like your mom, my mom too could carry of the heels and fashion thing so beautifully. I miss shopping with Mum so much.

    I ❤ reading about your childhood in Memphis, Jackie. Lovely post. Beautiful memories.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love warm memories like that, Chelly, and I am glad it made you remember something so close to your heart too. They're always with us in spirit, wherever we go <3

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