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By the time I turned 16, I was 6‘2” tall.  I told everyone I was 5‘11” because a) it was tall, but not freakishly tall and b) I didn’t know of any woman who was over 6’ tall.

Along with being tall came the issue of shoes.  sigh  I'm a 12.  Yeah, I know.  My Mom & Grams used to tell me "If your feet were any smaller, you'd fall over."  At the time, I'd have gladly fallen over.  Over and over!  All through junior high and 9th grade, I wore white Nike tennis shoes with a blue or red swoosh.  That's all I could find!  Payless Shoes was non-existent.  So, I suffered in tennis shoes.  At the end of 9th grade, I had discovered catalogs.  Fairly decent shoes in my size.  Through these catalogs, I discovered the espadrille.  The gorgeous canvas shoe with the slight heel wrapped in rope.  Oh, how I longed for a pair of espadrilles!  Sadly, espadrilles were only offered up to a size 10.  

The summer of 1982 found my family in Baltimore for vacation.  We had decided to do our back-to-school shopping there - no doubt we’d find ‘cool’ stuff not available in RiverCity!  While browsing the windows, I happened upon a shoe store with espadrilles.  The very same espadrilles I’d been drooling over for months in catalogs were now right in front of my face, begging to be touched.  I walked in.

“Taupe espadrilles in size 10 please.”  

The box suddenly appeared, containing my beloved espadrilles.  “I’m sorry, we only have white in size 10.”  No matter!  Canvas.  Easily cleanable.

I carefully opened the box, peeling back the packing paper which covered my espadrilles.  Sparkling white, perfectly wrapped rope around the heel, the smell of canvas.  Ahhh!  Afraid to touch them, but anxious to put them on, I pulled the shoes out of the box.  I couldn’t get the stockings on my feet fast enough.  

Breathe.

Gulp.

I shoved...I mean I gingerly slipped my foot into the espadrille.  It fits!  It fits!  This must be how Cinderella felt.  Filled with such elation, I put on the other shoe.  It fits!  It fits!  I stood up.  Ok...this is good.  I walked a couple of steps. Ok...this is good too.  I turned and walked back.  I could not stop staring at the espadrilles.  The shoes I wanted were on my feet !  

Now, while this is going on, my Mom and sister are clucking: they don’t fit, they‘re too small, your toes are scrunched at the top, etc.  My feet.  I’m fine.  My espadrilles.  Oh, happy day!  I have espadrilles, I have espadrilles!

Fast-forward to the first or second week of school.  I am decked out in my new outfit, complete with white espadrilles and I look good.  I made it through 1st and 2nd periods with no problem (solely due to the fact that the classes were across the hall from one another and very close to my locker).  3rd period?  That didn’t go as well.  I hobbled...I mean I had to walk to the middle of the campus.  Luckily, I was in the office, so sitting offered sweet relief.  The rest of the day was all downhill from there.  

By the time school was over, I was cursing my espadrilles.  I couldn’t walk, I was in such pain.  I shuffled home.  Like a geisha.

Hell yeah, I wore those espadrilles again!



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