24 Aug

I knew I was in trouble when I turned 13.   I knew, that from here on out – things would be different.  Soon, I’d have to resort to wrapping my feet in paper grocery bags.  

I was no longer a size 10, I’d grown into a size 11.  And Burdines did not carry any 11’s.  

Of course, I knew this day was coming.  I’d known since I was 10 years old and in the fifth grade.  My mother let me wear her white sandals to school, since they matched my pink and white polka dot shorts so well (don’t judge, it was the eighties).  I was SO excited to be wearing grown up shoes!  I practically skipped everywhere I went, leading with the bright white strappy sandals, tra la la!  Aren’t I special?!  These are my MOM’S shoes?!

At the time I hadn’t realized how utterly FREAKISH it was for a child to be able to wear her Mom’s shoes.  

Cut to a few days later and I can hear my mother shrieking from her closet, “OHMYGOD!  What did you do to my shoes!”

She came charging down the hallway, shaking her shoe at me.  “LOOK!  YOU STRETCHED THEM OUT!  What were you doing in them?!”  She was so upset with me and I was horrified I’d ruined her shoes. You see, my Mom is a tomboy.  She exists in cut-off shorts, t shirts and flip flops.  Honestly, as far as fashion goes?  I was screwed from the very beginning.

So I’d stretched out her shoes and I was mortified.  I loved those shoes!  And now she’d never let me wear them again!

“I didn’t do anything Mom!  I swear I just went to school!  I’m sorry.”

My mother placed one hand on her hip and looked at me and sighed.  “Well, I guess your feet have just gotten way too big.  We can’t share shoes anymore.”  She shrugged. 

I had stretched out my mother’s size 9.5 shoes.  At ten years old.  I was Sasquatch. 

So at 13, we’re wandering through the mall and getting nowhere.  I’d stopped looking at the shoe selection at this point – it was no use.  I simply walked right up to the sales lady and asked, “What’s the largest size you carry?”


That’s the largest size you could get in a department store at the time.  A size 10.  I was horrified!  I am going into high school!  How am I going to make it through my high school years with a size 11 foot!

One shoe store attendant offered to measure my foot, she was a nice older lady who must have taken pity on such a sad looking frumpy thirteen year old.   

“Well,” my new friend said, “you’re not QUITE an 11, yet.  The problem is your feet are so WIDE!  But, I think I can find a shoe for you in a 10 Wide that just might work.”

Great, so my feet are giant and wide and basically – I’m a beast. 

So finally, we managed to find the ugliest pair of white shoes in the store, but they fit.

And let me clarify – these shoes are not ugly because of the size.  No – these shoes are ugly because of the year this story is taking place:  1991.  Basically the year fashion took a nap.

I would get there eventually, a solid size 11.  My sophomore year proved to be the year that I’d fully grow into a size 11.  But by that time, I’d looked around.  We found a store that specialized in larger sizes, the only problem was they were expensive.  And the only store I could shop in that didnt sell sneakers. 

And when I graduated high school?  I had settled into a fully developed size 12 foot. 

My giant expanding feet never escaped the attention of my peers though.  I was taunted by the rather amateurish taunts of “Bigfoot,” “Sasquatch,” “Giant.”  None were creative, all were cruel.  But I couldn’t deny it.  My feet were huge.

I’ve spent a lifetime of trying to finding the perfect shoe, ever since I sat in a Stride Rite and watched the surprise of a cocked eyebrow as the shoe attendant measured my enormous toddler feet.  I had NO IDEA back them I was on a path to always wanting, never having.

 Because you see, I can never be Sarah Jessica Parker with a closet full of shoes.  Sure, I can hit Payless and endure the blisters and stinky feet.  And I do, on the regular.  But I can’t shop at 9 West and squeal over “such a deal!”  And the DWS commercials are a cruel taunt.  “Where’d you get those shoes?” is there ad campaign.  I’ll tell you, where.  I’m at Nordstrom, dropping $250 on a gorgeous pair of leather pumps and squirreling them away to my home while I pet them while purring like Gollum “My Precious!!!!!!” 

 Nordstrom is my goldmine for shoe shopping. And the internet, but shoe shopping on the internet is like dating on the internet. The picture sometimes doesn’t represent the product, and you can get blisters

 I wish I could tell that little 13 year old to just hang in there, in a few years we’ll have the newfangled thing called “The internet” and you can buy any shoe in the world you want, if it’s in your size. 


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