More than a quarter century ago, I teased my good friend, Sister Libby, about her ugly nun shoes. Indignant, she claimed that she wore orthotics because she had bad feet. At the time, I walked around in medium-high heels, leaning decidedly towards the pointy-toed kind. High heels gave way to fashionable flats and wide sneakers. The flats disappeared quickly, as my hammerhead toes rebelled against being squeezed into short toe boxes. Then I tore an Achilles tendon jumping on a trampoline—do not jump on a trampoline when you are close to seventy years of age! After dragging around a walking cast for six months, I ended up wearing open-heeled shoes for the next three years.
When I no longer needed backless shoes, I discovered Merrel footwear and booties—those cute little half-boot, low-heeled shoes. I scoured shoe departments and online shoe sales, amassing a goodly number of sneakers and booties—more sneakers and booties then I could wear out in two lifetimes. Some of my shoes still have the price stickers attached and have never been out of their boxes.
I viewed my shoe racks with great satisfaction and a smidgeon of buyer’s remorse. I had a lot of shoes. In the end, heredity struck. My family’s notoriously ugly feet and hammerhead, overlapping toes— exacerbated by arthritis—ended all hopes of normal shoe wearing. It was ugly nun shoes for me, along with pricey orthotics and soft slippers.
Although I have baskets of shoes waiting to go to Goodwill, I am no Imelda Marcos, who—as Time magazine reported—left behind 1,060 pairs of shoes when she fled Malacañang Palace in the Philippines. I do, however, owe Sister Libby an apology.