Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

It has been another one of those weeks. I have no social life, but my calendar is always full. This past week it was funerals and funeral home visits. Three services in two days. I noticed something about the women who were in attendance. The younger the females are, the higher the heels.

We of a certain age know how that will end. When I was in my late 30’s I realized that all the years of wearing high heels had finally done a number on my feet. My left foot hurt almost all the time. I looked good, but only when in public. My shoes were under my desk more than on my feet. Finally, I realized instead of spelling the word vanity, I was writing my own name. I needed to rethink my attitude.

Awareness set in—along with the foot pain. I packed 167 pair of shoes and boots with heels and sent them all the Goodwill. One hundred sixty-seven pairs. Every color you could imagine. Every height and style of heel available. I had everything from two-inch to those four-inch heels, platforms, slingbacks, sandals, working on Friday night at the corner of Memorial and Ponce de Leon heels. You name it, I had them.

After the great closet clean-out, I began collecting flat shoes. All kinds of flats and sandals in every color and style. I don’t’ think I have quite approached my number of heels, but I am working on it.

I will confess I saved two pairs of high heels. One is a stunning pair of black velvet with patent leather stiletto heels. The second pair is silk. The foot box of the shoe is covered in a pheasant feather pattern. The colors are beautiful. Can I wear them? No, my feet have gotten flatter and wider due to pregnancy, old age, and extra weight. I can look at them, though. AND remember when I could.

Back to observations at the various funerals. One of Snell’s cousins was wearing a fabulous pair of black heels. Just beautiful. She is one of the most gracious and graceful people I know. She looked perfect. When everyone returned from the graveside service for the luncheon I noticed that she was considerably shorter. I looked down and she was wearing her house shoes. I loved it. Don’t you? Look good when you have to and then get comfortable.

A number of the young women were trying to walk around the cemetery and not sink those stilettos into the ground. Several almost fell over. The ladies looked like those little sandpiper beach birds with the long legs. The birds lift their feet high in the air before carefully stretching out one leg and placing their foot for the next step.

I noticed several of the more comfort /less cuteness minded people had changed into flats before they got out of the cars at the cemetery. Many of them continued to wear those flats at the luncheon. A few put heels back on, though. A number of younger women went barefoot.

We all go through stages of fashion in our lives. At one of the post-funeral lunches, I was sitting with several women about my age. We were looking at the various shoes and discussing fashion as it changes with age. Someone asked if we were able to wear heels again, would we? The consensus was, even knowing what it was doing to our feet, yes, we would. Maybe not as often as we did, but we’d love to cram our feet in those fancy pain-makers again.

High heels are a symbol of sexiness, youthfulness, just downright being dressed up and pretty. Mama would say “finished.” Your shoes finished the outfit.

Another good point about wearing high heels. There is nothing that feels as good as when you kick them off. Sigh.