Monday, June 27, 2011

White out.

In the seventh grade I was all about white high heeled shoes.

Why?

EVERYBODY WAS WEARING THEM in Tampa, Florida.

Seriously, every twelve year old girl was clomping clumsily down the hallways to and from their classes at Young Junior High School in bright white “pumps.”

We never referred to them as “heels” or “high heels”, oh no, these were pumps – a term that I still sometimes mistakenly use to the amusement of others.

Classy with a capital C.
And White with a capital W.

There was an English teacher at Young named Mrs. Calver who would reprimand us girls when we didn’t walk correctly in our white pumps. She was an older African American woman with giant glasses on a gold chain. She would rotate the same five outfits each week and had no business talking about anyone’s shoes giving anybody any sort of fashion advice.

Apparently not only was she the English teacher, she was also the authority of how to properly walk.

“You girls pick up your feet when you walk in the halls, they can hear your stomping around over at the high school,” Mrs. Calver would bark. “Let me show you how to walk in pumps! Heel to toe, heel to toe, you girls are all going toe-heel, toe-heel and that’s what causing that horrible sound you are all making.”

Mrs. Calver was really sensitive to the sounds our feet made, and it obviously made her crazy because she commented on it five days a week comparing us to “cattle”, a “herd of buffalo”, and a “DAMN MARCHING BAND.”

Sometimes she would take a long ruler and try and trip us saying, “Pick up those feet! You better learn how to walk right in those shoes!”

This school was very different from the school that I had just left back in New York.

No teacher had ever tried to trip me with a ruler before.

Those white pumps would get black scuff marks all over them from not knowing how to walk properly in them. We girls would get to work with either Liquid Paper or our Wet ‘n Wild white nail polish and become little cobblers, making our white pumps shiny and new again.

Tip: Your pumps look more white
when paired with dingy gray ankle socks.

Believe it or not, these shoes were not of the highest quality. Purchased from Volume Shoe Store in the strip mall at Northdale Plaza, I would replace them on what seemed to be a weekly basis. Besides getting scuffed up and looking dirty and awful these shoes also got terribly smelly, as they were not even close to actual leather so your feet would sweat in the Florida heat. The girls’ locker room was the last place you would want to be when all of us took our stinky white pumps off to change.

Today my taste in pumps…I mean heels…is much more sophisticated.

I can get excited like Carrie Bradshaw when I pass a window and see a sexy pair of Jimmy Choos just like the rest of them.

But you never forget your first time. And ugly white pumps, I will never forget you.

And Mrs. Calver, I still hear your voice in my head anytime I am walking in a public place and hear someone clomping along. It is now a pet peeve of mine, thanks for that.

Maybe I should think about carrying a ruler.






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