September / 2003
Kindred Spirits

Happy feet
by: Teresa Bell Kindred

Six-year-old Molly loves to play dress up. She has a pair of high heels she adores. In fact, she likes wearing them so much that if her mother really wants to punish her for misbehaving she tells Molly, “No high heels for three days!” And Molly runs off crying.

Personally, if someone wanted to punish me for misbehavior the ultimate torture would be making me wear a pair of high heels for three days. Which caused me to wonder, just who invented high heels anyway?

I did a little research and learned that the first high heels arrived on the fashion scene around 1533 when Catherine de’Medici married the Duke of Orleans. Catherine was so tiny she wore two-inch heels to make her appear taller. “Bloody Mary,” Queen of England during the mid-1500s, also wore heels to increase her height and before long both men and women were wearing shoes with high heels.

In Italy around this same time a style called chopines became popular. These shoes had pedestals of cork or wood as tall as 24 inches! A Venetian lady wearing a pair of these babies needed two servants just to help her get in and out of a gondola.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Since the days of chopines we’ve gone from pointed-toed shoes to platforms and back again. You can buy a cheap pair of shoes at your local discount store for a few bucks or go to a designer shoe store and pay thousands. Some women have hundreds of pairs of shoes in their closets, and for that matter, so do men.

Thankfully, around 1865 the sneaker was invented. I don’t know about the rest of you folks but if my feet aren’t happy, nothing on this old body is happy. I buy the same kind of style and sneaker each time I need a pair—plain solid white.

My teens think I’m nuts to buy such boring sneakers when there are so many choices on the market but I tell them that’s one of the benefits of being a mid-life mom. I’m not out to impress anybody.

Besides, if I want to dress up, I can always buy colored shoelaces.

Teresa Bell Kindred is a wife, mom, and teacher. Her latest book is Mom:PHD: Leadership Skills for Moms. Visit her online at www.teresakindred.com.