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The first shoes I recall owning were not Jimmy Choos or Prada or even Kenneth Coles. I wore brown hand-me-down orthopedic oxfords. Everyone else was sporting these cute little paten leather Mary Janes and I’d come clunking along in my orthopedic oxfords. And not just sometimes. They were the only pair of shoes I owned. My mother was a product of the depression and there was nothing wasted in our house. Two pair of shoes were simply out of the question. No sneakers, no cute little black sporty numbers for a change of pace. Just standard issue basic brown orthopedic oxfords. You can imagine how attractive I felt going to church in them with my blue pleated mini skirt and my canary yellow stockings. I don’t think I would have minded so much if there had been a purpose to this exercise, but as far as I can glean to this day, I got them because my sister needed them. Therefore, it somehow followed that I must need them too.

My sister was born toeing in – badly. They actually had to break her legs or her hips or something and straighten them. Her legs were wrapped in casts and her orthopedic oxfords were nailed to a board so she walked by wiggling the board back and forth, but she didn’t toe in anymore. At night she was tied to the bed so she didn’t roll over in her sleep. So, how come I’m the one in therapy and she seems normal? Maybe it’s because of her Yogi Bear. She obviously couldn’t ride a tricycle like most kids, so my parents bought her a ride on plastic Yogi Bear on wheels. She’d whip around the kitchen on that thing like there was no tomorrow. Of course, it was a rare and very special occasion when I was allowed on the great beast and only after it was old and beat up, having bashed its nose into the stove one too many times.....

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  • Written by: Joyce Storey

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