Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shoes, Wonderful Shoes

A recent advertisement for a shoe company in town brought back memories. As you can see in the photo the wedge is popular now.  The style is similar to ones I wore in 1954 when I began teaching in a very small community near Oxford, MS.

Newly married, I had moved with R to the student housing, not the best at that time but cheap. I had a job teaching in an unincorporated school district. To offset the few students I was assigned to, the principal asked me tobe the librarian. I had to enroll in two three-hour courses in June to be able to hold such a “responsible” job.

Already I had  two years of experience behind me in the Delta  in small communities, but this one near the University of Mississippi was a pitiful example of how necessary this district needed to incorporate with larger ones. This particular school began in July and released the students in the fall for one month so kids could help with crops.  I wore my coolest clothing, as those days didn’t see air conditioners in school buildings. Topping my outfits were my lightest shoes, straw wedges.  I wore them every day because they were easy to slip on and off.  My job as librarian rarely saw me out of a chair, hence, removal of my shoes when no one was looking.

In the six short weeks I was employed, the local teachers let me know that I was too dressed up. The students had never seen shoes like mine;” citified” was barking loudly around me.  I ignored their remarks, not understanding how anyone thought I was citified. I did speak better English—was that it, really?

Those shoes lasted the rest of the warm fall and the following spring when I was teaching in Jackson, Mississippi, where I transferred . Now, 57 years later this style is popular again. You can bet I’ll have another pair like the ones above, not to celebrate my teaching in the country, but to remember an early time in my life.

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