Sunday, January 16, 2011
Red tennis shoes
For some reason I have been thinking of childhood humiliations lately. And my mother who is coming up on her 94th birthday. Take first grade as an example--a year of many humiliations. My mother insisted I wear red tennis shoes to school that year even though the dress code stated girls and boys were to wear brown shoes. "Girls and boys should run around at recess. Hard shoes are not good for running, so my daughter is not wearing hard brown shoes," my mom said. For the first weeks of school the teacher would phone my mother every day to complain about my red shoes. She also said my skirts were more than two inches above my knees. And my hair needed to be combed. I had a permanent cow lick that the teacher once hosed down with Aqua Net. But the worst was the day when my mom picked me up, and my teacher came to the car to tell Mom that the treads of my tennis shoes were caked with cow manure. "What cow manure?" my mother asked, looking at my shoes which were coated with brown crusts and had a little bit of hay sticking out the sides. "Well," Mom said after a moment of silence. "It looks like she's wearing brown shoes today, doesn't it?"