The word “shoes” obviously means different things to different people. When I was growing up, each autumn we would go with my dad to a local shoe store for the ritual of having our feet measured and fitted for new shoes. The store owner, a patient of my father, would always take care of us. There was no choice of what we would get, it was always the same: One pair of white tennis shoes, and one pair of saddle shoes. My earliest memories mirror each subsequent year. My dad, four daughters. The big excitement was “Who would be getting the NEW SHOES?” and Mr. Playmore would be the one making that determination. Inevitably, there would be a few pair of shoes that would be measured and assessed as “acceptable” … and become “hand-me-downs”.
Just because we could not choose a style of shoe did not mean this was a rapid process. For the four of us to be properly measured, fitted, sized, and assessed for two pairs of shoes – it took a good two hours. And the other customers in the shoe store (I remember timing their interactions – yes, I was into time management at an early age) were given the same consideration. Fitting shoes properly was a profession, a proper science. I knew at an early age that my left foot was larger than my right foot (unusual, so always ask for the left, not the right I was told) and that I had very narrow feet. If shoes were not fit properly, it could and would lead to many types of problems later in life, I was told. Maybe you are seeing that I hit the genetic jackpot – odd feet, very narrow. And my older sister is only 11 months older than me. Well, I will tell you now, I started to outgrow her around the age of 3. Yep, I had bigger feet. And narrow. And my left one was larger. ODD. At a very early age. And I loved it!! I inherited my mother’s feet!
This was all well and good until I started second grade at my school, the year my older sister transferred into MY school. Yes, we were in the same class, in a very small school, but that is another story. We obviously wore the same style shoes for class and for gym. And all the other girls didn’t. No one else had saddle shoes. Now had I been on my own, this probably never would have bothered me. But it bugged the hell out of my sister, especially since she was wearing the “hand-me-downs”. I never had contemplated my footwear compared to the other girls. I was the smartest one in the class, I had my niche. But my sister…Jenny stirred the pot on this one. And she got me on board to start questioning our parents about “why” we had to have saddle shoes. “Why” not some other type of shoe? Why not a different color? And on and on. Looking back, I see how she got me to do the questioning and campaigning, likely because I could present a rational argument…and sometimes just an argument. And leave her out of it altogether. Jennie was and still is, a master manipulator – and I bow to the master. I love you, Jennie 🙂
And that brings me around to today. Shoes. They should still be fit. My children were fit at the only store I knew that still provided that service – Stride Rite Shoes – until they outgrew the shoes there. Except for my daughter, Susan. She is Jennie. (And that scares me.) She wants the bright, shiny, sparkly shoes that they sell at the large stores that I don’t like to shop at. So my sisters bought her the glitter shoes. And the neighbors bought her more glitter shoes. And Susan, my non-INTJ daughter – I BOUGHT HER the shoes that were GOOD for her feet – but she would cram them into her “Dorothy” shoes (red sparkly) because she didn’t want to wear what I guess was, the equivalent of the “saddle shoe” – though she picked it out and promised she would wear it. My Susan…my dear non-INTJ daughter.
Time for a deep breath. I need them with Susan. I am not even close to the story I plan to tell about “shoes” and Susan and me. About us. About an INTJ mom and a non-INTJ daughter. (karma? hey, I really do try to be good.)
Let me ask this… Is there anyone else out there who had to wear saddle shoes and Red Ball Keds as a kid? God, those Keds were uncomfortable! Weren’t they? Were the saddle shoes a Catholic school thing??