Well Heeled.

Hmm, another day here which is warm outside but cold in my house, I like the way that works out in the summer time. It’s always cool in my house, but in the spring, fall & winter it’s a little too cool, I can put on a sweater & wear my shoes in the house (I hate doing so though) but I can’t keep my fingers warm! Which makes it difficult to type. Maybe as I move my fingers they’ll warm up!


I was amused while watching ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ to hear the main character refer to the women at her business as ‘clackers’ when her boyfriend looked askance at the phrase she explained that they are called that because of the sound of their heels on the floors in the office. This amused me beacuse one of my favorite sounds is that of high heels clacking with purpose across floors. (wooden for the most part) As a child living with my parents, brother & grandparents in the same house, one of my earliest memories is of hearing my Grandmother ‘clacking’ around the downstairs in the very early morning getting ready to go to work. When I was young she & my Grandfather got up at 5 am or earlier to get ready to go to work in Boston for the day. They rode the Plymouth & Brockton bus line into the city together & went their separate ways, him to the hotel he worked as a bellhop in & she to a hospital in Jamacia Plain as a billing/collections agent. Often her heels clacking would wake me up & I’d venture downstairs to say hi before they went off to work leaving me on the couch watching tv if it was late enough that there was anything but news on, sometimes looking out the window counting the few cars going by at that early hour & wondering where they were going to.

phil-1937017.jpgIn later years, after my Grandfather died my grandmother rode with a few different people who also worked at the same hospital & lived near us. She would also have my Father take her to the nearest T station (Braintree) about 12 miles away. I would often go along for the ride because on a normal basis, being homeschooled I didn’t get out much (My brother & I routinely went & were excited to go grocery shopping with my Father because it was an excuse to get out of the house) Travel, even just to the Braintree T & back home, coupled with an excuse to talk to my Father for awhile was great even when it required leaving a warm bed at 6 am.

pk1968162.jpg After having miss 17 which I did out of wedlock, living with my grandmother in Haverhill MA. I would hear her clacking around downstairs while I was supposed to be ‘napping while the baby napped’ I mostly read or if I did doze off it would be about 10 minutes before baby woke up anyway. Though I learned that bringing the baby to the bed to nurse would usually buy you a little more dozing time. (I realized with the subsequent babies that a crib has it’s place on occasion but especially in the first few months it’s a lot easier to just have the baby with you in the bed in the first place) Always though, that clacking was a comfort sound, not an interruption or disturbance.

pc1975161.jpg High Heels & Good Shoes were a bastion in my grandmother’s life, she used to tell me she did all of her housekeeping when my mother & uncles were young, in 3 inch heels, her calf muscles had shortened so that if she walked barefoot, in slippers or flat shoes it actually hurt her like wearing heels hurt me. She told me often of how she always wore 3 inch heels when she ran the boys clothing department of one of the department stores in Haverhill, 8 hours a day in heels, up & down stairs to the stock room & back, And she walked to work & back again, plus back & forth midday for lunch. All in high heels.

My Grandmother despaired of me often, I am a barefoot person, the last pair of heels I bought was for a wedding in 1996, I was not sorry at all when our puppy chewed them to pieces in 1998 either. I haven’t bought any more. I just don’t like them. For my grandmother’s funeral I forgot to bring my favorite ‘dressy’ moccasins & so had to go to a payless store & get a pair of shoes. They’re still under the drivers seat in my car where I kicked them off after the graveside services. I haven’t put them back on since, they’re ok to look at but they pinch the sides of my feet so I won’t be wearing them. I’ll be glad when it’s warm enough to wear sandals again because I hate how sneakers look with skirts & dresses but when I wear dresses & skirts to work that is what I am wearing because I won’t wear those pinching flats.

pl1990160.jpg My Grandmother also had long, strong, well manicured nails, last summer I did a manicure for her before we ended our vacation time with her & I’m glad I got to do so one last time. This was another area where I was a disappointment, I’ve always bitten my nails & don’t really see an end in sight, my grandmother used to promise me manicures from her manicurist, my own manicure set & cash if I’d just stop biting & peeling & let my nails grow. I never could do it. I have had acrylic nails put on multiple times & that made my grandmother happy, but when I was married I never had enough money to maintain them for very long & the last time I had them (2003- a few years after the ex left) I had the money to maintain them but after 7-8 months I was bored with keeping them polished & going every other week to have them filled. Since I don’t bite them & can’t peel them when I have the acrylics on I started filling them myself to let the nails grow out under the acrylics, I soaked off the last of the acrylics in July & had a set of weak but longish nails of my very own. Then we went camping. After 5 days of maintaining a campfire, swimming, cooking over the campfire for 4 kids & myself (17 brought a friend) My nails were all gone, broken, split, peeling off on their own. I gave up completely, I’d rather be comfortable & enjoy myself than worry about chipping or breaking a nail!

Picture Notes: first picture is of my grandmother as a baby,(1918 or -19) #2 is of her in her wedding dress with her boquet, (1937) #3 is my grandparents with me (1968) #4 My grandparents together (1975 or so) #5 is my grandmother with miss 17 on her first Christmas (1990)


10 thoughts on “Well Heeled.

  1. Wow…I can’t imagine trying to do housework in heels…but then I can’t imagine wearing heels, period. I think I wore them once, for my sister’s wedding, but halfway through the reception my mother saw the error in that when I fell for the umpth time… 😉

    Here via Michele’s today 🙂

  2. Great pics of Phil. She was something else. I think of her every time I pass the birthplace. I can still picture her in the kitchen, with one hand on the back of the chair, chatting while you and I made dinner.

  3. I try not to wear anything with a heel. I hate them, too–and they tend to break. And they’re so uncomfortable. LOVED DWP, though. great flick.

  4. What a great story of your GrandMa and I love the pictures too.
    I actually LOVE heels too. I feel special in them and powerful!!

  5. You’ve captured some very powerful memories here, Becky. In doing so, you’ve reminded us why our history is so important, and why it’s so important to preserve it as best we can.

    Visiting from Michele’s tonight. So glad I did.

  6. Love the pix and the story. Your grandmother looks very elegant and I’m sure you gave her a lot of joy. I have finally got my nails in order by massaging cream into the nails and cuticles. It’s taken months but it’s worth it and they look presentable and are stronger.
    We have a cool house also – no double glazing.
    Michele says hil!

  7. This is a great post, and I particularly like the black & whites.

    My mom stayed home with us kids during the day, so the sound of her pump heels hitting our linoleum kitchen floor signified the fact that it was Sunday and she was ready for church.

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