“Who’s Barefoot Now…?” written by Linda Willows…..Just Sweet Memories


from Linda, Just Sweet Memories

When I was a child growing up in the Deep South, my sister and me, who were always fitted with the most awful black lace-up “Stride-Right” shoes during the School Year, would liberate ourselves during the long hot Summer. Barefoot Bonanza! We joyously freed anything that hindered our adventures or threatened restriction. Barefoot, all the world is barefoot in the long hot summer!

Most of our friends on the block were allowed to wear “flip-flops” but our mother insisted that they were bad for our feet. Since we, like everyone our age, held them in very high esteem, we took to drawing pictures of flip-flops and pretended that they were ours. My sister and I had a lot of imagination and I loved drawing. I had already developed the amusement of making drawings of “life” as I wished it would be! It was fun.

Barefoot was the best indoor outdoor choice, even if I did change my outfits two or three times a day; no worries about matching footwear. I had an impulse that I needed to change something but could not quite understand what. OK, I was vain. My father thought that I was wonderful and made no secret of it.

I remember the cool moist feel of the thin grass in the front yard and the feeling of the bark as I climbed up my favorite tree; the breeze as it floated through my toes which I later learned to dance on. Good strong feet from a healthy shoe!

Both my sister and I had our quirks. She obsessed about flip-flops and eventually designed a pair for each of us made out of cardboard and string. We proudly wore them around the neighborhood. What could my mother say, she didn’t want to stifle creativity. Later, I would be stuffing those same feet into two sizes smaller Pointe Shoes with practice every day for the rest of my time. I did become the ballet dancer in the pictures.

And I, always trying to design everything, wasn’t satisfied with the grass in front of our home so I got a pair of scissors and cut the front lawn by hand, blade by blade. It was a magnificent achievement. I have no idea what the neighbors thought. I sensed that good thick grass was one of life’s important things and if you had it you get many points. (no pun intended) If it was thick and mowed I developed an admiration beyond my years. I had an eye for “edging and trimming things too” but no available instruments at that age.

I continued the practice of drawing scenes of how I would like myself or life to be. It was always pleasurable to live inside these pictures of mine. I could be anything I desired. Imagine, I became a great ballet dancer, had long, long hair was thin and perfect, (!) had lots of friends and a beautiful room with and central air conditioning (no one had that in New Orleans in those days!) and a pool of course. Oh, it was a great life there in my sketchbook!

Note: I made a sketch of what my husband would look like many years before, (later when I was in my late teens) and it did look quite similar. None of the others were true, just fancy and fun. And the husband, well…it didn’t turn out. I should have seen the all the indiscretions and ripped trust. The paper portrait is gone, shredded some years ago.

However, I still am barefoot. And I love flip-flops. I have about a  half a dozen pairs and no one can pry me from them, gaudy, gold, bangles, fluffy or not. Exception: when I lived overseas in certain cultures, you may not show your toes or feet, especially on the bottom! I thought that fair. I brought “school shoes” to blend. One good lesson about bare feet is to be aware of your surroundings. If you are going to bare your sole, please try to be sweet!

©2012 Linda Willows

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13 thoughts on ““Who’s Barefoot Now…?” written by Linda Willows…..Just Sweet Memories

  1. I love this, Linda. Where in the South? Most all my life, I’ve been barefoot. There’s nothing quite the same. As a kid, I could outrun anyone (even on gravel) in my bare feet. My husband swears my feet must be numb because even when there is a frost, I will walk barefoot to the mailbox (and he won’t walk barefoot to the kitchen). Being part Cherokee, I’ve come to the conclusion that the ground delights in my feet as much as they delight in the feel of the earth against them. I love flip flops and sandals too, and for work, it’s either boots or sandals (I refuse to spend any more money on things I despise)……. 🙂 Thank you for sharing such a tender and thoughtful memory. ~ Love, Bobbie

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  2. I felt that you might relate to this…it’s delightful to be barefoot! I grew up in New Orleans on a street close to a canal and Lake Ponchetrain…not there anymore but New Orleans such a colorful place, memories vivid then. Ahh, had a truumendus accaiint theyunnn.

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  3. Wonderful sharing about your experiences through life with various types of shoes. I, too, had to wear “corrective” Stride-Rites through the sixth grade. But I have wonderfully strong, straight feet and ankles now for running around in my summer garden bare-footed!

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    1. That is amazing. I didn’t even know that they were corrective. but yes through the sixth grade too! And I do have strong, straight feet that withstood all the labor of the dancing and toe shoes. My mother never mentioned “corrective”……we just had NO choice.

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  4. Ahh, Linda, my friend, what a delightful read to begin my day! I loved reading this! I would so have loved to have gone barefoot; and did occasionally on surfaces that wouldn’t hurt my feet too much. I’ve always had horrible feet – before I was adopted I only had shoes that were far too small for my small feet, and it caused many problems which have only become worse with time. Although I wore heels to work for many years they only caused more pain … these days I can only wear comfortable canvas or ‘ballet’ style shoes … but (unlike my poor feet) I like them to be pretty, lol. Really enjoyed this post – and I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately, I’ve been sick again. ~ Sending much love always, Julie xoxox

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  5. Love this post Linda! I don’t go barefoot much anymore but I do go around inside with just socks on nearly 24/7. LOL When I was a girl we were allowed to wear flip flops and I did only when the pavement was too hot in the summer, or going to the local pool; or to keep from stepping on stickers when running around by the lake. Such freedom! Now I put on shoes to be presentable in public–but flats only! My son says I’m an old hippie. 🙂 I’m thinking your creative spirit then as a child has had much to do with your life now. Look at how you’ve sketched your life…just beautiful!

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    1. thank you, such a wonderful and warm comment, Jeannie. I actually “drew” the apartment that I am in right now, but the balcony is missing, massive view of the sky and treetops instead; quite happy!!! Important to have simple pleasures, simple needs, big happiness!

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  6. This is an “Oh WOW” one, Linda–I really appreciate you sharing. And I do “barefoot” around the house–all year long! Love, Caddo

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