retro photo month :: day eight

circa 1971

Aside from the obvious pose (most certainly directed by the photographer), there are two major things to note in this photo from 1971: my shoes and the scar on my right cheek. The shoes featured a lovely multi-tone pattern of navy blue (or black?) and dark red with thick laces and hard little heels on the back of the soles. They were corrective shoes, “prescribed” by a doctor to straighten out my feet in my earliest years of walking. I have no memory of them myself, but my mom says I hated them and cried when I had to wear them. I have seen enough photos of myself wearing the shoes that I only know how incredibly ugly they were, which should have been enough to bring the tears anyway. Featuring those shoes in a professional photo is truly indicative of this period in my life, and it says a lot about my mom, as well. Some mothers would have put cute little shoes on their daughters just for the photo session, but my mom has always been quite practical and uninterested in many of the minor details. She tends to see big picture, and at this moment the big picture was bringing a smile to my face and showing off all that curly hair and the red dress that was probably handmade. The shoes simply didn’t matter in the overall scheme of things… although she may have had the passing thought that they were fine for this photo because they did match the dress in a way. I hope she’ll recall something while reading this and let me know what may have gone through her mind at this time. I’d like to know more about my experience with those shoes.
Edited To Add: Mom says these were not my corrective shoes but were probably just the only pair I had at the time. As kids we always had only one pair of shoes at a time: closed-toe with laces (probably) or sandals. She says I never went barefoot as a kid. The corrective shoes I’ve always heard about were only worn during my first year of walking. White hi-top, hard-sided baby shoes, first with a bar between them to straighten my feet, and later just the shoes themselves. I only wore them for a short time, but I absolutely hated having a bar between them. Of course I did! Who wouldn’t? That the shoes in the above photo were not the ones I thought they were doesn’t change the fact that my mom didn’t put much worry into needing “cute” shoes. Not that she wasn’t fashionable, just that our limited resources and her having 3 girls within 5 years necessitated a practicality instead of fashion. I’m sure she would have loved to deck us out for every occasion. Instead, she did what she could to make sure we had more than we needed without worrying over minor details.
Besides my clothing and the hair that gave my mom fits — this was the seventies, remember, when girls wore their hair long and straight — you should also notice the little spot just below my right cheek. That’s a very fresh scar — perhaps so fresh it was still healing — that came from a dog jumping up and nicking me with its teeth. I’ve always believed it was a Doberman, though, again, that may have formed in my own mind over the years rather than actually being true. If my beliefs are correct, a neighbor’s Doberman caught me by surprise and actually snapped at my face, nicking it with its teeth deeply enough to leave a small gash for the rest of my life. Even now, almost 40 years later, there is a raised scar on my face with an indention just below. It becomes more and more visible on long days when I become very tired, and is, thus, a constant reminder of my intense dislike for dogs of the Doberman or Pit Bull or Rottweiler variety. They all cause me to shrink away in exactly the same way I do when snakes are brought into a scene. It’s a true fear that’s rooted in reality. And I’ve got the visual proof to justify it.

this month’s photos

me, circa 1971 circa 1970 me and my sisters back at the Texas State Capitol Senate Chamber, Texas State Capitol
at the Texas State Capitol summer photo day one

Retro Photo Month was inspired by Elizabeth Dillow. Be sure to check out her own collection at {a swoop and a dart}.


About Jules Q

sharing stories of life, faith, and love for pop culture

Posted on 8 July 2010, in Stories I Tell and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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