Be ... and ... am meeting some girl friends for lunch at a little cafe later this ... and I am dressed as if I were stepping onto the runway of a New York City fashion show. I am
Be Frivolous and Impractical
I am meeting some girl friends for lunch at a little cafe later this afternoon and I am dressed as if I were stepping onto the runway of a New York City fashion show. I am wearing a simple red sweater with a black skirt, but the shoes I have on...they are an old flame. A love from my past.
These are not just shoes. These are the hottest looking pair of red Salvatore Ferragamo works of art. Stiletto heels and a little red and black polka dot bow on the back.
They could stop traffic on a busy street corner during rush hour standing all alone, and the best part about them is they make me feel powerful! They are impractical, but when I wear them I am fearless!
I love shoes. High-heeled or flat, wedge or stiletto, strappy sandals or a great pair of boots, just about any shoe that is impractical, could find a home in my closet.
I typically see a great pair of shoes, hunt down an outfit to go with them and then decide where I can go to wear this new ensemble. I know it sounds impractical, materialistic and completely backwards, but I got this from my grandmother, Annie Florio.
My grandmother was extremely practical and this is where her and I were very different. I have never heard anyone use the word practical in the same sentence with my name.
Of course growing up during the great depression, she was extremely frugal and never bought anything unless it was truly necessary. She washed and reused pieces of aluminum foil, even piecing the small scraps together to reuse later. She made most of her clothes and wore very practical shoes. I don't think she ever owned anything flashy...except for the single pair of glorious, red, Ferragamo shoes.
When I was only ten years old, I was playing hide and seek with my cousins and I had found a great hiding spot in the very back corner of my grandmother's bedroom closet. As I sat, I started looking through the neatly stacked boxes that were behind me.
At the bottom of the stack, sat a red and gold box. The box was so lovely that I knew it had to contain certain treasures. As I carefully lifted the lid on this wonderful box, my heart began to race and I suddenly felt hot. The contents were beyond wonderful. Not even in magazines had my eyes ever seen such beauty.
It was love at first sight. Almost in a trance, I gently lifted these precious gems from their slumbering bed and ever so slowly slipped them onto my size five feet.
I stood quickly and tried to rush to the full-length mirror across the bedroom, but before I could catch a glimpse of their magnificence on the ends of my skinny chicken legs, I tripped and twisted my ankle.
I must have let out a yelp, signally my grandmother, because suddenly I could hear her wooden clogs clacking down the tile hallway. I scrambled to my feet and tried to get the treasure back to its hiding place.
When the door opened I spun around and my face gave away my transgression. I began to explain that I just happened to find these shoes and told her they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
She took the box into her hands like a lost lover and began caressing the lid. She told me she had bought them when she was in her thirties. My mother and aunt were just children and they didn't have a lot of money, but when my grandmother spotted them in a little shop somewhere in San Francisco, she was smitten.
She never went anywhere dressy enough to warrant wearing such beautiful shoes and she didn't own anything that would match their splendor. But she knew she had to have them, so she put a little bit of money down on them that day and told the clerk to hold them for her. She made the trip back into the city each week to deposit more money until she could take them home with her.
But I didn’t understand. These shoes were over twenty years old and yet they were still brand new, unblemished. Why, if she loved them so much did she never wear them? She said she kept them hidden away for a special occasion, but admitted that every time she thought about wearing them she said she feared people would think she was frivolous and impractical, so they laid unworn, prisoners to her fear.
What did these words, “frivolous” and "impractical" really mean and why would they cause a grown woman such fear?
When I was forty, my grandmother passed away and as her children and grandchildren divided her jewelry and china, the only thing I asked for was the gold and red box in the very back corner of her bedroom closet.
It is time to head out for lunch and I am reminded that some love affairs grow stronger over time. I gather my purse and as turn off my computer I have an overwhelming feeling of power and fearlessness. I am going out into the world frivolous and impractical!