After getting back from Washington, I couldn't wait to finish the 8th grade. It took my body a couple weeks to recover from the daily grind of teeter-tottering around Washington... the aches and pains in my feet, legs and back lingered. I retired my original pair of stilettos from Wild Pair and began alternating between my new black pair and whit pair. Although they were new, they felt like slippers because I wasn't on my feet 8 to 10 hours a day.
That summer was one of the hottest summers on record. It seems like everyday was in the 90's! I wanted to get a pair of high heel sandals for the summer. I went shopping in the Candie's store (yes, they had retail outlets!). Within seconds of entering the store I fell in love with a pair of sandals that were very popular at the time. I wanted to get a pair in white but they didn't have may size; I opted for red. When I slipped them on, I felt nude as I was used to wearing pumps. These were open and airy. I wore them out of the store and it took me a day or so to get used to them. I had to admit they were comfortable and I liked the look. Once again, being the stubborn person I am, I wore them everyday that summer with shorts. My shorts were always appropriate in length and came down to midthigh. I wore tee-shirts and conservative blouses. I wanted the attention on my shoes, not on me. I know that sounds odd, but I didn't have the confidence in my body; rather I had confidence in my high heels and loved them so much I wanted to show them off. It also took me a while to get used to having my feet on display. I just wasn't used to open-toe shoes.
I spent most days that summer with my brother and a lot of our friends at a community swimming pool in town. We lived about a mile and a half from the center of town and we'd walk there each day. Of course I did it in my Candies. Looking back now, I must have been quite a sight walking along the side of the road in shorts and high heels! On one occasion, my brother had other plans and I walked into town by myself. A couple of cars slowed down and the drivers stared at me as they drove by. A few cars beeped their horns. One car full of older boys slowed down and talked to me. They asked if I needed a ride and told me that it "looked like I was in the mood for some fun". I thanked them but told them I was meeting a friend just a few houses down. I remember thinking that because I was a girl walking by myself that I was going to get some attention. I also had a thought taking me back to Washington and being slut shamed by the teacher the morning I came out wearing shorts and stilettos. Maybe he had a point, which I still didn't understand. A few years later, I figured out that shorts and high heels worn together get a lot of attention from the guys. I was young and naïve.
That summer my family took a week's vacation to a resort community with a theme park. I wore my Candies all over the place while there, including the theme park. While there, my mother had a chance to see me wearing my high heels in all situations on a daily basis. I can distinctly remember we were sitting at the pool when she told me that she was wrong about me not lasting in high heels. She was not crazy about me wearing them daily as she was sure I was causing damage to my body. But she admitted she was proud of me for making up my mind and seeing it through. I thanked her and that day's interaction seemed to change our relationship. I felt as if I became a young lady in my mother's eyes and we seemed to bond after that conversation. Although we were still mother and daughter, we became friends and had many meaningful "girl talk" conversations. It is ironic that my wearing high heels is what turned our relationship into something so much more meaningful.
My brother and I still had our chores that summer and a few additional ones were added on being we had more time on our hands. My brother would complain and moan about doing his chores. He always had other things to do be it going to hang out with friends, playing sports or going to the pool. I seized on this and told him I'd be happy to do his chores if he kept up my foot massages. Of course because there were more chores to do, I negotiated with him that my massages would increase from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Again, he jumped at the deal. It was a no-brainer for him, but it was a no-brainer for me. Although I wasn't suffering the pain I did during the previous school year, I still loved to have my feet massaged... something I still enjoy to this day! The Candies turned out to be rather comfortable, although my feet were tired by the end of the day. I really that Washington was such a painful experience that anything after that seemed easy.
That summer I also increased the size of my shoe wardrobe. I continued to babysit and put the majority of my earnings into my high heel collection. I bought a pair of sandals with a toe strap and a wrap around ankle strap which rivaled my Wild Pairs in height. I also bought a pair of Candies high heel stiletto clogs. I didn't even consider shoes with a heel of less than 4 inches high... a habit that I still follow to this day! Although my shoe collection was growing, I still didn't have any desire to change any of my other fashions. I still preferred tee-shirts, collared shirts, blouses and jeans. I wore no makeup and I usually wore my hair in a ponytail. I know I'm repeating myself, but I wanted the attention on my shoes. On the few occasions I didn't wear shorts that summer, I would wear jeans and roll them up to my ankles to have my shoes on full display. I loved getting compliments on my high heels. My friends would love to try them on and laugh as they tried to walk in them. Women I didn't even know would compliment me on them. I even received appropriate compliments on my shoes from men on occasion. High heels were still just my passion and I remember my 14th birthday and thinking to myself that I made it a year!
The pictures are only close replicas of what I bought that summer.