Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘shoes

This is my submission to Stevie Turner’s Short Story Competition for June. Why not submit one yourself. I’m sure you have some short stories kicking around that you could dust off, polish and try your luck. You can enter here 

This one is non fiction. Let me know what you think.

If the Shoe Fits

by Darlene Foster

It is no secret that my love of shoes is almost equal to my love of travel. A few years ago, when my husband and I visited his parents in Spain for the first time, I was as fascinated by the enticing scenery as I was with the amazing selection of shoes. I purchased a pair of shoes within days of our arrival and, as we were traveling light and on a tight budget, had promised myself that one gorgeous pair of Spanish leather shoes would do.

Later on in the holiday, we rented a car and took a leisurely drive along the Costa Blanca north of Alicante. The cloudless blue sky held only the sun which glittered off the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean sea. Any worries we may have had, disappeared. We came upon the charming fishing village of Altea. White washed houses climbed up the hill. A bright blue domed cathedral sat in the centre overlooking the sea. Postcard perfect. We decided it would be a great place to stop for lunch. As we strolled along the esplanade trying to decide among the appealing restaurants, my husband suggested we stop in at one of the many shoe stores as he was looking for a new pair of sandals.

I had made up my mind not to buy any more shoes but thought it wouldn’t hurt to look. I should have known better. The moment I walked in the door, my eyes descended upon the most exquisite little pair of red, patent leather, needle-point shoes I had ever seen. Those ‘Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz’ shoes were calling my name.

Of course, I had to try them on and of course, they were a perfect fit. At least the left shoe fit. I had slipped on a cobblestone street a few days earlier and sprained my right foot. It was still quite swollen so I didn’t even attempt to try on the right shoe. To make matters worse (or better depending on how you looked at it) the shoes were reasonably priced. I forgot my resolve and convinced myself I couldn’t live without them. The sales clerk quickly put them in a bag and took my Euros. It was two o’clock and she was eager to close the store for siesta time.

We found a great restaurant overlooking the sea and had an enjoyable meal. I was so happy you would have thought I had won the lottery. My husband laughed as I kept looking in the bag to make sure my new babies were OK. I held the package on my lap for safekeeping as we wound our way along the coast back to my in-laws place, two hours away. As soon as we arrived, I ran into the house to show off my newly acquired treasures.

When I pulled them from the bag, my father-in-law noticed the stickers on the bottom and casually said, “Did you realize that one shoe is size 36 and the other is size 37?”

“What! You must be joking!” I looked at the stickers. He was not kidding.

I was horrified. My legs became weak and I felt sick. There was no way I could wear a pair of shoes two different sizes. And we were going back to Canada in a couple of days.

I broke the sad news to my husband who shrugged and simply said, “Don’t worry, we’ll go back tomorrow and exchange it. After all, they now have another pair just like it that they won’t be able to sell.”

What a sweetheart. I remembered then why I married him. He was a man who understood the importance of a fabulous pair of shoes to a girl.

We got up early the next morning, took the much faster, toll highway back to Altea where the store clerk gladly exchanged the size 37 shoe for the correct one. There was no time for sight seeing, as our rental car had to be back by noon. No matter, I had my adorable red shoes, both the same size. I wear them often, and invariably get a compliment.

Then I have to tell my story.

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Those of you who know me well, know how much I love shoes.  I have a nice collection of shoes and some great shoe stories.  I tend to buy at least one pair of shoes wherever I travel to and if I travel to Spain it is more like 3 pairs. I am also not very tall so I always wear heels to add some height.

I damaged my left ankle when I was in Spain this fall when I missed the bottom step at the apartment we were staying in.  When I returned home two weeks later, I had it x-rayed and discovered I had broken it on both sides. This required an operation to bolt it back together with 7 screws. I was in a plaster cast for 2 weeks and then an air cast (boot) for the past 8 weeks. I returned to work after the plaster cast was removed and  managed to do my book signings and presentations as planned.  The only thing is, I have only been able to wear a right shoe.  My husband thought it was very funny when I had only right shoes lined up ready to wear.  So he took a picture.

When we visited Fort Lauderdale a year ago, I found the perfect shoe in my size. Unfortunately the sales clerk couldn’t find the mate to the shoe. I even went back the next day to see if they found the other shoe but they hadn’t. I was heartbroken as I really wanted to buy that pair of shoes.  Since it was the right shoe on display, I wish I had purchased it as I would be able to wear it now!  (but who knew?)

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New sensible shoes

The orthopedic surgeon has informed me I can start wearing shoes on both feet again, but not heels, which is all I own.  So I had to invest in some sensible shoes. They are Ok but they don’t make me look or feel any taller.

I am happy to report that I am on the mend and hope to be back to normal by the new year.  In the meantime I have a few pairs of shoes  in which the right shoe is much more worn than the left. I could have worse problems, I know.

Do you have any funny shoe stories to share?

When I travel, I love looking in the shop windows. I like to see what is popular in other countries. Years ago, when I worked in retail, I often created the store window displays. I enjoyed that part of the job a lot so it is fun to observe the creation of other window display artists.  Our latest trip had many great window displays that I would like to share with you. The pictures are not always the best as shooting through glass has its limits.

Hats for sale, Regensburg, Germany

Hats for men. Regensburg, Germany

Steiff Toys, Vienna, Austria

I was delighted to find a store that sold Steiff toys. I used to sell these toys when I worked at a gift shop years ago.

Steiff is the home of the original Teddy Bear, named after Theodore Roosevelt after he visited the factory and commented on how the bears looked a lot like him. My children have a nice collection of these adorable stuffed animals.

I also sold Hummel Figures in that same gift store owned by a wonderful German woman.  I discovered this display in Vienna as well.

A  display of children’s traditional drindl dresses in Vienna, Austria

Store window, Budapest, Hungary

I love checking out the shoe store windows in other cities. There were some wild displays in Budapest!

Shoes, Budapest

Do you enjoy looking at the shop windows when travelling?


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