Friday, June 27, 2008

Bagnell Dam(n) Shoes

Came across this photo yesterday. 4th grade, I think. The dress, a straight shift, is thick, red cotton with wales like corduroy but without the nap. I'm guessing Mom intended its vertical lines to be slimming. The shirt she made to match was white with red outline drawings of sails and anchors and ships' steering wheels, the same thick cotton, but without the wales.

I wore this ensemble with bobby socks and saddle shoes. Oh, how I hated those black-and-white saddle shoes. I had to wear them until they were entirely too small or entirely worn out. Since I had no hope of making my feet grow faster, my mission was to wear the shoes out. Sitting on the back step, I dragged my toes over the concrete of the carport to scuff through the leather, a little like trying to dig to China with a teaspoon. Damn thick leather.

Thick was the word of the day: My outfit. That leather. My body. Damn was a problem of another sort.

About this time, I learned that I was allowed to say "dam," even though it sounded exactly like "damn," which would get my mouth washed out with soap. Daddy worked on Bull Shoals Dam right after he and Mom got married. Bagnell Dam held back the Osage River to create Lake of the Ozarks. They were the good kind.

Mom passed by the back door one afternoon and caught me scuffing my toes across the concrete. "Dam saddle shoes. Bagnell Dam saddle shoes. Bagnell Dam shoes," I muttered quietly. Not quietly enough.

I hated the taste of Tide almost as much as I hated those dam(n) shoes. Both lingered quite a while.


Doubting Thomas said...

Great story.

And great photo. I'd recognize the dimples anywhere.

Carrie Wilson Link said...


BTW, I'm noticing a big Tide theme with your mom - she used/uses it for EVERYTHING!

Deb said...

I love how open your eyes and face are in the picture.

I had to wear those despicable black and white saddle shoes, too. My mom's choice of bad word eraser was Palmolive - the bar kind.

I especially love your last sentence.

riversgrace said...

We think you are absolutely beautiful. And we're on the phone with Jess who just said, "Oh my god, that's so cute!"

We LOVE you. Through time, always.

Love, Prem & Holly (&Jess)

Stacy said...

I thought you meant Wales, like near England. Funny story, well done. I liked my green and white saddle shoes.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I better not come anywhere near your mom!