Her shoes were magnificent things with high heels: sharp stilettos, storied platforms or stacked leather towers.
She defied the northeast Ohio winters with boots that were designed solely for the purpose of showcasing the calf and foot and had no regard for ice and sleet.
"You have beautiful feet," the men told my mother, although she never wore open-toed shoes or sandals.
"My feet are an illusion," she whispered to me once. "My feet are my secret weapon."
In the evening when we were alone, she would take off her impossible shoes and exhale with relief. Then she would prop her gnarled feet, with their bunions and corns and ingrown toenails, on a satin pillow that was atop the hassock in front of the television.
She had nothing but disdain for house slippers. "They are for matrons and schoolmarms," she would say.
Her toenails were always painted Dreamland Pink.
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