Dr. Wallaby MD
Wednesday November 09th 2011, 12:36 am
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Who knew that a doctor’s shoes could connect me with my grandmother?

He was wearing a pair of Wallabys today, new-looking ones; I knew exactly how comfortable those were. Back when they were a huge fad in the ’70’s, my father was on a business trip to Spain and knowing my odd-size feet and how much I’d wanted a pair, and finding some at a good price, took a chance–and they were perfect. It was my first-ever experience at being so thrilled at the most perfect shoe purchase (with the love of my Dad to top it off.) I had never owned a shoe that fit well and was comfortable and was perfectly, totally in style. 6.5EE is never in style, but look at these! Authentic Wallabys!

I wore those through high school, I wore those in college, where I was walking in snow at I forget how many thousand feet up high in the Rockies. The salted soaking sidewalks ate at the suede. I wore them till they looked like Harry Potter’s sorting hat in the middle of a sentence.

My grandparents had recently retired and were living an hour north of BYU campus.

My grandmother was a very gracious woman who would never say a disparaging word to or about anybody. She once said that she’d listened to enough of her friends whine about old age that she’d decided that she, for one, was going to be a sweet old lady. And so she was.

So there I was at Gram’s, cousins gathered around for a Sunday evening get-together, when she notices my feet.

I knew I had this coming. I waited to hear what she would say.

She searched for the right words of–well, encouragement or something somehow, and finally just chuckled: “Alison. Your shoes!”

“I know, Gram. But they’re so comfortable!”

She laughed warmly. There wasn’t much left to constrict my feet anymore anyway–nor my heart. I felt so loved.

I gave up and let them be after that school year; there wasn’t enough left of them anymore.

My grandmother had been a concert pianist.

I said to the doctor today, “How did your concerts go?”

“You remembered! You have a sharp memory!” (Oh goodness if only that were true.)

But how could one forget–and then there were his shoes…

Not to mention the waiting piano hat I pulled out of my knitting bag at the end of the visit, to his astonished delight: I’d knitted this? For him? I’d designed this? “I think that’s maybe one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received!” and he went out into the hall grinning hugely to model it at the nurses’ station.

I offered, and I’m writing it here just so they know I meant it, to knit something for his wife too. I asked what her favorite colors were?

How many men do you know that can answer that question right off the bat? He’ll get back to me on that.

The yarn is at the ready.

(Oh, yeah, and, my 20% hip bone loss in two years is now 29% in (correction–four), despite chugging the milk and trudging the treadmill. My grandmother went from 5’9″, very tall  for a woman born in 1899, to a tiny little thing. I want to walk in her footsteps and be gentle to all to the best of my ability, but I’m trying to keep my own shoes on along the way.)

8 Comments so far
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Hem. I’m pretty sure the Knight would get it wrong. It also seems, especially since the hair highlights, that I am drawn to blue like never before (discounting the 12 years I wore a navy blue uniform with no choice in the matter), so what I like best and wear most are miles apart.

Comment by Channon 11.09.11 @ 7:34 am

Sorry about the bone loss! I know it discourages me to follow doctor’s recommendations but have a problem progress nevertheless.

On the other hand, I’m delighted to learn about the reception your piano hat received.

And lovely to see Parker at the beach with his mum.

Comment by RobinM 11.09.11 @ 7:58 am

Weight bearing exercises help prevent bone loss. Picking up grandchildren is one of the best.

Comment by LauraN 11.09.11 @ 8:07 am

I must have found your Wallabys at the Clarks shoe store on Regent St. in London. Nowadays Clarks makes their shoes all over the world. I still have several pair because they are the only shoe you can wear for long distances and many days (like travel in Europe)and never get blisters. I found my first pair in Seattle when I took all of you to the world’s fair. What year was that? You can still find new Wallabys on line, often discounted or on sale. Finding them in wide sizes, however, is more difficult. I have purchased other Clark slipons in this fashion and been very pleased. But they aren’t Wallabys. About 40 years ago there was a shoe store in Montgomery Mall which was going out of business. They had a supply of Wallabys with a crepe sole that wrapped upwards around the sides of the shoe to form a perfect show for wearing in water, rain, or snow. I bought pairs for everyone in the family who could be fitted. I still have mine, in good condition because I wear them only in the inclement weather for which they were designed.
Love, Dad

Comment by Dad 11.09.11 @ 9:05 am

And did you have a Wonderful Wallaby sweater to go with them?

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 11.09.11 @ 9:33 am

I found out an amazing thing at the shoe store (why I didn’t know this, who knows? Probably DIDN’T want to know it). A woman’s size 5 1/2 is about a 3 or 3 1/2 in children’s shoes. Now, I’m not going to get any “professional looking” flats over there but I did find some cheap children’s sneakers. And Saddle Shoes! I have Saddle Shoes for the first time in my life! Neil laughs and says I look like junior high when HE was in junior high. I say they are comfortable and promised that I will only wear them out of work.

Comment by Afton 11.09.11 @ 9:53 am

Cute pic of Parker and his Mom. Reminds me of the times my mother used to take me to the beach.

I believe the Seattle Worlds Fair was in ’86. Am and I were going to go, but that was the year we had our troubled brains.

Comment by Don Meyer 11.09.11 @ 10:23 am

The Seattle World’s Fair was 1962, ’86 was Vancouver, BC where we took Jonathan all round in a stroller. Best idea we ever had–parents’ weekend (with the nursing baby), then later trip with the kids (age 7-11)when we had had the chance to scope out points of interest for them and enjoy the places they would not have, for us. The most amazing thing was the Ramses exhibit–to think that all those things survived, wood and papyrus, not gold and gems like Tut. Wow.

Comment by Marian 11.10.11 @ 1:46 pm

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