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I have a serious aversion to shoes (I also have a serious aversion to the word "hate"). They keep my feet too warm, they close in my toes, they restrict foot flexion. I wear them as seldom as possible.

One of my very early memories comes from first grade. I was on my way to school, carrying my notebook, dressed in my best plaid skirt and white blouse, but barefoot. I remember my mother chasing after me down the sidewalk, holding my shoes in her hand and saying, "You have to put your shoes on."

At my desk I would surreptitiously take off my shoes and revel in the freedom of socks and wiggling toes.

In college and in the Peace Corps (India), I wore sandals as a matter of course. I never understood why my teammate Volunteers continued to wear their shoes and western clothing, in the heat and humidity.

Then my teaching days in Los Angeles. Oh, the agony! The days of skirts and pantyhose and pointy toes and heels. How my poor tootsies ached and blistered. I'd take my shoes off in the classroom when I could (if a visitor came in, the children would distract him/her until I could get to my desk and slip them back on). The kids had the same privilege, to be in socks only indoors.

What a wonderful relief it was in the late 70's when the dress code was finally relaxed! I immediately (like the day after it was announced) switched to pant suits, socks and low heels. My principal was furious, but there it was, in black and white, from school district headquarters.

I no longer teach, and at my current job I still wear slacks and tops, low heels and socks. They occasionally fuss that my dress is too casual, but I really don't care what they think. And I still take off my shoes at work whenever I can. At home, it's barefoot (now that N is gone I don't have to worry about "stuff" on the floor) or sandals.

May your feet never hurt and may your heart rejoice!

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