In My Mother’s Shoes

The red mink is my favorite. It’s a long reversible coat with a hood, one side a bright red the other black.

While it’s not en vogue to wear fur, friends cannot resist rubbing the material between their fingers. And even though the jacket is not perfect – it’s loosely knit, letting in a breeze and does not maintain great form, I love it. I love it because my mother loved it, and loved receiving compliments on it. And more than anything, it reminds me of my mom.

In one swoop I inherited my mother’s furs, a collection which includes not only her mother’s furs but also her boyfriend’s mother’s furs. The handbags were divided among my sister and I, and the jewelry we are enjoying on a rotating basis. But being the only heir in a cold weather climate, I have the winter coats.

My sister and I had gone through her closet offering her collection of black T-shirts covered in white dog hair to the housekeeper and dividing the designer items amongst ourselves. Then there were the shoes. The ratty loafers she wore every day and the new Kate Spade heels she donned for a few hours at my brother’s recent wedding in sizes too tiny for my sister or sister in law.

When a stylish girlfriend came over I thought to offer some of the lesser worn heels but my husband stopped me. “Nobody wants to wear your dead mother’s shoes,” something that I am just beginning to understand now.
But they are great shoes. They are free. Some have hardly been worn. What else am I going to do with them? I have trouble throwing out a half eaten sandwich, let alone a lifetime’s worth of shoes.

One of my mom’s friends, size 7 1/2 adopted all of the shoes. I do not know if she liked them and hoped to wear them, as with the BCBG flats or if she was being polite taking all that I offered. She really wanted four pairs of her black Aerosoles? I talked the friend into taking everything, even the shoes she did not feel hip enough to don, because what else was I going to do with them, slowly pawn them off to every friend with a 7 1/2 shoe size?

Then on a friend’s retroactive advice, I wished that I had held on to at least one pair of my mom’s favorites for the kids to play dress up, but when you loose your mom and edit her closet you are not thinking of your kids’ future entertainment. Nor was I thinking of the kids when I donated her old glasses. The shoes are out of the closet and someone else can have the burden/pleasure of disposing/enjoying them.

I’ll just wear the mink and think of my mom anytime someone comments on it.


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