Growing Pains

It was the spring of 1961 and Easter was just around the corner. All the girls were chattering about the new outfits they’d be getting to wear to church on Easter Sunday.

And it wouldn’t be just the usual spring clothes. Oh no!
After all, the girls were in the 5th grade now, so they’d be wearing “grown-up” fashions. And for the first time – they’d wear NYLONS and “SQUASH HEELS”, which were the latest craze in footwear!

Crystal thought it all sounded pretty wonderful. Honestly, who wouldn’t feel like a full-fledged woman in the attire described by these preteen fashionistas? Besides, she was tired of wearing ankle socks and looking like a “baby”.


That evening, she broached the subject at the dinner table . . .

Crystal: “All the girls are going to wear nylons and shoes with little heels this Easter.”

Her father: “Absolutely not!”

He added that she was much too young; there was plenty of time.
Her Mom looked at her with a touch of sympathy . . . but Crystal knew there was no way her mother would disagree with her father on parenting policy.

~ The matter was settled. ~

Crystal was desolate. She could clearly picture herself looking like a little kid next to all the other girls. She did need an Easter outfit, however, and so a few days later – her mother took her dress shopping at a local department store. Their second stop was a shoe store, where the salesclerk brought out a selection of flats for Crystal to try.

Suddenly, Crystal’s mother asked the clerk:

“Can you show us some squash heels?”


Crystal could not believe her ears. Her mother smiled and motioned for her to try them on. Crystal slipped her feet into a pair of black patent leathers, accented at the toe with twisted leather trim and a little gold embellishment with a mabe pearl center. Oh, they were gorgeous and those little heels were divine. Within moments, her Mom had paid for them and they were back at the department store. Crystal was puzzled, at first, and then shocked to see her mother heading straight for the hosiery counter!

Crystal: “Oh Mum! Squash Heels AND nylons?”

Her Mom: “Well, you can’t wear socks with THOSE shoes!”

Crystal: “What about Dad? What will he say?”

Her Mom: “Well, I’m making this decision. I will talk to him.”

Crystal was touched and very grateful. Her mother understood and was going to bat for her!

~ Easter Sunday arrived. ~

Crystal jumped into her new dress and then carefully put on her nylons (wearing a pair of cotton gloves just as her Mom always did to avoid snagging them.) The tissue paper rustled as she uncovered her pretty new shoes. She loved the clicking sound the heels made as she walked….

She arrived at church early and when she entered, the scene was awash with colorful new hats and dresses. She walked down the aisle and quickly spotted some of her friends who gestured for her to join them.

After a few seconds, Crystal noticed that her friend, Julie, was wearing ankle socks and flat shoes. A further glance revealed that Pauline was, too! In fact, Crystal was astounded to discover that hardly any of the girls were wearing nylons and squash heels!!!

~ It had all been just talk . . . ~

Or perhaps wishful thinking. Either way, it seemed as if there were lots of parents who had not given the green light for the “grown-up” wardrobe.

Crystal learned a couple of things that day —-

* That she should never again allow peer pressure to influence her desires.

* That her mother loved her very much.

A few notes . . .
When the events described above occurred:

* Crystal was close to 11 years old.
* Her mother was 32.
* Pantyhose had only recently been invented (in 1959) and were not yet widely available. Ladies wore sheer stockings or “nylons” until pantyhose became very popular during the 1960’s.


I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Growing Pains — 15 Comments

  1. Happy Mother’s Day, Crystal. Thank you for sharing a great memory. I loved the old newspaper ad. I hope you have some great plans for the weekend.
    Do you still enjoy buying a new pair of shoes? One of my favorite days is getting a pedicure so I can wear my flip flops.

  2. Thank you, Kelly 🙂
    I do still love a new pair of shoes! Life does go full circle, though! After years of wearing high heels, I now find that I prefer a lower heel – very much like that first pair I wrote about above!

    I’m looking forward to spending Mother’s Day with both my daughter and my Mom.

    I so agree with you – a professional pedicure is a real treat! xo

  3. Oh Crystal…such a sweet memory! Our moms always understand how we feel, don’t they?!! I hope you have a beautiful Mother’s Day with your mom and daughter! xoxoxo

  4. Happy Mothers Day!!
    Yep, those were the days that we dressed up all the time. I can’t remember how old I was when I started wearing jeans..after I was married. Now I live in Yoga Pants and flip flops and rarely wear a dress unless its a hot summer day. I bet you dress up a lot!

  5. Hi Carol
    Not anymore! I really do not dress up very often these days. Besides holiday parties and weddings – I don’t have many occasions for dresses and fancy shoes.

    I’m in jeans most places I go and sometimes in dressy/casual pants and jackets. (I love scarves and accessories.) Sometimes I miss dressing up – but the bright side is that casual clothes are so much more comfortable. 😉

    Happy Mothers Day to you, too! xo

  6. What a touching memory,thanks for sharing.I remember we had a field trip to a school in london so my mum put me in a nice dress and nylons.When we got there it was an inner city school in a poorer area and the kids made fun of me.

  7. Aww, what a great and sweet story. Your mom loved her little girl and wanted you to have what YOU wanted. I remember those shoes too but in 1961 I was in high school dreaming about boys. LOL!! I made a lot of my clothes back then and wanted a black dress. If you remember, back then, black clothes were taboo for the young, only old people. When I was 16, my mom bought me some black satin to make a dress. It was so pretty. I still remember it today. Sometimes, a girl has to do what SHE wants regardless of what others are doing. 😀 Hope you had a great Mother’s Day.

  8. Oh Michelle!
    I’m very sad to hear that! 🙁 When we’re kids – our feelings can be hurt so easily.

    I think those kids would have loved to have your nice dress and nylons but teased you instead because they were a bit jealous. It was sweet of your Mum to help you look your best for your day in London!

    Is it finally getting warmer up there? xo

  9. Hi Donna!
    Yes, bless my mother for coming through for me. It was especially amazing because we didn’t have a lot of money (with 6 kids in the family) but she was always so good at shopping and finding bargains!

    Wow! A black satin dress – talk about glamorous! Did you wear it to a special dance? Was it a full skirt or a sheath style? Do you ever sew clothes for yourself now? My grandmother made clothes for me when I was a kid and I think that is when I first fell in love with fabric . . . I KNOW you can identify. 😉

    (I had a really nice Mother’s Day. Hope you did too!)

  10. I know!! Amazing. Black satin. Today, I would be laughed out of town. 😀

    No special occasion. I just wanted a black dressy dress. But I did wear it on special days. It was sheath style. I had a cute little figure. Still had that dress during the time I met hubby.

    I never make clothes anymore. Those were fun days when I did. I had so many dresses that I kept track of what I wore. So I wouldn’t wear the same thing for 30 days. LOL!! Those were the days.

  11. Remember how nylons swished when you walked? I always felt so adult when I wore those.

  12. Hey Clenna! 😀
    Yes, I do remember that. When I think back on it, nylons (stockings) were surely more economical – if you got a run in one, the other could be saved as an “extra” for when your next pair had a run. With pantyhose, that was not easy to do!

  13. I was 11 years old in 1961 and recall MY favorite shoes of all time………they were Dorothy-colored (wine / ruby) SQUASH HEELS and I felt like a princess….yes, nylons and a garter belt! I kept waking up in the middle of the night and putting on the shoes. I’ve just googled “squash heels” because now at almost 67 I need lower heels and sure wish they’d bring those back…..a nice compromise between “flats” and “low pumps”!

  14. Hi Renee,
    I hear ya! 🙂
    High heels are just too uncomfortable for me these days so I’m always looking for a lower heel that is still pretty and stylish. Not many out there!

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