Banned: Platform Shoes!
At least that was the opinion of Mr. Brown, the principal of St. Rocco’s School. Tell that to a group of 8th grade girls back in 1973 when platform shoes were the newest status symbols of being cool. You could only spice up the uniform so much; hems of skirts taken up to the highest limit allowed, colorful earrings, maybe a bracelet or a choker but that was pretty much all the accessorizing that could be done until platforms came along. I ditched my Hush Puppy flats and never looked back! My first pair of platforms were a tan lace up number. Nothing fancy in my opinion, compared to what was out there. But Mr. Brown wasn’t having it. He even held an assembly to ensure we all got the same message.
Typically, I wasn’t the one to rock any boats but this just wasn’t right. First of all, there was no mention of platform shoes, for or against, in the handbook. That had to count for something! Normally, every rule was backed by something that had been established in “The Book.” Mr. Brown argued that since one girl had already fallen off her shoes while coming down the stairs, he felt they were unsafe and therefore no one could wear them.
Come on! One girl! One accident! Can we get better odds than that? I mean, it’s not like she died or broke her neck! I heard she came through with just few elbow scrapes! As far as I was concerned the fight was on! If I had to make my case by comparing all the accidents that had happened at the school over the past 10 years, compared to one platform shoe incident then I would. I was ready to do whatever it took, short of getting expelled, to persuade Mr. Brown to get with the times.
I wrote out my complaint and was able to get the majority of the 8th grade girls to sign it. I stood in Mr. Brown’s office and watched him read every word. He sighed deeply before putting the paper down on his desk. He stared at it for awhile before looking up at me. I stood there, trying to look neutral instead of sassy and I met his eyes with just a tad bit of defiance. Finally, he stood, paper in hand and gestured towards me. “Edwina do most of the girls really feel this way?” I nodded vigorously. Words escaped me since I wasn’t expecting that question. “Ok, let’s compromise….” I held my breath and said nothing. He took deep breath and passed his verdict: “2 inches in height will be the limit. Is that understood?” I blinked in surprise and stammered out a, “Yes sir!” before exiting his office. I felt like blowing the smoke off my imaginary pistol. The word “banned” had just met its match!