Squishy Shoes

Read more Andi’s Journal and Blasts from the Past posts in Andi’s Attic >>

Fall 1882

Mother brought out the mail-order catalog the other day and said that if I didn’t like anything at Billings Shoe store in town that maybe I would find something here. I looked hard, but I could not find one decent pair of cowboy boots. Mother frowned and said we weren’t looking for work boots but for Sunday shoes. Oh, right.

I gasped in horror at the picture of the lady’s black shoe in the lower right-hand corner. All of my toes would get squished if I wore something like that. Have you ever seen such pointy toes? The knee-high, lace-up shoe above it isn’t much better.

The year before this, I learned something even more horrifying than tight shoes when Jenny Grant and I were helping little Lin Mei escape her cruel master. It didn’t happen to her, thank goodness. The little slave girls was of no account. But fancy families in China (and in San Francisco), “bind” their daughters’ feet!

Why would anybody wrap their little girls’ pretty baby feet to keep them from growing normally? In China (even today in the 1880s), girls’ toes (starting at about age 3) are bent over and wrapped tightly, sometimes breaking the toe bones. It’s very, very painful, and the little girls cry. But they know they will never catch a husband without tiny “lotus” feet. No high-minded Chinese man will marry a girl with big, “ugly” feet. Only peasants and low-class Chinese people (like slaves) don’t bind their girls’ feet. Slaves need to work hard and they can’t do it with bound feet. Girls with bound feet can never walk properly and end up walking with slow painful steps or lying around most of their lives.

When the Sunday school teacher showed us photographs from missionaries in China, my heart raced. Poor, poor little girls! (Secretly, I was thanking God in Heaven that He allowed me to be born in America!) And lest you think only the Chinese do these horrid things to their children, then read this post I wrote about corsets >>

Mrs. M.’s note: If you fast forward to the 21th century, you will see grown women ruining their own feet and backs by wearing “high” heels, or even spiked heels. People are a little bit crazy, no matter which century (or in which culture) they live. Honestly, how do people walk like this?

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

16 thoughts on “Squishy Shoes

  1. Those poor little Chinese girls! I agree with Andi; I’m thanking God I was born in this century and this country! And those modern high heels! Ouch!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohhhhh sorry….
        the sixth pic was just showing how much there feet were ruined with the x-rays


    1. If you read the ending of the last paragraph you’ll see 😉
      Mrs. M said “How do people walk in these…..” and then the picture


  2. Ugh! How horrible! Yes, also thankful I didn’t live in those times, corsets and tight shoes…😣

    Fun fact: Gladys Aylward (missionary to China) helped (with the Mandarin) feet-binding to be illegal and she went to a lot of provinces helping girls with that.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah I watched it a long time ago, so don’t remember a lot of it, but yeah it was good (although yeah, not so accurate.)

        Liked by 1 person

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