Fluffy and the Alligator Shoes

The house I grew up in had many lovely architectural features – a fireplace,  a lovely stairwell,  and a beautiful oval stained glass window that was in my mother’s closet.

I loved sitting in that closet.  It was a cozy and private place for a child to play,  and the light coming through the stained glass would bathe the closet floor in lovely colors as I sat between the windowed wall and the wall opposite that held a rod for my mother’s clothing and a shelf below for her shoes.

My mother wasn’t much of a clothes horse,  and I can’t remember that she had any really memorable outfits;  she used no make-up other than lipstick,  and the only jewelry she usually wore were earrings and a strand of pearls.  But I do remember she had a pair of strappy,  alligator shoes that she prized and were probably rather costly.

My dog Fluffy was a puppy then.  (See Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog)    In fact Fluffy often followed me into that closet,  and we were playing there once when I heard my mother call the family to dinner.   I ran out leaving the dog behind.

Hours later I was upstairs in my third floor bedroom when I heard my mother cry out from my parents’  bedroom a floor below.  “Look what that dog has done!   She’s been in my closet and she’s destroyed my pair of alligator shoes!”

“Ah Jess”,   I heard my calm and ever-conciliatory father say,  “don’t be too hard on Fluffy,  and don’t exaggerate.   She only chewed up one shoe,  not the pair.”

I don’t think my mother was amused.

Dana Susan Lehrman


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