Because You Can't Wear Platforms in the Peace Corps

my life illustrated by stories of shoes

Cinderella Set Us Up March 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Geri Gordon Miller @ 8:28 am
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I was talking with my friend about Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the Lesley Ann Warren version; how much I loved it, and  knew when I got married I would have an ermine collared dress.

I didn’t, though I did walk down the aisle to “Ten Minutes Ago.” The tables were covered in tulle and glitter with a large snow globe in the middle, which housed Cinderella and her carriage . Cinderella Barbies festooned the stage, and my dress was Cinderella-like. My cake was awesome. It was different layers with whipped cream icing, and the Prince Charming and Cinderella Barbies  were so heavy the cake ended up tilting. it was fantastic! Loved it. 

 I did not wear glass slippers, but heavy satin Steve Madden platforms for comfort. 

I am pro-feminist, which is such a contradiction to the Cinderella tale. But it is my guilty pleasure, and I like to think it’s more about your dreams coming true. Like The Secret. Which I think is a bogus pile of garbage. I have been talking to David Letterman for years about my illustrious career, and having long conversations with O about my documentary, and, um, they haven’t manifested.

We also played “Impossible” when the bridesmaids and men walked down the aisle. And then the mice turned into horsemen. See dreams DO come true!

Following the ceremony, “The Prince is Having a Ball”  blasted from the speakers as champagne flowed. A psychiatrist officiated, and friends read from The Little Prince, The Owl & The Pussycat, Dr. Seuss, Erma Bombeck and an Apache Wedding Prayer. Instead of carrying flowers, we all carried “bouquets” made of gold wire wound around crystals, which I made on slow bartending nights. What can I say, I’m capricious. 

 I am always told that was one of the most fun weddings, ever. It was on the Warner Hollywood Lot, and there was an abundance of alcohol with  karaoke entertainment. My ex is Korean,and aside from the karaoke stereotype(you couldn’t wrestle the microphone away from he and his sisters. Really)  in Korean tradition, the two families bond during the ceremony with a toast cemented by shots of sake. We had all our friends and family partake instead to cement the union.  My dear friend and couture wedding dress designer Liz, said she doesn’t remember anything after the toast.

My wedding dress was stunning. It had an underneath layer of tiny iridescent sequins that glistened when I moved in a kickpleat and the sleeves.  

    

The dry cleaners thought so too. When I dropped it off, the two South American girls who worked there kept fawning over it, exclaiming how it was the most amazing dress they had ever seen. When one of the girls went to put my info in the computer, she told me it was down, but they would hand write it for me and when I came back in they would give me the computer receipt. Since I had been going there for the past two years, I thought that was fine.

When I went back to retrieve my dress, the dry cleaner didn’t have it. He said I was lying, that I brought in a pantsuit: that’s what the computer said. The two girls had already mysteriously quit and went back to South America. I called the local newscaster at the time who would go after deadbeats for you. I can’t remember his name, but his motto was” I’m XX and I’m in Your Corner!” He was short and stout and balding, but always managed to get the job done. When he got back to me , he said the old owners had sold the business.  I would have to sue the new owners, who would in turn sue the old owners if I wanted anything from them. It would’ve taken longer than my marriage lasted.  

That was an omen regarding the future of my union.

My friend ran into Lesley Ann Warren on Robertson a few years ago and politely told her how she loved her in that telecast, how wonderful she was and how it shaped her childhood. Apparently, Ms Warren was not too happy to only be known as Cinderella. It’s a lot to live up to. Though Julie Andrews seems to be just fine.

I have often thought about the glass slippers, and wondered why the costume designers chose them. I have come to the conclusion that when they are empty and alone, it means you are desolate, but when the foot is fully in them, you are now complete, sated.  Lesson: empty shoe-your life is meaningless, full shoe-your life is overflowing with joy. This is not a good thing, but the imagery is powerful.

Or maybe they just liked the way they looked.

And the Prince galloping up on his white horse, hoisting you on side-saddle, and then carrying you off to your new castle…how could we not have dreams of wanting that.

She was beautiful, fulfilled and happy!  

Chapter 2: Real Life Does Not Work Like That. I’d rather have the horse.

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Louboutins and Women For Women International March 24, 2010

Filed under: Life,Uncategorized — Geri Gordon Miller @ 9:13 am
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I was just catching up with a girlfriend, and she mentioned she had friends who stayed in her New York City apartment over New Years.

While in the meatpacking district having cocktails one night, they met a fantastic couple who was in town for the holidays as well. They were fun and many cocktails passed before the woman showed them the present her husband had bought her- a pair of beautiful, butter soft Christian Louboutins from the shop around the corner. After fawning over the shoes, the  man asked if they wanted a pair of the shoes as well.

YES, he went and bought them each a pair of $1200 Louboutins, just because he could. What an incredible gesture. For him, it was about seeing the gratitude and pleasure in these girls eyes. This is a gesture that changed their life in some way.

It would’ve changed my life in some way too…

Now, I feel slight guilt saying that, because think of all the good you can do with that money. You can pay your bills, go on a vacation, pay for healthcare:) Or, if you have lots of money you can do all that and buy the Louboutins, Choos and Guiseppe Zanottis, my personal fave. 

You can also sponsor a woman in a war torn country for three years with that.

 I want to share an organization that I think is incredible.  Women For Women International. www. womenforwomen.org

The sobering fact is, many women across the globe don’t have shoes. They have no water, or roofs over their head. They live in war torn countries and are trying to survive. WFW goes into these countires and teaches these women survivors of war how to rebuild their lives. They give them tools and training so they can take care of their families. Feed them. Teach them to be powerful empowered women.

For $27 a month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just give up a few grande  lattes and there you go.

I recieved the most beautiful and heart wrenching letter from my sponsor sister in Rwanda after our year together. She thanked me for helping her, and told me for the first time ever, and she was 50, that she had a real home. She built a house for her family, all 12 of them, a small tin structure with the money she made from the skills she acquired from my small donation. She asked for my picture for her wall so she could always remember the person who did that for her.

I could not stop crying, and felt like I should sell all my shoes(and everything I own) and go live there and help every single woman who needs a fighting chance. Being realistic, that’s not happening at this minute, however, I am trying to figure out a way to do something bigger to change the world.

One fighting step at a time. In my Zanotti’s.

 

snakeskin shoes, snakes March 23, 2010

Filed under: Life,Uncategorized — Geri Gordon Miller @ 9:00 am
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I was sitting thinking that no matter what, I had to get back to writing, no matter how tired or distracted I am. I started thinking about a few things I am going to write about, and I can’t get into the entire thought process, but I started thinking about snakeskin shoes.

And then I went back to a story my friend Amie told me…A girl she knew had a pet snake who she loved and slept with in her bed every night(I know, this is just where I should end the story.) One day her snake stopped eating, and wouldn’t sleep in bed with her-he would just stretch out across the living room floor. This went on for a few days, so she took her beloved pet snake to the vet, and he told her it was time to euthanize the snake. He had been stretching out to be long enough to be able to eat her. Eat. Her.

I cannot get the visual out of my head. So I decided to google “snake eating humans,” just to see if the image I envisioned was what it actually looked like.

Don’t do it. It is way worse than I pictured. No sleep for me tonight.

When I lived in New York I used to go to the Bronx Zoo and force myself to go to the snake house. I would get rid of my fears. I would stare them down, and then, when I stopped breathing, I would leave. I can’t even deal with garden snakes.

A few months ago a neighbor knocked on my door and asked if I had lost my pet snake. He found it. Noooooo, not mine, and where exactly did he find it and why did he think it was mine. The orange and green snake had wandered in his yard, which he found out wasn’t poisonous. What a relief. Cut to a week later, and a neighbor two doors down lets me know they found the snake in their basement. For weeks I was afraid to go to the back of my yard. Just the thought of the slithery orange and green reptile  I started sweating and my heart skipped a beat. Eventually he gave it to a reptile rescue, and i am hoping whomever lost it doesn’t have more.

I have an active imagination and I need sleep.

Someone told me a story once about a snake traveling through the septic system, and someone went to go to the bathroom, and looked down and there it was in the toilet bowl. Everytime I go to bathroom I look just to be sure.

About seven years ago my sister traveled through the Amazon. I will never, ever, forget an email I got from her when they got back to civilization and to an internet cafe. I want to say up front, I wonder if we really are related. 

She started the trip in basically a beat up wood dingy, slowing making its way down the Amazon at night, watching the eyes of alligators on the banks of the river watching them. Base camp was deep in the forest, where they were urged to go to the bathroom in pairs because a pregnant jaguar had just ran by. After a pregnant jaguar comes a male to protect her. The next morning was “hunting” for anacondas. As they waded knee-deep in the water where anacondas sleep, Julie asked how they knew they had eaten already. The answer was they just do. Hmmm. While swishing the sticks through the murky water, a swarm of killer bees suddenly appeared. The guide whispered to stay as still as possible, and the bees eventually flew away. When asked what they would do if the bees had tried to attack, the answer was jump under the water and hold your breath. With the supposed sleeping anacondas.


Those are some large, nasty looking , CARNIVOROUS snakes. I would have stayed at camp and taken my chances that I wouldn’t be eaten by a jaguar. No, I would’ve cried until there were no tears left, and demanded that everyone in the group turn around and take me back to modern society. No, I would never, ever, ever, go in a small canoe and travel in the amazon.

 There are just some things in life I don’t need to experience myself.

 

sex. the first time. December 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Geri Gordon Miller @ 7:30 am

I have been talking about sex alot lately. Probably because I am not having it.

My first time was much later than most of my friends. I was 19. 19 and 7 months to be exact. Actually 19, 7 months and 15 days.

 I learned about sex from a book my parents gave me, “How Babies are Made.”  I thought about that book alot, but mostly because it said we start as smaller than a dot made by a pencil.

 But the book didn’t really talk about sex, like the how to, so really what I learned, I learned from my friends Diana and Laurie. I made them describe, in great detail, what it was like; does it hurt? Is it gross? Ew, you do what with that? I made out with boys but never let them go beyond second base. The slobbering of teens, even at that age, was not alluring to me. Nor was getting pregnant  by some football player who would never leave the place we grew up. That was not the life I was envisioning for myself. I wanted to see the world, be someone special, fall in love with some exotic artist, musician, or architect.

Then off to college I went, and at the first dorm dance, there he was. 6’4″, blond curly hair, blue gray eyes, long fingers, white teeth,and tanned skin. He was wearing ripped jeans, a turquoise blue plaid oversize blazer with light yellow lines running through, a havana brimmed straw hat,lightning bolt earings and OP flip flops. The cutest surfer dude ever.

 I on the other hand, was fully ensconced in the disco era; a cornflower blue Danskin qiana dress, the original white candies with the wood heels,an ankle bracelet,  and Farah Fawcett flipped hair. I am pretty sure I had long red nails and lots of eyeshadow to top the look.

                                                              

Somehow, we ended up hanging out that night smoking pot, talking about our love of the Jersey Shore, Bruce Springsteen and Led Zeppelin.

And then we were dating.

After spending every day together between classes, at night and on weekends, we decided we would “do it.” He had already done it, I had only imagined what it would be like.  I went out and bought sexy red lingerie and candles, and then I really don’t remember much else. Except the next morning my friend was coming to visit , and I recall telling her I didn’t get what the big deal was.

And then I did. 

 I remember my first orgasm was the next semester, while we were fooling around in bed and my roommate was in the other bed sleeping.  

 We had sex constantly. The greatest was when we went to the shore the following September for his sisters wedding. We were on a deserted beach, the sun was beating down, and it was so earthy and sensual- it seemed like From Here To Eternity, except we had no clothes on. And were having sex. And I look nothing like Deborah Kerr.

We dated for the next 3 1/2 years of college, until I ruined it by sleeping with my cousin’s roommate when I went to visit them at Penn. I had never slept with anyone else, and wanted to know what it was like.

 It was like wanting an open oyster from Godiva in the gold box, but getting a Hershey’s kiss in tin foil. Of course he found out. He read my diary.  He told me I ruined his life, and never spoke to me again. I used to write him apology letters trying to explain, and I would get back return to sender, addressee unknown in his handwriting.

 For fun and curiosity I looked him up on Linked In recently. There he was, looking for business contacts and reconnnecting with old friends. Hey, I was an old friend. So, I emailed him and said “Hey! How are you? Hope you are having a wonderful life. Sorry I hurt you when we were younger.”  He did not add me as a business contact or old friend.

 

Drugs, Shoes… November 9, 2009

Filed under: fashion,Life,love,Uncategorized — Geri Gordon Miller @ 10:09 pm
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I just spent the day with my friend Darlene from New York who I  hadn’t seen in 18 years. We met waitressing at American Festival Cafe, which was in Rockefeller Center, right on the ice rink.

skating at rockefeller center     dana, geri, darlene bel grayson

There were so many people she remembered that I forgot, like my old roommate Doug,an over the top smoker, who lived with me and a couple other people in an enormous loft for the time; 2 stories with a wrap around balcony across from the Chelsea Hotel. I always say my only regrets so far in life have to do with real estate. That is one apartment I should’ve never given up.

 

The late 80’s in New York were really a moment in time. I had some of the best, most outrageous and wonderful times in my life when I lived there. The fact that I am still friends with many of those people says something. We bonded over alcohol, pot, shopping, sex, and acting  among other things.

 Not only was it a fun time to be in NY, it was much cheaper too. I think that apartment was like $1300. Right now, for $1300 in NYC you can get a 300 sq foot box studio with windows facing an alley. In the Bronx.

At the same time Doug lived with me, so did  Joanne from Wisconsin, who had short dark hair and the biggest, reddest lips I have ever seen. She waitressed with us as well. Joanne used to borrow everything I owned, and somehow never returned anything. I remember I had this cool pair of Kenneth Cole booties, that were black and had big silver buckles on the sides. Joanne swore she put them back in my closet, but I later found out she sold them on the street for a $5 bag of smack. seriously. Smack.  Try to go buy heroin for that cheap now. Or as a trade for a Kenneth Cole pair of shoes-not happening.  Although I never did indulge in drugs like that,  I have no idea how much it should’ve cost, but  $5 seems really cheap.  I guess it’s about supply and demand. Particularly for a drug dealer.
Cut to the mid 90’s, when i met my now ex. When we first spoke, he told me I was going to marry him one day. I told him I wasn’t even going to go on a date with him. How wrong I was. The week he moved in with me, he took me to the legendary once-a-year American Rag sale where he bought me FIVE pairs of shoes. I remember calling my sister and telling her this was the man I was going to marry. Unfortunately, I later found out he was bi-polar and self medicated with crack.  I am pretty sure he sold his shoes for crack. He sold everything he had for crack, including a $2500 Rolex for $250. If he only knew how much some of my shoes cost…

 

shoes. an obsession.my story November 4, 2009

Filed under: fashion,Life,love,Uncategorized — Geri Gordon Miller @ 8:40 am
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I have been obsessed with shoes since I was little.11-3-2009_001

I remember every pair of shoes I have ever owned, and the circumstances surrounding each pair. I barely recall events of my childhood unless they are about shoes. Poor Patti Mangan. I wouldn’t let her come to my birthday party if she was going to wear her white go-go boots, because I was wearing my black ones. it was my birthday, and I needed to be the center of attention.

I have loved fashion ever since I can remember. My grandmother Sadie instilled that love of clothing in me. Some of my earliest memories are of her taking me shopping. I think back on going to Jacks Department Store with her and watching her try on clothes…and furs. Mr Reynolds, the furrier (I can’t recall someone’s name I met yesterday, but I remember him) used to give me real mink tails for my Barbies. I was the only girl I knew whose dolls had genuine mink stoles. They also lived in huge mansions with black panthers as sofas, but that’s another story altogether.

When Frye boots were all the rage, my grandmother took me shopping and we bought the coolest pair of “Frye Campus” boots, which have been in my closet up until about two years ago when I handed them over to my sister, you know, as a  as a sisterly bond. Plus, they didn’t fit me anymore.Frye Boots

pink clutch 001I still have the pink, butter-soft Ruth Saltz clutch with the sculpted leather rose she bought me, also at Jack’s for my high school homecoming. I wore it with a black, way too sexy for high school, but I was a virgin so who knew, column dress, that had different colored velvet patches around the neck in different shades of red, pink, and gold, and tied around me Greek style. To top the look, I wore LOTS of eyeshadow, winged Farrah Fawcett hair, and black suede platforms. I was verryyy fashionable. And my date my a football player from a rival school.

Getting back to my youth, I had a pronating foot, so at some point my pediatrition Dr Pewterbaugh,who gave us packets of green colored, licorice flavored pills after every visit, and had the solar system painted on his walls in the waiting room, thought I should get “special” shoes. We had to get them at Newswangers, and whenever we would go to get a new pair, all the salespeople would scatter. I would throw temper tantrums like you have never seen. “I will NOT wear the ugly orthopedic shoes. They are hideous!” Seriously, I was about 6. Even then I knew, shoes make the man, or girl as it were.

I had every new trend that came around: Earth Shoes, Kork Ease, Famolares, Tretorns, Duck Shoes, each a parallel as to where I was in life. The duck shoes were important as I was going off to college, and they did look good with the Fair Isle sweaters and cords…very collegian. But I was still into my platforms, especially my tan Kork Ease with the red roses carved into the wedge and foot strap, and what I really wanted was to be an actress and study in New York.

My father didn’t think that was a real thing people did, and I had to go to a four year college or support myself, which was never going to happen, as he craftily knew. I mean, I worked at Ormonds, the Forever 21 of its day, and spent every dime on clothing. Admittedly, he did offer up FIT, but I didn’t think I had the talent, and clearly lacked the desire.

So, I decided I would go to school and be a journalist. I mean, that is acting, kinda. Plus, I could cover wars and really important things, and that would be my way of showing the disparity in the world, and those jobs are easy to get…right. It seemed like it would be a cinch, and my dad was paying for the experience.

Then, the summer before college started, I got mono, and there was the possibility I may not be able to make first semester, so I was thinking if I couldn’t start with my friends, I needed a Plan B. The Peace Corps. It seemed very adventurous to go to another country and lend a hand, plus, I read in Seventeen magazine , no doubt with Jayne Modean on the cover,about a girl who volunteered and found true love with another like soul somewhere in Africa. Exotic! Romantic!  Daring! Fantastic! I was always interested in exploring other countries, I would be doing something noble, and let’s face it, I would be a world away from my father. We just didn’t see eye to eye. On anything. Yes, that was the answer. It didn’t matter that my strict father made the edict that I had to go to school somewhere within 3 hours from home so he could check up on me, but I actually thought if I paid my way he would let me go around the world.

But of course, being that I had maybe $100 saved, and, I didn’t even rough it at camp, let alone own a backpack, that wasn’t going to happen. Plus, I wasn’t ready to give up my platforms and the collegian clothes we had bought for a year in khakis and desert boots.

 

life and shoes November 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Geri Gordon Miller @ 10:23 pm

This past spring I broke my foot. For the second time in a year. Both times I had on the same pair of lush black suede Robert Clergerie clogs. I began to think that I really shouldn’t ever wear this pair of clogs again, especially since I am now the proud owner of 14 pins and a plate in my right foot. My surgeon emphasized that thought as well.

So I decided to do what many before me had done-sell them on ebay. When I was finally semi-ambulatory, I waded through my walk-in closet, and there at the back was my circular stand with all clogs, and right next to it, shelving with boxes of clogs. As I took out one after another, I started to count, and even I was astounded. 44 pairs of clogs. I mean, this actually was embarrasssing. How did I amass this many? This was by no means all of my shoes, so we can’t even get into how many pairs of shoes I own, period. As I went through them I remembered where I bought each pair, how much I paid, and what I did in every single pair.

As I posted them on ebay, I mentioned I broke my foot and couldn’t wear them, though I didn’t tell the stories of when I wore them, who I was with and how they made me feel-that felt too personal. Plus, I didn’t want Debby from Tennessee to know that the two times I wore these clogs, I had broken my foot, just in case she believes that bad things happen in three’s.

I started thinking about my intense connection to shoes, and how they reflected my life;The blue denim Famolare clogs (which by the way, did you know have their own exhibit at the Smithsonian??) that I begged my mom to drive to another city to buy because I had to have them; the white patent sandals with a yellow daisy on the top that matched my turquoise one piece scooter outfit that had big white and yellow daisies splashed all over, with a thick white zipper up the front, and trimmed in white zigzag trim, that I wore for my first day at sleepover camp.

I also would like to add, I wore that because it was my last day to see the paperboy, Bobby Kilgore, who I had a massive crush on. I thought he, being four years or so older, would appreciate my sense of style and sophistication. The only thing is, I didn’t rub the slippery bottoms on the pavement first, so when he rang the doorbell to collect the subscription money, I flew down the steps, and slid right on my ass in front of him, all while the song “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap played on my Michael Jackson close and play. I am making that part up- I just found the Michael Jackson record player on the street one morning while walking my dog before MJ died. I am not sure what decorative close and play we had, though I know it was probably much more uncool. Like a Fisher Price. blog pictures 11 3 007

The point is, there is a story behind every shoe, that is way more interesting than the actual shoe,but make up the fabric of my life.