When remembering great teachers, I think first of Miss Eleanor Taylor, who welcomed all ages to see her elaborate display of plants in the kindergarten room. I arrived early almost every morning and visited her room before Miss Mary Jesse arrived.
I relate Miss Jesse to the playing of "The Anvil Chorus" while we rested after recess. Miss Elizabeth Burrell wore a beautiful decorative comb in her hair. Dr. H.Y. Moffett smelled like stale cigarette smoke, but he wrote "Junior Highway to English," used nationwide, and I loved him. The superintendent of our University of Missouri Laboratory Schools was a jolly fat Saint Nicholas kind of fellow named Dr. Ralph Watkins. All these people loved teaching, and I learned that love from them.
Recently, I was asked to say "a few words" to 850 women, all at the same time! I quoted Wolf’s law. Wolf was a German doctor who discovered that living bone changes shape when it’s subjected to slight pressure over a long period of time.
Miss Mae Kelley mentioned the torture of little Chinese girls whose feet were bound up so they would be small and pretty. What she said got through to me! We could make bones change shape - to correct posture and painful feet, but it’s more likely to happen when we are not aware.
If I usually drive a car with one elbow resting on the open window, I can expect to eventually have a high left shoulder and to walk crookedly because of a change in the bones of my shoulder and spinal column. If I squeeze my feet into the pointed toes of cowboy boots or stylish party slippers, I can expect corns, blisters, calluses, thickened epidermis or ingrown toenails.
Wolf’s law predicts this.
This happened to me before I ever heard of Miss Kelley or Wolf. I once showed a podiatrist my new shoes and proudly said, "They are made in England and have a soft leather lining."
The doctor said, "Madam, look at your foot, and tell me how that foot could function in that pointed-toe shoe!" He was right; it couldn’t have functioned long without damage!
Almost all of us were born with good feet. Our parents were cautious about shoes that fit and about outgrown sleepers with closed feet and shrunken booties from grandma!
If we buy flimsy shoes to carry our overweight bodies, we invite serious health problems. When we strap feet into shoes that apply "gentle pressure for long periods of time," a whim of fashion designers, we are asking for trouble. Shoes with pointed toes, high heels and/or nonflexible soles might be cute. Wear them and expect trouble. The damage is easy to see. We call it corns, bunions, calluses, ingrown toenails, inflamed joints and/or thickened epidermis.
Tonight, when you remove your shoes, stand beside them and ask yourself, "Madam, how do you think those feet could ever go into these shoes?" The answer is this: The bones of those feet will change to fit the shoes - just as surely as the bones of little Chinese girls’ feet changed when bound ages ago.
After the "bloody revolution," when Communists forced Christian missionaries to leave, foot-binding gave way to normal growth so feet might function well in rice paddies.