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Love affair with shoes has been long lasting

Recently The News ran an amazing article, "For the love of shoes." What was amazing about it was that it took this long to run it.

I mean, I certainly could have written that, and even hosted a party displaying the multitude of shoes that I have accumulated over the years. I know I may be in the minor league when it comes to owning shoes. I'm no Imelda Marcos. My collection only lines the back of two doors and a closet floor and only one closet shelf (which is only for shoes that are worn on special occasions), but I think of myself as more than just an amateur.

An amateur would not color-coordinate her shoe collection; an amateur would not spot a pair of Bruno Frisanis on a woman from 20 yards away.

Although I can't quite remember what age I was when I acquired my taste for these delectable treasures, I do remember thinking that my pink pinafore would look much prettier with matching satin "Mary Janes." And who would ever think of not wearing saddle shoes with blue jeans?

As the years passed, my collection increased. By the time I reached junior high school, my collection took over most of my clothes closet. I needed more room, what with boots to wear with maxis and boots to wear with mini-skirts. I was seriously thinking of taking over the spare bedroom just to house my collection and give them an elegant place to live. But my mother nixed that plan.

Actually there was a period of time, while my children were growing up, that my collection waned a bit. The need for six different styles of brown pumps didn't seem quite compelling when I was chasing after a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old. It was dangerous trying to run on stilettos; sneakers were the best fit for those days.

Still, I never lost the spirit of the chase, knowing the perfect pair of designer shoes was out there and that the day would come when I would resume my quest.

Now the kids are grown, I have a spare bedroom and my quest continues. Even though my husband, after 30-plus years, still does not comprehend the attraction, he has learned to accept the hunt when the "smell of leather," as he calls it, "attacks."

He even became jealous one time when we were shopping in the mall and I spotted a to-die-for pair of Aldos. I, like Carrie Bradshaw, exclaimed, "Well hello, lover," which he mistakenly took for flirting with a guy young enough to be my son -- I mean my brother. Thing was, it wasn't difficult to convince him that it was the shoes I was flirting with.

"The thing with shoes," I try to explain, "is that one day you may be in love with those strappy little Carlos sandals and can't get enough of them, but the next day you just want to clomp around with your favorite kitten-heeled suede shoes." He looks at me with that doe-eyed quizzical look and I know I've lost him.

So, of course, when I initiated the subject of enlarging the bedroom, he was dumbfounded as to why I needed a bigger bedroom. There seemed to be enough room for all our bedroom furniture and plenty to spare. My answer was, "It's for my shoes, silly!" He just rolled his eyes and walked away.

I guess I shouldn't mention the new pair of Franco Sarto salmon-colored suede pumps I bought just yet.

MaryJean Zajac of Orchard is no Imelda Marcos, but has an eye for fine shoes.

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