Old legs: of beauty and utility

Photo of 3 seated women from the knees down, in pretty dresses and pretty shoes. They all have shapely legs and ankles.
These legs are 86, 79 and 82 years old respectively.

Party time! Our family was celebrating Lesley’s almost-80th birthday, when I noticed what pretty shoes we sisters were all wearing. And what nice legs! Long ago when we were at high school, they were famous as “the Taylor legs” and they are still functional in our 70s and 80s. Let me show you two more sets of Taylor legs:

Two pairs of legs, seated. One pair is covered in swirly purple and black loose trousers, with red sandals. The other shapely legs are sheathed in nylon and end in black patent leather heels.
These legs are 84 and 78 years old respectively.

You can’t see my legs because I took the photos. But my legs are also perfectly functional, although the skin is mottled and veins are pushing into the foreground, and the skin is dangerously thin.

What I deduce from these old Taylor legs

  • We were lucky. We got calves and ankles from our genes.
  • We were lucky. We were fed well and didn’t get rickets.
  • We keep moving! We’ve all got physical things that we like doing: walking, swimming, stretching, Pepsa exercise, Pilates, tai chi, tramping, squatting, biking or tennis — we all do some sort of physical exercise, often, either incidentally or on purpose. As time goes by we modify what we do but we don’t stop dead, yet.
  • Except for one young glamour girl, we don’t wear stockings. We display our blotchy, flakey, thin and vulnerable skin to the world. But we do wear slightly longer skirts. And sunblock.
  • Our mother was bold and original and creative, and that’s catchy. So at a party we are wearing fun colourful clothes, mostly dresses.
  • We can’t handle heels any more. Except for our glamour girl, and they’re just cute little heels.

I love my dear old legs

While they may be slowly failing, they are doing their best. They have been with me my entire life. They are part of me, propping me up and tootling me around all my life.

It’s not a case of use-them-or-lose-them, because one day they will become unpredictable and hobbly. One day they will start taking me in the wrong direction to some place I did not intend to go. (That’s not all bad, by the way.) And one day they will have to stop working and retire — regardless of pretty shoes and exercise.

That’s a fact. All the more reason to cherish them now for their continued service. Long live my old legs!

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26 thoughts on “Old legs: of beauty and utility

  1. henhouselady says:

    This is a wonderful leg story.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Chooks have very interesting legs too, i think.

  2. This story truly has legs! A very fine selection too if I may be so bold.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Another belly lauugh thanks to you!

      1. Just as dancing is great for the legs and general wellbeing, belly laughs are good for the tummy!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    My poor mother always was ashamed of her legs which makes me sad as I remember her. I have always liked mine and, like you, accept the way the skin has changed. At least I finally understand why they use the word “crepey” to describe old skin. But then I also like crepe!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Perfect! Now you mention it, I remember crepe (the fabric, not the pancake).

  4. srbottch says:

    Great story. We had a dance instructor who was tutored under Fred Astaire when he was opening studios way back when. She was old when we took lessons, but she had the most elegant legs, especially in high heels. Dancing, I’m sure, helped shape them. Keep on moving!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Good point. Dancing is the go until the end.

  5. Oh and what pretty blue shoes too… stylish, sassy girls for sure. I just donated my super-high, super slim, gorgeous Minx dress sandals to the Op Shop for some gorgeous young thing to grab. I don’t want to fall either. And I’ve just realised, I don’t wear ‘stockings’ either, although perhaps in the middle of winter, I might resort to tights under trews for warmth. I like what Peter said above ‘this story truly has legs’… lovely.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You would think we were colour co-ordinated from these photos. Havev you been grieving for your heels?

  6. Anonymous says:

    How wonderful. I am proudof my 70 year old legs too!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I’m very glad to hear this.

  7. Lois Roelofs says:

    My husband said he fell for me because of my slim ankles and legs. He never wavered from that statement. I think it helped me as a nurse that I was told early on to wear support hose. So no varicosities now at 80. I’m sure genes helped too. Like you, my sisters had nice-looking legs into old age. I don’t have your flare for color. I could use lessons! ‘m a B/W person having lived downtown Chicago for many years and wanting to fit in with the commuting business folks.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      What a great story. I also had my B/W period for exactly that reason (except not in Chicago). Since I retired, I’ve let rip with casual colour. Interestingly, that now seems to be the vibe throughout most of the city. Reaons — who knows? A changing climate? COVID? the zeitgeist?

  8. Very lovely legs and I love the pink shoes! That’s something I would wear!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I’m glad to hear it!

  9. realruth says:

    This post reminded me that when I was a pupil at Epsom Girls’ Grammar School in the 1960s there used to be a contest called Miss EGGS Legs. I never entered, and I’m sure it doesn’t happen in these more enlightened days.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That sounds hard on many people, because the shape of our legs at that age is the shape we got with our genes. And all young people are beautiful: and most of them don’t think so.

  10. Sadje says:

    Very smart legs. 👍🏼

  11. I enjoyed the Taylor leg story.

  12. Cathy Cade says:

    Ah, heels.. I always wore them. Not VERY high – around 2.5 inches – because I only had small feet. I had a Saturday job in Woolworths and by the end of the day (standing behind a counter – no self service back then) my feet were in agony. But I wore my heels out in the evening. I would feel like a duck if I wore flatties. Somewhere along four pregnancies, I got used to wearing flats and now when I (rarely) put on my heels for an event, they feel perilously high.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Hard times indeed. I had never thought of that equation: for small feet, high heels would be out of proportion—like with poor Barbie. Thank goodness flat shoes today come in 57 varieties, including beautiful and elegant!

  13. Bravo to the Taylor girls!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Hear hear! And all that giggling!

  14. Suzanne says:

    Keep those sturdy legs moving. One of my basketball team just turned 82 and is still doing well on the court. Some luck, mostly doing the right things.

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