My Sister and Flip Flops

To Change one’s Mind.

To transition.

To alter one’s opinion.

To Flip Flop.

Christmas always seemed to be a time of plenty with solid gift giving on my parents’ minds. They made certain each of the six children received a large colorful exciting gift: a giant doll, rocking horse, punching bag, red wagon. Tiny gifts were important, too, filling in the gaps: pajamas, slippers, socks, candy.

Summer apparently was a different story. The gluttony of Christmas may still have weighed on this one-income, eight-person household. Requests for special items: denied.

And so it was in the early 60’s, my sister, Ginny, became enthralled with the innovative fad of flip flops. She was  8 or 10 and  asked mom to buy her  flip flops. She so loved the manner in which  they flapped at one’s heel and made SUCH a cool sound! Sort of a cross between smug self-satisfaction and a haughty complacency.

Mom was not impressed with the $.67  price tag for a pair of plastic shoes that appeared to be a one use, then toss item. A quick ciphering indicated that she’d likely be obligated to spend that one EACH of her kids and apparently decided it was over budget.

Ginny was sharp and inventive, though, watching the farm family around her create tractor parts out of baling wire. So  decided to construct her own.  She prepared cutouts of her feet on cardboard and attached a string device (likely leftover twine from a hay bale) which would encase toes and connect the cardboard.   As far as she could determine, this was high quality, first rate merchandise, but the cardboard just didn’t last and she  quickly developed sores between her toes, nonetheless, I think she was able to ring in a few “flip–flop/flip=flop” sounds.

Her own children possibly grew up in a similarly confusing dichotomy of excess and deprivation and, optimistically, she hopes they, too, uniquely promenade in their distinctive shoes on each side of the street.



  1. Me? I have not owned too many pair since I was 8 or 10. I DO have a black & white leopard pair now…fuzzy and soft but they are memoralized on the shelf. There is a pair at REI that I long for, cushy with a nice arch support for my sore feet. Ahh but they are $67.70 and I’m looking for some good quality cardboard!

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