The year is 1963 or 64, I’m 5 or six years old when I spy a mysterious box in my closet, the contents of which inspires great creativity in me. After exploring my option I decide to use its contents to fashion a lovely pair of sandals for myself.
Mom is playing a rigorous Chopin Nocturne as I descend the stairs as though I’m Coco Chanel in her design house in Paris, wearing one of her signature suits. Only I’m sporting my newly crafted, soft, cushiony, sandals made of super absorbent, extra large, Kotex pads.
“Mom!! Look what I made!!”
I shout with the excitement of Alexander Graham Bell having discovered for the first time that his telephone invention works.
Not only are Kotex pads rarely spoken of in the genteel, somewhat repressed suburban culture of 1963 , but Mom’s economy size box was squirreled away atop my walk-in closet shelf, instead of her own. (That’s odd. It’s not as if dad didn’t know she got periods. She gave birth to six of his kids. Clearly the result of the fallacious “rhythm method” the only method of birth control approved by the Catholic church.)
At first she is horrified. When she immediately notes the look of confusion and disappointment on my face, she quickly recovers by laughing.
“Where did you get those?”
“In my closet. I don’t know how they got there or who left ’em. But they’re like giant cotton balls. Look mom! I made these! They’re like poofy Roman sandals. I could make you a pair. You would like them mom! They’re soooo comfortable. You could put them when you get home instead of your flats.”
(It was a well known ritual that within 5 minutes of arriving home from anywhere, we invariably heard the words “Somebody please get my “flats!”” Or “Just wait! Don’t talk to me ’til I put on my “flats!”” As though flats had an amazing,magical restorative power. Which, compared to heels, they probably did.)
“Ok. Honey. that’s nice. But go take those off please. And stay out of that box.”
“Whose is it? Why is it in my closet?”
“It’s for ladies. Don’t worry about it. I’m going back to playing the piano before dad gets home. Please don’t get into things that don’t belong to you. That isn’t nice. Ok?”
“Ok. So you don’t want me to make you a pair? I could make them bigger with extra padding.”
“No thank you. But thank you. They’re very nice. But if they get wet, they won’t be very comfortable. Ok?”
“I guess I didn’t think about that. ”
As I leave the living room to the sound of her playing a waltz, I’m not sure if she isn’t maybe a little envious that she didn’t think of it first or if I my foray into fashion footware is a total bust. It isn’t long before I learn that it’s the latter.
Just as Cinderella’s carriage collapsed into a pumpkin on the way home from the ball, so too do my Kotex sandals as they unravel before my very eyes under my feet while climbing the stairs to my bedroom.
Oh well. Another day, another creation.