I believe it was the Christmas I was about seven years old is when I began to realize my great aunt was a little crazy eccentric. We always visited her a few days before the holiday to exchange gifts. This year she had many, many gifts under the tree and she told me to pick one…any one. I can remember being so excited as this was the first gift I was allowed to open this Christmas.
My excitement was shattered as I pulled out a pair of blue plastic flip flops. Now these were no ordinary child’s flip flops…they were men’s size thirteen! My mom, dad and baby sister all got flip flops too… various sizes and colors.
My mother, being the polite Southern lady she was, thanked my aunt for the gifts and had me give her a hug. On the way home my parents talked in a soft whisper but every once in a while they would giggle and I would hear my mom say “bless her heart“. When I asked my mom why I got men’s shoes for Christmas she told me my aunt was not herself because she was going through the change. No one was willing to tell me exactly what the change meant.
Her change must have lasted a really long time because the next year we all got men’s XXL sweat shirts and the following year we all got different size socks!