The Slipper Box and the Power to Create Our Own Fairy Tales

The Slipper Box and the Power to Create Our Own Fairy Tales

Slipper Box Outside

Who would have thought a slipper box could be so ominous. But there it sat for a year after my mother’s death, unexpected, at 72.  I couldn’t let it go, but I couldn’t open it. 18 inches wide, slanted top, 5 inches tall at the high end, brass and etched with flowers on the top, the word slippers across the front.

It sat innocently on the floor against a wall in every house my mom had ever lived in. It was the one item that had been a constant in my mom’s room as long as I could remember.

And suddenly it was mine.

At times I was actually tortured about it. “Should I open it?” “Come on…just open it!” “I can’t open it.”

I had visions of Cinderella slippers in that slipper box and a promise of living happily ever after. Never opened, but always there. I had no idea how she got it. But it was so intertwined with my memories of her. A glamourous hint of a time gone by.

Albeit much more comfortable than any imaginable sparkly, glittery, dazzling construction, my slippers were practical: worn in, over-used UGGS, that lay askew, carelessly thrown into the floor of the closet.

Packing to move to my new life.

As I packed up things to make the move to Chicago, I knew I needed to open it before I moved it. And so I took a deep breath in and raised the lid.

No slippers.

The top of a lipstick, broken jewelry chains, dollar bills, a lighter, an empty pack of cigarettes. Stuff.

Stuff that you hide until you find the other part or fix it, or perhaps it was the place you hid your cigarettes and you just ran out. It was the unfinished bits, the extra things, things to hide…that you’ll get to at some point…not expecting to need to do today.

I laughed out loud! It was so like my mom to have this stuff in there.  It was sort of a grandma’s garbage can. Rather than fulfilling the fairy tale, it was actually really comforting that it was so naturally her…it was really little things that allowed me to imagine my mom as a person in her everyday life.

Of Real Life and Fairy Tales

Slipper Box InsideSo, no slippers in the slipper box. No fairy tale ending. But that’s okay. Even better. Life can bring us to unexpected places, and ideas or expectations that we have can be different than expected. But sometimes it’s in the simple day to day things that we connect more closely to those in our lives.

And it makes me powerful. We are our own fairy godmothers. We take charge of our own lives, and that can happen any time you are willing to take a chance—take a step and move forward. It’s not by hoping there is something inside of a magical box.


On to Chicago

I brought four things with me when I entered my new apartment in Chicago for the first time: A pillow that says “home is where your mom is”; a picture of me and my four children; a Sherwin Williams paint sample of a “girly” gray lavender that was in complete opposition to my old Cincinnati bedroom; and that slipper box, which I took it just as it was….junk and all.


Fairy Tales Do Come True

Because in seeing all that ‘regular stuff’ I was comforted in knowing if we look around us we have everything we need to make our own fairy tales.


Unapologetically You Post-50. Reinvention, Lifestyle, Relationships.

  • Karen Rolfes
    Posted at 18:21h, 14 August Reply

    I’m loving this! You go girl!!

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