Gypsy Boots; A Young Woman Hitchhikes Through Europe 1958-1959
Authorhouse 2008. ISBN-13: 978-1438926308

Stepping off the transatlantic ship in Rotterdam, wearing a velvet hat, white gloves, high pointy toed heels, a garter belt holding up nylon stockings, and beige suit perfectly pressed, I lugged a plaid suitcase filled
GB

with the 'right' outfits ready to embark on a three month European tour in the summer of 1958. I expected windmills and wooden shoes, longed for picturesque towns of narrow cobblestone streets lined with leaning buildings shaped by time. I found a continent shaped by war.

When I took off my high heels and nylon stockings to slip my feet into fleece lined walking shoes, my Gypsy Boots, when I stored my packed plaid suitcase in London to substitute a small rucksack with one change of clothes, when I fearfully held out my arm to flag down my first car, I stepped into a strange dream. One that enfolded me and sent me in a new direction, an irrevocable moment when I walked across a boundary my old self couldn't cross.
115-1560_IMG


Living on a dollar and a half a day, I hitchhiked 25,000 miles, from Lapland to the Canary Islands, from East Germany to Greece, through Tito's Yugoslavia and Franco's Spain. A year and a half later, on the way home, I barged into Castro's revolution in Cuba on a freighter bound for Mexico. Gypsy Boots is a journey that describes a time when women's ambitions were limited to nursing, teaching or taking dictation. It took place on a continent still in shock from war and trying to cope with poverty, dictators
115-1557_IMG

and the impositions of the Iron curtain, where people were willing to share their customs and voice their challenges to a naive American. This turns into the adventures of an innocent abroad who hitchhiked from the conventions of her past into a new era.