Money and safety—always an issue when you are traveling. Today, we don’t think about how to hide enormous sums of money while traveling in the United States. Easily, we would go to the nearest branch of our bank in our current location and deposit it. No problems, no need to worrying about hiding it.
Marshall Flippo had to be creative in the 60s and 70s during the heyday of his calling career. Flippo drew sizeable crowds wherever he went and got paid with cash or checks while traveling for weeks before heading home. With no bank branches, he had to get imaginative in his travels when he carried a large sum, forcing him to hide his money.
In 2017, when I was interviewing Flippo for his biography, Mike Seastrom asked me, “Have you heard the stories about how Flippo hid his money while he was traveling?” We were sitting at dinner at the CALLERLAB Convention one evening in Albuquerque, NM. I told him I hadn’t heard those stories but would ask.
So, when we talked the next day in one of our only face-to-face interviews, I asked Flip. He chuckled, then related the following amazing stories:
Flippo’s First Money Hiding Story
Because Flip got paid in either check or cash on his tour, he devised unique ways to hide his money. Often the dances paid him in cash since they would pay him out of the money they collected at the door. He never mailed the money home to Neeca, so he would carry it all with him until he got home.
Flippo did a Sunday morning at Chula Vista Resort then hurried like heck to get over to Rockford, Illinois and had a dance Sunday afternoon at two o’clock. Then Flip had the next night off, but he always drove a little ways because he was going down into Indiana for Monday. So he usually drove to Chicago and stayed in “this motel in Chicago—nice hotel, nice motel. And I had stayed thar before.
“This time I had a lot of cash on me, and I was so tired when I got in thar. We went out to eat after the dance in Rockford—a bunch of us, then I drove on over to Chicago, and so I was quite tired when I pulled into the motel. With my clothes on, I just laid across the bed and went to sleep. I slept about three hours. I woke up. It was 11:30 at night, and I was hungry.”
So Flippo thought, “Well, I’ll go out and get a hamburger somewhere,” but he had all this cash.
He thought, “I don’t want to go out this late at night with all this cash.” So, Flippo took the toilet paper off the spindle, wrapped all this cash money around it. Put the toilet paper back on, went out, and got himself a hamburger. The next day, he was going to Kokomo, Indiana, and got there about 4:00 p.m.
Flip decided to eat dinner, and he opened his billfold and there was no money.
He thought, “Oh, I left that money on that spindle.” So Flippo called that motel. As we talked, he worried about not knowing the name of the motel and promised to find it somehow but never did.
He told the clerk, “I was in the room—I don’t know what the number was now. I left some money on the spindle on the toilet paper in that room. Forgot it. Left it and I’m over in Kokomo, and I left that money in thar.”
And the desk clerk asked, “You know, how big was the roll of toilet paper?” “Ah, about a quarter of it had been used.”
He stated, “Well, that’s pretty good. When it gets down pretty low, they usually take it off and put a new roll on thar.”
So Flippo thought, “Oh.”
The clerk commented, “I’ll go over and check. Give me about two minutes.” “Well, after a while, he came back.”
“I got sixty-five twenty dollar bills here.” That was $1300! Today that would be over $11,000! (Comparison of $1300 in 1960 to 2020. Ian Webster, “CPI Inflation Calculator,” 2020, https://www. in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1960?amount=1300)
“Glory me. Take one of those twenties for yourself and send the rest to that address. You got my address when I checked in.” Can you imagine sending that amount of cash in the mail today!
He stated, “I’ll do that,” and Flippo added with a flair, “He did.” That’s unbelievable!
Flippo’s Second Money Hiding Story
Flippo repeated, “It’s amazing! It’s not the end of the story. The next year, same motel, same situation—God, I didn’t thank I’d ever forget the name of that motel. Same motel. Same type of situation—tired, laid out across the bed, went to sleep, woke up hungry.”
He thought, “I ain’t going to put that toilet paper around that dang gum money, so I put it under the floor mat of the car. I’ll be in that car. I’ll know where my money is.”
Next day, while Flip was driving toward Kokomo, before he got out of Chicago, he saw a car wash.
Flippo went on, “Oh, thar’s a car wash, pulled in thar. It was a full service. Pulled up to the vacuum, and the ole boy stopped me thar.”
The attendant directed him to go through that tunnel, go down to the cashier, and pay out.
“Okay.” Flippo added, “It’s a young black guy. So, I’m walking down that tunnel, and I hear the door open behind me.”
And that guy stated, “Hey, sir. This money almost went down the vacuum.”
“He had it in his hand, so I give him five dollars.”
Flippo told him, “Oh, thank you very much. I forgot it. I ’member putting it under thar last night.”
Flippo concluded these stories, “They talk about, you know, the crime in Chicago and everythang. Thar was two incidents that the guys could have said, ‘No, haven’t seen no money,’ and anyway, end of the story.”
And he added as he finished, “I need to go smoke.”
Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo (2020): 170-171.
How remarkable for sure! I love how these stories about Flippo’s ingenious methods of hiding money turned out so well when they could have been a tragedy. Also, what honest people he dealt with at that hotel and carwash! It describes a different time and a different mindset for sure. If you enjoyed these stories, buy his biography for many more.
Do you hide money? If so, how do you do it? Have you ever had a near miss or two like Flippo?
~WATCH MY NEW INTERVIEW on Chat & Spin Radio, from Friday, June 24, 2022. Join us for a lively description of all my books!
~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.
~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:
- Book Talk–June 3, 2022 –
- Live on Purpose Podcast–March 17, 2022 –
- Zbooks.com–January 19, 2022
- Apostrophes, A Writers Series with Double DD–January 10, 2022
- The On Purpose Podcast–January 10, 2022
~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A
~Wish You Were Here: A Novel by Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors, deals with the COVID pandemic in fiction as opposed to my nonfiction book. Check it out! Interesting story!
~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com