Walk a Mile in their Shoes

Chloe had Mary Janes and Chukka Boots, some winkle-pickers and plimsolls too. But that wasn’t nearly enough, she also had; hunter green wellington boots, wooden clogs and elevator shoes, kitten heels, peeped toes, penny loafers and some names nobody knows. And let’s not forget her flip flops, duckbills, driving moccasins and espadrilles.

Walk a Mile in their Shoes

by Jules de Jongh

Season 3 Episode 3

[opening theme music and strapline]

Nanny Bea: Yes indeedy doo, it is that time again, the tea is brewed and my neighbour Jules will be here with a story any…

[knock sfx]

Nanny Bea:  minute now.

Nanny Bea:  See what I mean. Hello, who might you be?

JulesHello Nanny Bea, it’s your neighbour Jules with a story.

Nanny Bea: It is! Come in dear, we were waiting for you.

Jules:  Thank goodness ‘cause I have a tale for you that I read over and over again. It is full of so many wonder words… 

[wonder word jingle]

Jules:  But we don’t have time to list them all, so we’ll just jump right in. Are you ready for a story?

Nanny Bea:  Oh, yes please.

Jules:  Okay then, Walk a Mile in their Shoes, adapted for radio

The incy wincy, teeny weeny, itty bitty Chloe had even smaller feet, but that didn’t stop her from having an enormous collection of shoes. She had shoes to walk in, shoes to talk in, shoes to dance with, shoes to prance with and she did; walk, talk, dance and prance, anywhere anyone could see her and admire her footwear.

Her obsession became legendary. As did her slogan, ‘a new shoe a day, keeps the store clerk in pay.’ And boy did those clerks love her. 

‘Don’t you look divine.’

‘How fetching you are.’

‘Today your feet are like cupcakes and tomorrow they could be shooting stars.’

It is amazing what a clerk will say to get a sale. But, Chloe didn’t mind why they were saying it, she just loved that they did. Eventually she bought up every shoe in town. 

She had her Mary Janes and Chukka Boots,

Some winklepickers and plimsolls too.

But that wasn’t nearly enough, she also had;

hunter green wellington boots, 

Wooden clogs and elevator shoes.

Kitten heels, peeped toes,

Penny loafers and some names nobody knows.

And let’s not forget her

Flip flops,


Driving moccasins

And espadrilles.

One would think that was enough but noooo. Chloe wanted more. She wanted every shoe that ever was or ever will be, so she sent her people to search the globe with her adapted slogan, ‘a shoe a day keeps my employees in pay.’

Under the threat of losing their jobs they got to hunting, to find the unfindable. They returned and presented their findings one at a time.

The first to arrive had made his way to Greece where many consider western civilization began as the birthplace of our democracy, philosophy, our books and math and geometry. From Greece came the Olympic Games, Alexander the Great, theatre, showers, maps and clock towers. And a shoe they call the Tsarouhi, apparently they are very comfy, some traditional guards still wear them as do folk dancers. They have no laces or buckles, you just slide right in them and look down on the big fluffy pom poms on the end of your toes.

Chloe sighed and said, ‘You’ve just stuck a pom pom on the end of your shoe, I’d hardly call it special, would you?’ The young man slunk away.

The second to arrive brought in an absolute spectacle, pointy boots from Mexico. No surprise as Mexico is a vibrant place that gave us chocolate and chilies. And how fitting as the land itself is on the ‘ring of fire’ with loads of volcanoes and earthquakes. They are also home to the world’s biggest cactus that lives up to 300 years. It’s no surprise that they would create a boot which has a curling up toe that can reach 5 feet, that’s probably longer than you are tall. This pair was decorated with sparkling silver sequins and snake skin wrapped all around. 

Chloe gasped when she saw the skin, thinking it was a snake, then she settled, looked the boot over and said, ‘The toe is rather awkward and different to any other but a boot is still a boot, I’d rather have another.’ The delivery girl took her boots and crept away.

The third and final employee arrived. He had travelled to Lebanon and brought back a shoe called Kabkab. These Kabkab shoes were created over 800 years ago, they have seen empires rise and fall, felt the blows of decades of war but still they hold a special beauty. It might be the mother of pearl embedded in the wood or the intricate carvings of gold or maybe it was the hands that made it with great skill or the hands of those who protected it all these years. Yes these shoes have seen so much pain but also so much beauty in a land with sandy beaches and snow topped mountains. These Kabkab shoes are not like any other. They are made of wood platforms up on triangular stilts to keep the wearer from getting muddy. The shoes were presented to Chloe.

And Chloe did what she never does, she sat still and quiet. It was getting a bit uncomfortable, being in the company of a quiet Chloe but then she went to try them on. She needed a bit of help stepping onto them as they rose so high, then she needed more help strapping them on. Once on, Chloe couldn’t get them off on her own so she spent the entire day and evening in them. She walked and walked all over town. As she walked she could feel the history of those shoes rise up through her, an honourable history, a history of hardship. When the day came to an end, Chloe asked for help to remove her Kabkab shoes. 

‘Will you be wearing them again Miss Chloe?’ 

‘No,’ she said without hesitation. ‘I will put them on display and make a point of seeing them every single day.’

Chloe kept to her word and viewed those shoes, sometimes for hours. Those shoes seemed to seep into Chloe, she became sensitive and hospitable, she built people up instead of tearing them down. Nobody complained and nobody ever asked Chloe what it felt like to walk what must have been a mile in those shoes.

The End

Nanny Bea: Why thank you Jules. I once walked a mile in my dear friend Mildred’s shoes.

Jules: Oh, why was that?

Nanny Bea: We were out on the town last month, when my heel snapped in two. I suppose that’s the danger of wearing stilettos.

Jules: Wait a minute, what did Mildred wear then, on her feet?

Nanny Bea: Nothing, I simply gave her a piggyback to the station.

Jules: You carried her on your back for a mile?

Nanny Bea: Well I’ll never do that again. Her orthopaedic shoes with my mini skirt looked dreadful.

Jules: I wish I had a picture of that. Maybe someone will draw me one to put up on the website.

Thomas:  Go to NannyBea.com

Jules:  Go there to find out about all our stories. Then like us, recommend us but most importantly join us next week for more Tales and Tea.

[Be on the Show jingle]

Mr Announcer: This has been a Toad in the Hole production for NannyBea.com.