Of duck statues and squeaky shoes
Now that I’m a little way into my children’s story blog, I thought I would give an explanation as to where the name “Squeaky Shoe Stories” came from.
This blog is an idea that has been swirling around, half-formed, in my brain for a long time, but I could never think of the right name.
At first I liked Kid-Lit, but then, knowing how little tongues can sometimes go awry I thought that might be too much of a tongue twister, and one that could have some rather interesting results.
I came up with a couple of other ideas I liked, only Google searches came up with some rather explicit content that I wouldn’t want any young readers to stumble upon.
Every other idea I came up with was already taken, and there wasn’t anything I really felt was right. So I decided to go back to basics – why I am writing this blog, and what I want the name to represent.
I really wanted something that would capture the fun of being a kid, the freedom you have to use your imagination and really explore the world around you. And then I remembered the squeaky shoes.
Years ago, when I was studying a journalism degree at uni, I worked at a bakery. It was a nice place, very open and bright, with great food and great people to work with. In addition to the lovely European delicacies, we also had a few stands of flower arrangements made by the owner’s sister. On one of these stands was a rather lifelike ceramic duck statue.
One day when I was working, a mother came in with her daughter, a tiny thing about two at the oldest. This gorgeous little creature was wearing squeaky shoes – no doubt bestowed on her by some friend or relative with a rather sadistic sense of humour or a grudge against the little girl’s parents.
After wondering around in awe for a while, the girl noticed the duck statue.
“Duck-duck-duck-duck-duck” she said as she toddled towards it, her little shoes going ‘squeak-squeak-squeak’ the whole way.
She picked up the duck by it’s neck, and proceeded to carry it around the store with her (luckily the thing was hollow, it was about half as big as she was).
“Duck-duck-duck” ‘squeak-squeak-squeak’, she made her way around the shop.
When her mother had finished the transaction she had a battle on her hands to get the little girl to give up the duck and go on to the supermarket with her. Every time she put the duck down, the little girl would toddle back and pick it up again.
Finally the mother convinced her daughter to leave the duck alone and leave the shop; until “duck-duck-duck-duck-squeak-squeak-squeak,” the little girl came tearing back in, went straight for the duck and marched proudly out with it. Her mother caught up and brought the duck back in to me (she’d given me such a laugh that I would have been quite happy to let her take it, but I didn’t know how my boss would feel about that).
That memory of the little girl with the squeaky shoes has stuck with me ever since, and to me it sums up everything that is good about childhood – the innocence, the fascination with things we adults would overlook completely, and the delight in wearing something that one day will probably drive her mad with her own children.
And that is the story of the squeaky shoes.