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Ramona's Ramblings

To Alice’s Wonderland

Ramona Jan
Posted 11/28/23

I needed a pair of waterproof sneakers, not booties that strangle the ankle. I’ve always had narrow, bony ankles and anything that encircles them, sometimes even too-tight socks bother me. So …

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Ramona's Ramblings

To Alice’s Wonderland


I needed a pair of waterproof sneakers, not booties that strangle the ankle. I’ve always had narrow, bony ankles and anything that encircles them, sometimes even too-tight socks bother me. So I’ve been on the lookout for some waterproof sneakers in wide, another dilemma.

I’ve been told that I have an ‘old-world European style foot’, narrow heel, wide frontend. My husband asks, “Who doesn’t?”  And I say, “Since most shoes are medium width now, I guess most people.” And then he says, “How did that happen?” And I say, “I don’t know. Quit asking me these questions. I need a real shoe store where they measure the feet.” And so to Alice’s Wonderland I go. And here’s how that went…

I started out in Narrowsburg at the Tusten Cup where I met with fellow Yarnslingers, Bill and Greg. It was a power meeting to say the least. They’ve been helping keep Yarnslingers together while I repair my health. Kind-hearted Bill treated me to lunch, which consisted of a scoop of tuna salad over some delicious greens and a creamy pesto dressing. I also took a banana for the road because I’m born in the year of the monkey. Bill looked at me oddly and then ordered the Sasquatch sandwich. No questions asked.

Post-meeting, which went very well (exciting things on the horizon for Yarnslingers including youth groups), I drove to A Picker’s Find in Honesdale, PA; a place newly organized by proprietor, Jenna. Footpaths have been cleared and now there’s a very large outdoor tent where goods are half price. I bought two vintage tea trays for a total of four bucks. What a bargain! However, let us not forget that I was on my way to Alice’s Wonderland in Greeley, PA, a family-owned business with clothing and, I’ve heard, a real shoe store.

Being someone who doesn’t drive much and does not own a cell phone and therefore doesn’t have Waze to guide me, I must rely on the kindness of strangers to get me where I want to go. One such person with a metal duck (the kind you’d put in your yard) tucked under his left arm said this, “You’ll see lots of woods, but keep going.” And then Jenna added, “You’ll go up and down hills. You’ll wonder if you’ll ever get there. But don’t give up!”

I didn’t give up although I did pull over to the side here and there to let the cars that were tailgating me pass. I tend to drive very slowly when I don’t know where I’m going. 

As promised, Alice’s was, and is, a wonderland. The two-level store with a colorful welcoming sign sits in a large building right off Route Six. The entire top floor is dedicated to clothing and this time of year, it’s all warm and cozy threads. The man-at-the-counter, whom I believe said his name was JP, directed me to the lower level and wow! All I can say is this is a real shoe store with boots, slippers, sneakers, moccasins and anything else you can imagine in quality footwear.

My feet were measured by an actual shoe salesperson using a device you may be familiar with if, like me, you grew up in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. Caste in silver and black metal, it’s called a Brannock. As a child I hated the Brannock because it was always ice cold and I thought something awful would happen to my foot should I step on it as required, but now I see it as a necessity. 

Alice’s salesperson confirmed; my foot is wide and more than that, amazingly grew a whole size in length! I don’t know how or when that happened, but it didn’t matter. I walked away with exactly what I needed and wanted, a pair of well-fitting waterproof sneakers. It’s worth the trip if you want to buy local at a well-stocked old fashioned shoe store.

RAMONA JAN is the Founder and Director of Yarnslingers, a storytelling group that tells tales both fantastic and true. She is also the roving historian for Callicoon, NY and is often seen giving tours around town. You can email her at callicoonwalkingtours@gmail.com.


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