the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson




S: There’s something interesting about our undying desire to turn our dolls’ hair from blonde to black*.

P: We kept trying!

S: And every time it failed. Now they do make black-haired B*****s and stuff, but at the time there was nothing*.

P: Did we do a Kiddle’s hair too?

S: Yes. The one that was a grandmother. We could never relate to the dolls that had white hair. Like that Kiddle, the one who was meant to be Old Mother Hubbard*.

P: We liked her because she was cute, she was childlike in every way except that she had the wrong color hair, which was troubling.

S: I wonder if she’s in here [rummaging in doll box]. Do you remember we played a game with that Santa, where we tried to make him the romantic hero because we thought he was cute, even though he’s bald and has a beard and mustache*! I don’t see that Mother Hubbard Kiddle. I wonder if we threw her away because we had failed on her too. It was always hard, the dolls—look, there’s the alien Kiddle—it was hard to play romantic games with dolls whose faces were a non-human color.

P: Although the Unknowable’s* face doesn’t look that bad, really.

S: Willy’s* hair we never needed to change. But we didn’t think of him as old—I guess we thought of him as blonde, sort of.

P: I thought of the silver as another foppish fashion, like powdered hair. It was always part of his weirdness, though. I wonder if that was why he didn’t get to be as big a character: because we weren’t sure what his character was.

S: It was hard to define him, he never became a very fixed character, even later. We did think he was nicer than Harvey, but he also seemed to share elements of that slightly unfortunate foppishness. Obviously, because of the shapes of their heads and bodies, they could never be the romantic hero. So we didn’t know what to do with them besides make them horrible. But there could never be two Harveys in the world, either. I think Willy was more to be pitied than censured*. Whereas Harvey’s character was so unfortunate that we were able to make fun of him mercilessly.

P: Yeah. But it seems possible to me that Willy might have been a wannabe Harvey sometimes, too.

S: You know what, he seems sort of gay. Not that we had a concept of gay in our stories, which is weird when you think about it. But I don’t remember him ever coming on to a girl doll. He was like an Oscar Wilde. A bit remote and sort of elegant.