the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson




S: It’s interesting to think about dolls who always had two heads. Like Laurie lost his original head, and he never gained a permanent replacement head. We just alternated* between this head and the Aina head. He went between being boy to being girl, with the same body. Which is interesting, because Laurie had that androgynous nature all along.

P: Did Aina ever have her own body? Or did she always have to switch off with somebody else?

S: She always had to switch off. Because her head originally belonged to one of those weird stiff plastic bodies. I think it was a Yugoslav doll or something.

P: Like Jesse. Weren’t they the same doll?

S: They are the same doll, aren’t they? They were both national costume dolls* or something, with legs that didn’t move. So they just became these heads.

P: And they had separate names, they just had to share bodies. But didn’t Fluff also share with the Aina head?

S: I think so. Oh, wait!

P: What’s her name with that head?

S: Huh. [confused]

P: Is she not Aina too?

S: No. Because that was— Well actually there was sometimes one character that looked different at different times. But what was her name? Because she was one who had been a particular doll before. What was her original name*? Her manufactured name?

P: I don’t remember what doll she used to be. But I feel like she and the other head were both alternately named Aina. Is that possible?

S: But also, remember, with this short hair—which is a disaster—we sometimes had this Nordic blond braid that we pinned on. And then she became glamorous! Where is that braid? So she also had two identities like that, as a single head. She is such a weird doll, look at the goofy smile she has. She’s nothing like the other pretty dolls, which is I think why I liked her.

P: She’s also nothing like the other Aina, if she is an Aina. She has a very different personality.

S: It’s like this movable personality.

P: It’s so weird that both heads and personalities were named Aina.

S: And that sort of ties in with the way there are certain characters whose biographical details changed from doll game to doll game but whose character remained the same even if their names changed. Like Phyllis was always a Phyllis sort, no matter what role she played in the game. But that wasn't necessarily true of all of them, I’m thinking.

P: Well, not the two Ainas, but they are complicated, since there is more than one head.

S: Weren’t there some dolls who changed characters a lot, like became bad every now and then, like Dan?

P: Dan for sure.

S: And the other Dawn-type doll was sometimes nice. Katherine. In fact in that doll game where there was a singing contest I think she was the one, the beautiful singer. The warbler. But they did alternate over Laurie’s body, didn’t they?

P: I think so. But there’s also the other Aina body. So this was Jesse, and this was one Aina, who alternated with that other Aina and may have had a slightly different personality…

S: We’ll have to draw a diagram.

P: I mean we certainly never had both of these heads in a game, if they were both Aina.

S: But we could have had both Jesse and Aina in one game, and I think we did. I could never make up my mind if I liked this Aina so much, because her fat cheeks and heavy lids.

P: The other Aina seemed more joyous.

S: And when she had her long braid she was more beautiful as well. But what was I thinking— oh, I was thinking we should analyze the absence of Laurie. The way he became this elegiac lost presence. His body lived on, like Miss Hickory*, in this creepy way, but with new heads. And his role was filled by Jesse. It wasn’t quite the same character. But it was the same role, the nice youthful boy, the boy who was not a man.