the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson




S: [laughs, holds up Ted.] I have to take a picture of this.

P: Has he had that slipper on ever since the last doll games?

S: I think so. They’re wearing whatever they were wearing last time we played with them. Like Melanie has been wearing this unfortunate costume.

P: You dressed her like that.

S: No I didn’t. Look how stupid she looks.

P: I think you did! I remember, when you were playing your private doll games, seeing the dolls by your bed in different clothes.

S: But I didn’t really play with Melanie. I didn’t like her as much as my doll. I thought my doll was so glamorous, Mara.

P: I think you did it.

S: No, I didn’t. No, you’re wrong*. But that’s another interesting thing. The first dolls we had, the parents gave us. Or we found them. We didn’t choose them, we just had them, and they evolved into certain roles. Mara and Melanie were the first dolls where we said to ourselves: we want some really great dolls. We’re going to go out and get the best dolls. And we went and got matching Malibu Skippers. And in a way — look how scratched her pubis is, because we couldn’t make the pencil on pubic hair stay on so we tried scratching hers so it would have something to cling to!

P: Yeah, I see some on Melanie too.

S: — And we thought they were so perfect and beautiful that it actually became a handicap in the game. They were always more their original doll selves, their shelf self, then any of the other dolls were. Because we bought them as what they were, sort of. I mean, we didn’t want them to be Malibu Skippers, but we did want them to be tanned and beautiful.

P: Well—was Laurie ever a girl?

S: No. Well, originally* he was. He started as a girl, he was a Skipper.

P: But was he a girl in our games?

S: Maybe early on.

P: Because I identified most with Laurie, he was my doll.

S: And I identified with her, I think, whose name I can’t even remember.

P: Where’s her original head?

S: That is her original head. Because this is not a Skipper, this is Skipper’s friend, who they stopped making or something.

P: 0h, but she did have the same body. So we had her and Laurie originally, as the original pair?

S: I think so. I think these were the original pair, and we got them the same year. And that was the year where we stopped playing so much with Kiddles because we loved our Skipper dolls so much. And then, chronologically, the others assembled around them slowly, like big Josh, who was Anthony’s doll which we took over—he was early, he might have already existed at the Skipper time. The Flatsies might have been next, Dawn was early, and we must have had Harvey and Willy from when we were little.

P: How did we acquire Dawn? Or the other one, the red haired one?

S: That’s a good question, because we wouldn’t have bought her, I don’t think.

P: I think maybe we found one, and stole one from a friend of ours or something.

S: Shh. I never stole!

P: I think you stole the more glamorous red-haired one.

S: I thought I found her. You’re probably right, I probably stole her from those creepy hippie kids who had the little stuffed horse covered with shit in their house; do you remember?

P: No! Did I ever see that?

S: I don’t know, I just remember loitering around their house trying to find things I wanted to steal because they were so boring and weird, and I found this little stuffed horse decorated with rick-rack like a Christmas ornament horse only it smelled of shit; it had stuff on it like someone had wiped their butt with the horse.

P: Yuck!

S: That was a weird house, it was a house where I believed there might be kids sitting in upstairs rooms shitting and wiping themselves with stuffed animals.