Did a doll ever get made of the African American Babysitter's Club member, Jessie, or Jesse? She had a little sister Rebecca, called Becca. One of my explorations into what it might have been like to be a Normal Junior High kid was to read those books. Fun, but like another planet.
Does anyone know how diverse the very Old "Happy to Be Me" doll series ever really got?
Below is some old writing I found, adapted a bit since Ann's death. You may not wish to read it if you are in a good or silly mood. Just consider it tomorrow's post. Iff I can't get rid of this Headache tonight, there won't Be a post tomorrow, anyway.
Dolls and Me
This is largely old writing about a blind person who has been called ugly all of her life wondering what she Really looks like. No mirror to check. My adult friends now don't think I am ugly and I have finally gotten to the place where I think I pass ok in the looks department, neither especially ugly nor especially beautiful. That's good for me.
I have left the old writing mostly unchanged, but have added more about Ann in the past tense, since her death.
This is also about trying to find out if I am worthy, worthwhile, as a human being. Dolls can't tell me that. But for a while I used to think that if I found a doll who looked like me I could decide who she Seemed, what kind of person she Seemed to be.
Ann knew so much about herself, places she had lived in past lives, who she had been, how she felt in each moment of her current life.
I buried it all and cannot find me now or ever. Why did I forget so deeply and permanently? I don't know what it means but still I go about, trying to find myself.
Foreign foods, I try them, hoping some will seem familiar, and a few have. I listen to music from around the world to see if Any of it Sounds familiar and some does. A Lakota lullaby, music from Eastern Europe, where East and West meet with a Turkish influence, music from North Africa where one can hear the Mediterranean influence, Pacific Island music from Hawaii and the aboriginal people of Taiwan, , and some from East Asia, seeming to stop at some place in Nepal or India.
Then there are dolls. But they don't make any who look like me. The closest Ever was a Totsy or Totsie Doll who was supposed to be Native American. She had a squared high forehead, dark large eyes, long brown/bladk hair, a long face, and elevated cheekbones which didn't make her eyes slant. She was skinny and reminded me of one of my grandmothers who worked like a horse, as they say here. That grandmother was Swiss, English, and as far as I know, entirely European. But her husband was Native, white, and possibly African American. He worked her Hard!
I named that doll Horse Woman because the Cherokee word for horse translates as something like "burden-bearer" So her name to me meant She Who Bears the Burdens. Is that me? I always thought that doll felt skinny and mistreated and like she had been raped, as a woman. My own abuse started as a child.
No doll ever made really looked like me, I'm lighter in color than Horse Woman, and have a British nose. Is it English or Scotish? My best friend and partner used to annoy me by saying I had a Barbie nose! If so, then it's the Only thing we have in common, a small turned up nose in this face. Ann was a visual artist whose work has sold at a gallery. Once when I wore a multi-colored shawl woven in Cambodia she said she could see something in me that wasn't Native or white. She thought it was African blood. This is possible, also.
Once Ann said my complexion was kind of like the comic book Electra, no, not Barbie's silver skinned, pink haired friend, although I like bright colors in hair.
She said a person's skin tone was usually at least three layers of color. She had to learn to paint all kinds of skin tones, so she should know. Both Electra and I have black basically straight hair. Ann said I have an ivory layer on top, a reddish layer under that, and a light brown layer under those two. (I guess that's the way it would be painted.) Electra must have had something similar. But I don't have long doll legs and cannot remember Electra's face just now, but I liked her long straight black hair and her Knives, one in each hand.
We must all really be wonderful combinations of tones and colors. Ann might describe one African American doll as having different shades of brown to her skin, neither warm nor cool. Another AA doll might have a reddish undertone beneath the first layer of brown, giving her a "warm undertone", while still another might have a grayish, purple, or yellow tone or tones. The mixing of these color tones would determine what colors of clothing a doll looked best wearing. I was fascinated by a discussion of color Tones, which lead to infinite variety. Ann Hated "That Same shiny Hershey brown Barbie gives to so many Kristy dolls." She thought it was both obnoxious and poorly done coloring, almost always. She helped me pick dolls with all kinds of tones and I always asked her to describe them.
So, a "Barbie nose, Horse Woman's face, except for the nose, Electra's skin tone and her or Horse Woman's hair. A mix for sure. Oh yah, I forgot the eyes. Guess since mine don't work I forgot about eyes. Mother had hazel, father's were brown, and mine are fake, so I chose a dark warm brown, somewhat like my father's, I would guess.
As to my figure, it is kind of straight up and down, like Rosie O'Donnell doll's, according to Ann. No Barboid here!
But physical characteristics can't sum up a person's inner traits, though. And what I search for in dolls can't be summed up either in labels like sighted, blind, tall, short, fat, thin, deaf, hearing, gay, or straight. None of those characteristics summed up who Ann was, not at all. If anything, she was Trapped in a body which didn't fit her spirit. Am I? Are we all?
What is it I need to know about myself, that I'm a good person, I guess. All my life I have tried hard to do those things I understood a good, kind, generous, caring person Should do, because I believed my Real self to be the Opposite of All of these qualities. I thought I was Evil, the only way to have any power at all, if the adults around you won't allow you to be anything good. What's true?
I was lost between 9 and 12, but the pain of my life began a few weeks after birth. Is that why I like dolls of differing sizes which could be ages 8 to 12? Obviously, but how do I get me back, find all of the scattered shattered pieces and weave them together into something recognizable, can this be done?
I crave the brilliant colors and strong spices of India, Vietnam, and Thailand, tamales and frijoles, tortillas and fish. Often I want to cover my head with shawls or heavy scarves, but not the front of my face. I know somehow that chadors were meant to be a modest form of self-expression and beauty, softer colors than saris in India, but lovely fabrics, thin and filmy, or heavier and embroidered, not the drab blue bourka or the black cloth shroud. Am I wrong? I should research this out of curiosity.
Some music gives me unpleasant feelings, Middle Eastern music, (though I tend to like music by middle Eastern people who have grown up in the West, it feels different,) I like the arhu from China but neither Kabuki nor Chinese Opera. Flutes I love, wherever they come from. I like Creole music and blues. South American music has lovely flutes, but some feels quite harsh while some feels more gentle.
There is more than One shape of face from Mexico or Any Latino country, more than One face of China, More than One face of anywhere, and when it comes to the U.S.? We Are a mestizo people!
I should have written earlier that I was taught re-incarnation as a kid. Cherokees who hold to traditional beliefs believe in it, so do Buddhists. But my parents were Edgar Casey followers, trying to explain why my father was dying of cancer in his thirties, when he had never smoked.
If all of the above means anything I must have lived a long time in many places. Many Crossroads kinds of places. I Hope I'm close to being Done with suffering! Like Tracy Chapman says in a song on her album "Let it Rain" "Let me be closer, Let me be".