Just a Doll

My mom came back today after being at her house for a week. She brought with her a doll that my sister Kristi had found, and wanted me to have. With it came a flood of memories, and genuine surprise as I realized the implications of this amazing gift. It is a doll my grandmother made for me when I was very young. It is a unique design in that it is two dolls in one. It is two heads and torso’s with a two-sided large skirt on the dress that covers whatever head you do not want to see.

There are probably tons of kids who were given similar dolls during this time, but the crazy part was, one side was a black girl, and one a white girl. This was not a common pairing, even in the early seventies. I remember getting the doll and loving, absolutely loving, the black doll. The other side actually looked like me, blonde hair, blue-eyed but it was the black doll I loved.

Now I am not a psychologist, and I do not know how much of an imprint was placed in my mind by this doll. I do know, I was the only kid around with a black doll, and I was so proud to have her. She was exotic, beautiful, and different from any other doll I had.

Forty years later I am given back a piece of my childhood. I am now the mother of four, two of whom happen to be black. Black like my doll, deep ebony, dark as the night sky with no moon. It is probably just coincidence, and I am trying to read too much into it. I am giving meaning to a toy that never meant to have such ambitions. I however, like to think, my grandma knew even then, that just like these dolls melded into one, but with two separate identities, my family would one day be a similar combination. I like to think she is looking down from heaven winking at me and saying “You thought it was just a doll, God and I knew better.”


2 Comments so far
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Love this, Kari. How fitting that you would have such a doll. I, too, had a “double doll” given by my grandmother, with one side white with blonde hair, and the other side black. LOVED that doll that came out of the Pennsylvania Dutch country where my mother was from. Don’t know whatever happened to it …

Comment by Barb Stoefen

Barb, this is really amazing and so fun that you would have a doll like this. It must have been a popular pattern of the time! Forward thinking women who wanted to express their voice without being political, I love it!

Comment by Kari

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