Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The story behind a story

  I have always loved miniature versions of real things.I can remember begging my mom for one of her metal bobbins (They were all metal in those days.) because it looked like a miniature film reel. I don't know what I would have done with it. (She would never give me one.) I might have just kept it because it was a cool miniature, or I might have come up with some movie scenario to play just to use it. To this day when I look at a bobbin I see a film reel. That has come in handy when dealing with dolls and miniature scenes and things. I look at something and see something else in it, something else I can use it for. It's the miniaturists equivalent of seeing things in cloud shapes. (I do that too.)
  So, my favourite parts of the old Barbie Bazarr magazine were the 1/6 scale dioramas they included, usually at Christmas time, and the column "Small Talk", which was all about finding things originally meant for something else that you could use in miniature settings. My kids talked me into having my own Barbie scale dollhouse when they were little because I loved to find things for their doll houses---and then annoyed them by rearranging their doll houses the way I thought they should be. I loved playing with the miniatures!
  That brings me to the reason for this post. Since I love doing the miniature scenes and things so much I thought I might do some photo stories. I have had this thought for a while, but I keep putting it off. I keep saying I don't have time, or I can't decide on a cast, or I'm not sure my sense of humour is going to suit my "audience". Ken keeps pushing me to do them, assuring me that I'll do fine.It would be a nice outlet for various things.I've always written stories. When I was too young to read or write I did picture stories. I sat down every morning and did a new story in a continuing line of stories about some characters I made up. I wrote stories all through school. I thought of becoming a screen writer because I always saw the stories like movies in my head. When the kids were little I wrote stories for them. (I even made them a movie once, using their favourite dolls as characters.They loved it.After Fuzzy the Doll packed the car {with: a fireplace (in case it got cold), a mailbox (in case he got some mail while he was gone),a snowman (for no apparent reason), and another car (just in case)}, and his suitcase {with his best friend.},Emma and Fuzzy the Dolls went camping,were chased by dinosaurs, abducted by aliens, questioned by Mulder and Scully from X-Files,and hunted by apes on horseback.You know I had to fit that in there somewhere.) Our playing allowed me to make up stories and dialogue.I still write a story now and then. But now that the kids are older I have less and less outlet for my imagination.It has to go somewhere! So I suppose I will do some photo stories. What's the worst that could happen?
  That brings me to the characters. Originally I just thought of one story. I was going to use my vintage Barbie and family dolls. Then I couldn't decide if I should use them or the dolls the kids and I had played with when they were little. The play dolls already had personalities. Story ideas came out based on their personalities, making them easier to come up with. But would anybody be interested? At least with the vintage dolls there was something interesting to look at if you didn't like the stories. But would anybody want to look at a bunch of fairly recent dolls doing stuff? Well, people do. I do. Ok. The play dolls it is.
  But then that takes some introduction, or at least explanation. Where did these 'people' come from? First of all,the name of the characters.They ended up with the last name 'World' because of this doll.

She started life as a Kaybee Toys exclusive.

I can only describe that dress as Asian Old West Dance Hall Girl.  
   Anyway, I debated opening her. After all, I'm a grown up. But of course I couldn't resist. As I didn't have many current Barbie type dolls at the time, she was recruited to be the model when Emma and I were making doll clothes. She looked great in everything we put on her. Eventually we started referring to her as "The Most Beautiful Doll in the World".
  The next thing was my love for the When I Read I Dream dolls. There were four,each based on a book character: Heidi,Jo from Little Women,Anne of Green Gables, and Fern from Charlotte's Web. Eventually I had them all. For a long time they just stood on a table in the living room.

  I had made the kids dolls of themselves when they were very small. Emma was 6 and Fuzzy was 2.These became their favourite playthings.They went everywhere and did everything with us. I happened to say that if someone made a doll of me when I was little they would probably want to use Fern, because she has red hair in a ponytail  and bangs,like I used to wear when I was a kid.

  After that they started referring to Fern as Tammy the Doll. (Like Emma the Doll and Fuzzy the Doll, that I had made for them.) Then Emma started insisting that I had to bring dolls to play too. I had to bring my dolls, and not just play with hers. It wasn't a selfish thing. She just though I should play with my dolls. So I started bringing 'Tammy' to play. Eventually Tammy needed a Mom. We automatically thought of The Most Beautiful Doll in the World. She had to have a name though. We couldn't keep calling her that. For one thing it's too long. But from that came her name: Dolly World. I thought it was funny. (See what I mean about that sense of humour not appealing to everyone...) When Tammy needed a Dad I dug out a Cinderella Prince Charming that I had bought for myself when Emma was tiny. I just liked him. Since his last name had to be World, what else could his first name be but...Wally.
  After that, every time I got a doll, it just seemed like they should be related to the Worlds. Well, until my kids said,"That's enough! Not every kid can belong to the Worlds! They have too many kids!" So the World family ended up being a bit large.They're like the Doll Duggers!

  I may have to have some of the kids not appear in the stories, like on old situation comedies when characters would suddenly disappear after a season or two and just never be mentioned again. Like Richie Cunningham's older brother on Happy Days and the oldest son on My Three Sons. Both went off to college and were never mentioned again. Or the little sister on Family Matters. Only the World kids will still be members of the family. (Can't tamper with my kids' childhoods!) We just won't see them...or talk about them.
  Members I know I will use are Tammy's identical twin brothers Todd (Identified by his hat.), and Simon.

  Todd's a bit of a trouble maker. Simon is a smart, well behaved kid. I'll also use Tammy's girly girl sister Jo, and her rambunctious little brother Gareth.

    Tammy is sort of based on me as a kid,but I would never have said some of the smart remarks Tammy said to the teacher of Doll School when the kids and I were playing! Like me when I was a kid, she's a bit of a tomboy but still  likes pretty old fashioned things, has a big mouth, and loves The Beatles and Planet of the Apes. (I need to redo their whole house, but Tammy does have a Beatles poster and a Law Giver statue in her room.) Dolly has some of my mom and some of me,and some of what I guess I would like to have been like. Since I have always been a frustrated writer I made Dolly a successful writer of children's books. Gareth is based on sort of a combination of me and my son, whose real name is Gareth. He likes to draw and paint, so he has a child's easel in his room, and a desk. He's a bit short for the age I wanted him to be, but he matched Fuzzy the Doll, who is a Tommy. (I originally wanted to make Fuzzy's doll from a vintage Todd, but they were too expensive. It ended up being a good thing though, because there's no way a bendy rubber Todd would have survived all the stuff Fuzzy put him through. He may have been a doll, but he played like an action figure!) Gareth originally had a regular Tommy/Kelly body and Bunsen Burnie Kiddle's head. Later I changed him to a bendy knee Kelly body.He's wearing my favourite outfit for him, which I stole from Gap Kelly.I had been wanting that outfit for ages, (I used to dress real Fuzzy like that when he was little!His 'hook up pants', as he called them,were his favourite clothes.) but didn't want to pay Ebay prices for it. Then I found Gap Kelly at a garage sale for 10 cents!
  I debated on using Jo's fraternal twin Anne...

...and the youngest World's, Betsy,(the brunette) and Rosie, who are also fraternal twins.

   I know a tendency toward having twins is passed down from mothers who have a genetically linked tendency to 'hyperovulating', or releasing more than one egg at a time, but this is doll world and this family  gets it from the dad. Mr World has a twin brother.Also, the tendency for identical twins,(who look alike and are always the same sex), called Monozygotic, which is one egg dividing and forming two embryos, is unrelated to the tendency toward fraternal twins, (who look no more alike than regular siblings and may be two different sexes) or Disygotic,which is two eggs being released at the same time.Disygotic twins also have no known genetic link, so just because someone has identical twins doesn't mean they would be more likely to produce fraternal twins.There. At least this has been educational. There's a connection to my husband Ken with the twins, because he was a twin himself.
  See what I mean?! Too many kids! But it gave me the opportunity to use more of my miniatures to decorate all those bedrooms!
   There are also two older daughters.Kenzie is a college student with a boyfriend named Milo.

  The other daughter, Tina is married to Roger,the local mail man and has two kids.

   Roger 'delivered' the doll Christmas, Easter, and Valentine cards when my kids were younger.
   Then there is Dolly's mom.

   I have always meant to finish a sculpt I did ages ago that the kids always said looks like my dad, to be Dolly's dad.
    I noticed at one point that one of the miniature skateboards in Todd and Simon's room was made by 'World Industries', so it was decided right then that Wally runs a toy company called World Industries. 
  Other families eventually developed. I found a cool 40th Anniversary Ken doll at Salvation Army one day.  Later he got a wife,a son,Harry, and three daughters: Vanessa,Heidi,...and the other kid. They even have a dog named Sherlock.

    I don't think he and his wife have ever had first names! I suppose if they're going to be in stories they'll have to have some.Their last name came about because the son was a Harry Potter doll, but I couldn't call him that because Emma already had one! Deja vu! That's what my sister used to do to me! So his name is Harry...Rettop. It's Potter backwards, alright?! You can pronounce it 'Rett-up' if you want to make it sound like a real name, but around here we call them the 'Re-tops'.Mr. Rettop designs toys at World Industries and is Wally's best friend.His wife is a former model and a bit full of herself.
  By the way, the 'photography studio' love seat in the pictures is one I made. It will be going on Ebay next week. It's more of a hot pink or fuchsia velvet than it looks in the pictures. It has a button back detailing and a soft, squashy seat so that it looks natural when a doll sits on it.(One of my pet peeves is doll furniture that is so hard the dolls don't even make a smoosh in it when they sit down.) I'll mention it again when it goes on.
  So there you go. You'll be seeing the story in the next couple of days.You have been warned!


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