Packing to travel

I was getting ready to return to South Africa and had my wheelie bag on the floor while I tried to find my illusive inflatable pillow. 

“Why are you packing?” Miss Emily asked.

“I am going on a short trip so need to get my stuff in order.”

Samantha sat down inside the bag. “May I come too?”

“I am sorry Sam, there is no space in my luggage. You know how the airlines weigh everything and get icky if there is something in it that they don’t like.”

“Aaah pooh. And here I was all ready to travel in style.”

“A wheelie bag is style?”

“It’s better than a box, although Miss Emily has a really cool box, much better than mine. Hers has a milkshake dispenser an’ a music player an’ a teevee too!”

“Well now I know why it weighs so much. Why didn’t you tell me all of this Miss Emily? and why do I always battle to get you into that box? You use every trick in the book to not get into it. You are busted for operating a box without a license.”

“I beg your pudding,” Miss Emily pouted. “I don’t try every trick, I keep some up my sleeve for special occasions and I do have a license I think.. somewhere.. er.. nice weather isn’t it?  I hope Caitlyn still has that memory erasing machine and will let me use it for awhile.”

“A memory erasing machine? I don’t recall her having one of those!”

“See, it works well too.”

“I better inspect that box of yours young lady!”

“But why would anybody want to inspect the box of a poor helpless dolly like myself?

“Helpless? Miss Emily in spite of your pouty face and seemingly innocent look I just know there is a whole wodge of mischief just waiting to happen. And it better not happen while I am away either. The pair of you will have to stay here with the Twinns and hold the fort.”

“Oh, talk about that, I have some stuff for you to take with.” Miss Emily said excitedly while changing the subject yet again. “I will be right back, don’t leave without them.”

Miss Emily disappeared into the kitchen and emerged a few minutes later with boxes of ice cream which she put inside my wheelie bag. “Here we are, you can take these with in case you get hungry. It’s my personal emergency stash.”

“Miss Emily, I am afraid they will all melt by the time I get to the station, never mind the airport. But, thank you for being such a good girl and thinking of me.”

“It’s no problem, I have lots more.”

“And I bet some end up going to school with you too.”

“Um, luverly weather, get yer ice cream here!” she said, changing the subject again.

“Miss Emily, take your sister and go scoff ice cream at the table, I need to get this packed or I will never get it done in time.”

And then there was peace once more, punctuated by “Hmmmmm” and “Slurp” noises in the kitchen. 

Caitlyn popped in too and asked me to do something.. but I forget what it was.

DRW © 2019 – 2020. Created 04/10/2019

Emily Meets Caitlyn

The day was overcast and Miss Emily gathered her goodies and went to sit outside and enjoy the falling leaves, fall over a few times and generally get attacked by various winged insects intent on trying to push her over.

“It is not easy having strange knees” she thought to herself as she sat down to watch somebody throwing a ball for their dog. “I wonder whether Courage will chase a ball if I threw it for him?” Courage the Cowardly Dog was away this morning chasing the mysterious Chicken from Outer Space, so Emily was all alone. She sat down on her piece of hessian and enjoyed the breeze. Suddenly a 23 inch Twinn popped out from under a tree.

“Good morning very tall pretty doll,” the Twinn said cheerfully. “My name is Caitlyn. What’s yours?”

“Good morning Caitlyn, my name is Emily, I am pleased to meet you. Do you live close by?”

“Yes, I live in the same flat, but I am stuck on a shelf and almost covered in dolls and toys and assorted strange figurines that populate our crowded space.”

“Oh yes, I am sorry, I never recognised you,  I do apologise. I am not always aware of what goes on around me.”

“Oh yes, that happens often, especially when you take a dive to the ground.”

“I did that just now, it was not  fun.”

“Well at least the landing was graceful,” Caitlyn chuckled. “I do a very fine dive to the ground too when the need takes me.”

“I didn’t do it deliberately. it was one of those spontaneous dolly moments.”

“Blame it on the wind I always say”.

“I never thought of that. It is kind of windy out here. I don’t even know why I came out today anyway.”

“Some days you just need to get out there and explore. The Twinns and I used to do a lot of that, but we are now officially on pension so getting out and about is a rare occasion.”

“Will you tell me about the Twinns and all their adventures when you have some time?”

“Sure, although it is easier to just head online and read about them for yourself. Next time the Bossman is at work we will climb onto the computer and I will show you the url.”

“Thank you, I do look forward to it. It does get lonely during the day, but now that we have met I am sure we will have lots to talk about.”

“You will be able to talk to Princess Skye and Dawn and Nicole too, and there is that strange Spanish girl who says nothing except “que?“. I think she may have landed on her head when she travelled. She is not very talkative and we did try teaching her English but it came out strange. Skye is trying very hard and the best she has managed so far is “Does these train flies to the airport station sideways?”

Emily laughed, it was good to have some new friends to talk to. “I do not know any Spanish I am afraid, but can always try my hand at German with a thick accent” 

“German with a thick accent?” Caitlyn asked.

“Yes, it is quite impressive. Let me see if I can remember how to do it…” Emily cleared her throat. “Bitte nicht mit dem Finger auf mich stoßen

“That is so cool! but what does it mean?”

“”Please don’t poke me with your finger” I think.”

“How do you know that stuff? who taught you German?”

“Google translate is my friend.” Emily laughed.

“Aaah you are pulling my leg and poking me with your finger.”

“No, I am hugging you and stopping you from blowing away. I am getting chilly, let us go inside and you can introduce me to the other girls.”

“Great idea, and I think there may be some raspberry colddrink in the fridge?”

“Raspberry colddrink?”

“Oh it is nasty stuff, when Twinns drink too much of it we loose all of our inhibitions and wear our knickers on our heads. Then we sing rowdy dolly songs till way past bedtime and pass out on the floor. It is very embarrassing.”

“Rowdy dolly songs? I don’t know any of those. I have a pouty face so I try to maintain some sort of decorum.”

“Oh yes, Sarah Willow was like that, but she was the biggest trickster around. She was the only Twinn that could chugalug 2 litres of Raspberry colddrink and stay on her feet. Then when we had all passed out she would go around tieing our shoelaces together.  It made for a lot of surprising morning gymnastics. “

Emily clapped her hands, “That sounds like fun. I am so glad that I met you Caitlyn, let’s grab my gear and go inside, I am not sure about raspberry colddrink, but I think there is some cider in the fridge: “Old smelly socks” or something like that”. 

“Old smelly socks? wow, can’t wait to try it. Let’s go!”

And so Emily and Caitlyn went inside where it was not as windy.

The big question I have is: “who drank all of my cider? and why is Caitlyn wearing her knickers on her head? So many questions…” 

DRW © 2016-2019. Created 20/10/2016. Moved to musings 24/08/2018

The end of My Twinn

Yesterday, while doing my weekend reading, I discovered that “My Twinn” had closed it’s doors in January 2016. It was a shock to say the least, but given the circumstances it was to be expected.

So what the heck is/was “My Twinn”? 

The premise behind My Twinn dolls was that you could order a doll that looked like your child. There were basic face molds, hair and eye colours and styles, and up to 5 skin tones. They could also be individually customised by artists employed by the company and sales took off like a rocket. However, not all was good in My Twinn Land…. 

My own association with the company and it’s products started in 2003 when I had the urge to continue with a project that I had originally started in 2001: Adventures of a Hollow Headed Girl. Back then digital photography in South Africa was in it’s overpriced infancy, and I used an extremely basic camera and small porcelain doll to create the stories that I wrote. It was more of an attempt at recreating the old “Photo Picture Library” genre than anything else, with a possibility of seeing whether a kiddies book was feasible. Unfortunately stories dried up and my own circumstances forced me to close down the project, until 2003.

By then I had a whole wodge of new ideas and wanted to restart the project, I had a better camera (which turned out to be a lousy camera) but really needed a more adaptable main character. The original porcelain doll had a wire framed cloth body and was rigid so posing was impossible. However the internet provided me with two possible replacements, The first being an “American Girl” doll and the second a “My Twinn”. The Twinns really won hands down, they were a bit more pricey, more agile, larger and did not have teeth! (One of mine acquired a chainsaw, but that’s another story).

I ordered my original custom doll in 2003, and tentatively named her Caitlyn. But, things were already wobbly at My Twinn as it shut up shop shortly after I ordered her. I was fortunate enough though that she was completed and I collected her while on holiday in the USA in 2004.

The rest is history as my collection grew so did their associated luggage, props and pets (and that chainsaw I was telling you about). I was also fortunate enough to find a like minded friend in the USA who really fed my collection and we collaborated in most of the stories that still exist on my website

I eventually dropped out of the story business as my own ideas dried up once again, and my interest waned. By then I had over 25 dolls but they were not as much fun as when I had 4. The My Twinn company however was also battling with its own problems, quality was always an issue, and complaints were rife. The prices of dolls had been high on the auction sites when the company was closed, and now the prices plummeted, although the prices for some of the rare face molds was hard to believe. I cannot really tell all the history of the company, but there is a website that can.  The one part that always disturbed me was that the company rarely seemed to listen to the community and its customers, and even though I was no longer getting dolls from them I had plenty of friends that were. 

I was however not watching what was going on any more, I had enough problems as it was with retrenchments in 2007 and 2011, and I ended up jobless once again. Sadly my collection of girls ended up having to be sold but fortunately most ended up with the same collector and they really were the biggest collection of Twinns in Africa. 

At some point production of the 23″ dolls ceased and the company reverted to a smaller 18″ version which really fell in with what American Girl, Kidz ‘n’ Cats, Gotz and other company were offering. The 23″ dolls were really unique though, they were probably amongst the largest playdolls available at the time and their individuality made them even more special, often created to resemble their owners. Caitlyn was not based on anybody, but more on a look that appeals to me. 

4 Of my girls are with me in the UK and I have another one back in South Africa and 2 of my former dolls now belong to a friend. They were unique and I had a lot of fun playing with them all. Each had their own personality, and each time I opened a new box I was in awe of them. They were beautiful and individuals, and so much nicer than the horrors that are called “fashion dolls”. Do girls like dolls anymore? I do not think that they are as popular as when I was young, but I occasionally see a well loved doll or bear clutched to their owner, and I think that just maybe dolls will make a comeback one day.

The loss of My Twinn will have sent ripples around the doll community, after all there are only so many Twinns in the world, and consequently as those little girls grow up their dolls will hopefully end up with collectors, and prices will rise once again. However, no more Twinns will be built and frankly that is a shame.

and the chainsaw?

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 16/08/2016. American Girl, Kidz ‘n’ Cats, Gotz and My Twinn are copyright to their respective copyright holders.