THE KOOKIE DOLL
The idea for the life-sized doll came from the TV in the caravan, not Blue Peter, Magpie I guess. She used Mum’s tights, stuffing them with scrunched up newspaper that laddered the tights making varicosed limbs, the type visible through 20 denier.
My kind-hearted little sister anticipated the gratitude of the farmer’s granddaughter. Although it was an August day, the farmer’s family remained inside. We weren’t supposed to bother them by knocking on their door, but by mid-afternoon, she’d gained courage. I held back, embarrassed by the doll.
Taller than my sister, its feet dragged on the withered grass. I could see her falter on the doorstep. She knocked. I held my breath as she peered through the bottle glass panels.
The door remained closed.
Her shoulders slumped, the doll slipped to the ground. Tears in her eyes.
‘Did you hear something?’
‘ ‘It’s that bloody girl with the shitty doll’ ’.
Every other Summer weekend, from the age of six to sixteen, my family took the car ferry across the river Tamar to our caravan at Wiggle Old Farmhouse. I mapped the farm in my head with my first taste of independence. My memories are all blissfully happy (which do not make engaging stories).
I had an older sibling, protective, irritable, love for my sister. I was about seven when this took place and the shock and anger of an adult’s insensitive ability to distress a child stayed with me. It was the first time she ever said a swear word.