A doll named Deidre tells
her story


By Mo Conlan

This doll's dress is made from an old linen that might once have been a wrapper to keep dinner rolls warm.

I rescued it from the bottom of a drawer full of other linens that languish unused. They require ironing.

Her body is a green wine bottle.

I named her Deidre and gave her a story that involves the sea, and so she has shells on her costume and carries a bag of small shells.

Here is Deidre's story.

Deidre Darling's search

Deidre Darling lived with her family by the sea. They were the best fishermen in town, and they had the most twins. There were Daniel and Dylan, then, Helen and Melanie, whom they teased calling them Helenie and Melon.

When it came time for the final set of twins, Deidre and Joy, to arrive, Deidre was born solo.

When Deidre was 5-years-old, she quizzed her mother about where her twin was. Her mother, busy and distracted with her five Darlings, said, “I don’t know, dear, perhaps she swam back.”

Deidre’s family called her “our sea otter.” She could hold her breath so long under water that sometimes she’d get “rescued” -- which annoyed her because then she lost count.

When she swam, often she would call out for her twin -- “Swim this way, Joy. Swim to me.”

Deidre’s freedom to swim and roam ended when she began school. Still, she spent weekends at the beach – schoolbook tucked into the big black plastic purse that had been her grandmother’s and which Deidre used as a beach bag.

One afternoon, emerging from a swim, she found a girl sitting on a towel near hers.

“You live here?” Deidre asked.

The girl shook her head. “On vacation. But not too far away.”

“My name’s Deidre.”

“Mine’s Josie. Actually Josephine Joy Marie Ann.”

“I had a sister named Joy once, but she swam back,” Deidre said.

“Wish I had a sister,” Josie said. “It’s just me and my parents. That’s why they piled the names on me.”

“Anybody call you Joy?” Deidre asked.

“My grandma used to call me her “little Joy.”

“Mind if I call you Joy?”

Josie shrugged OK. Deidre smiled. Josie smiled back. They sat there grinning.

“When we become friends, we could visit each other,” Deidre said.

“When we become best friends it will be almost like having a sister,” Josie said.

Deidre nodded. “Last one in’s a rotten egg… Joy!”

The girls ran on long, skinny legs into the water. They are friends to this very day.

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