My friends and I played Kelly dolls for years together. We could just sit there and play all day! Eventually, the friend I played the most with and I didn't even need to have the dolls with us to play; we knew all their names and personalities by heart and could “talk play.” We talk played when we were in the car on the way to the activities we were in, on the phone, and walking around outside. Our friendship was strong then because of our love for playing Kellys. We played with Barbies too, but mostly we pretended that the Barbies were the moms. I think we preferred Kellys over Barbies because they were the kids in the Barbie world, like us.
It’s been so long since I've really played pretend with someone; honestly, I think it’s sad that it isn’t really socially acceptable for adults to. I agree with Plato that “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” It’s such a creative and stimulating activity to do. It seems that adults lose some of their creativity when they grow up and stop playing. Playing with another person creates a strong friendship and I think it even makes the play more creative since it requires sharing your ideas and putting them together.
When we grow up to be teenagers and young adults, role playing games and video games can be a replacement for playing pretend, although it seems that in a specific role playing game, there are still rules and constraints that you follow. Playing pretend has limitless possibilities. I feel like the things I do with my friends now are what I thought was so boring as a kid: sitting around eating, talking, or watching something. I do enjoy doing those things now, and those activities aren’t the ONLY things I do with my friends, but I am nostalgic for the hours of playing pretend that we used to engage in.
In an attempt to keep that imaginative play as I grew up, I started writing stories. I wrote notes on how I played Kellys with my best friend as well. Our ideas for play were inspired by TV shows and books that we read, including Rugrats, the movie Baby Geniuses, and Harry Potter. We played that our Kellys were babies, from new borns to three year olds. They spoke baby talk to each other and were unable to speak to grown ups, like in Rugrats. They had magic powers; each Kelly had a different one, but when they turned three years old, they would “cross over.” During the cross over ceremony, the Kellys passed on their power to a younger Kelly, and then they would forget baby talk and that they ever had powers. There was a select group of Kellys that would remember their time as babies and those Kellys were wizards, fairies, and elves who had their powers for life.
I have been taking these stories and play ideas from when I was younger and modifying them to turn into a book or a manga eventually. I want to have scene pictures to go with the stories as well, but that will also take time to make the settings. I don’t have a doll house anymore so I have to make the backgrounds. One of the things I decided to change in the stories was that rather than having them be zero to three years old, the Kelly characters will be high schoolers. Even though we played that they were babies, we played that they had boyfriends, girlfriends, crushes, and faced challenges that teenagers tend to face. The characters with specific powers will have their powers for the duration of high school (rather than having them from zero years old to three years old), while the wizards, elves, and fairy characters will keep their powers like we played. All the characters will remember the time they had their powers, whether they keep them or not. For now, I’m keeping the Kelly names like “Pilot Tommy” and “Skater Kelly,” but I might change them into regular names in the future.
The rest will be explained in the stories themselves, so you will have to read it and see :). I am still working on them so I’m not sure when I will post the first chapter, but hopefully soon!