Double Take

  • Double Take – M&J:  #178 (8 October 1994) – #187 (10 December 1994)
  • Artist: Juliana Buch

Plot

Toni Dayley’s family move to a bigger, newly built house, down the street from their old home.  Toni notices a new couple with a baby have moved into her old house. She soon becomes friends with the “Baileys” and offers to babysit the baby. Passing by one evening a small fire breaks out in the sitting room and Toni warns the Baileys. After all her help, they decide to name the baby after her. (They had previously been undecided between the names  Hannah and Natalie). Toni is thrilled about this, although she is reminded that her parents had said their was a fire in their house previously and it scorched the same wall.

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After this Toni,  notices similar things keep happening to baby Toni, that happened to her as a baby as well. Like baby Toni’s gran dies, her christening is cancelled when she gets German measles and she comes third in a beautiful baby competition. The one thing that convinces her that it just a bunch of coincidences is that their surnames are different. Then she hears a postman calling Mrs. Bailey; Mrs Dayley,  she realises that she had assumed the family were Baileys when she had answered the door to a delivery man on the first day and he had called them Baileys, mistakenly.

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She goes home and find old photos of her family and sees they are the same as the Baileys/Dayleys. She rushes over to tell them but a new family has moved into the house and the spell seems to have been broken. Toni is sad at first because she feels she has lost friends, but then realises that she still sees them every day as they are actually her  own parents and she is baby Toni!

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Thoughts

So this is a story that involves time travelling, but as the protagonist doesn’t know she’s travelling back in time, the character/story is more focused on the mystery of  the odd occurrences.  There are several hints that she is back in the past. For the most part she only meets the young family at their house, so she does not interact with the past much. Only once do they go to a fair, and Mrs Dayley says comments on the new music, which is old to Toni.  There is also a few incidents where, they comment that they can’t find Toni’s house and she’s like “its the new one” and they brush it off as just not being able to place it, oh well! She is also the only one to interact with the family,  although her present parents arrange to meet family on a few occasions,  something always comes up like the Christening being cancelled.

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While this story isn’t really grounded in reality, in order for the story premise to work, a major plot point is that is that Toni doesn’t see any physical resemblance between her parents and the “Baileys”. Yes they have got older, new haircuts and the such, but Toni doesn’t see any resemblance until she finds an old photo, that seems odd.  It’s only 14 years or so, it seems strange that that they would look so different, also a bit odd that she had never seen old photos of her family!

Another thing is, I wonder what the younger parents reaction to Toni disappearing was.  Considering they named their daughter after this girl and they were going to make her the Godmother, did they ever wonder where she went to? The mother comments on Toni having the same top as an old babysitter, but it doesn’t seem like it brought back terrible memories of a young girl vanishing. Maybe they rationalised it as she moved away quickly or something? But if she recognised the top that a babysitter wore years ago, wouldn’t that trigger memories like wait a minute she was called Toni as well and she looked a lot like you do now! Or maybe I shouldn’t over think this!

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Other than these issues with some plot points, the art is decent, the story is fun, and the characters are likeable. This was printed in the 90s, which was a time where a lot of stories involved romance (which I do like, some of the time too), so this made a nice change, a story with a focus on a mystery and mostly just a girl forming a good friendship with her parents as young adults. There are other stories where girls actually knowingly made friends with younger versions of relatives, but I think her not knowing is part of the charm (even if it does cause some story problems!).

5 thoughts on “Double Take

  1. Juliana Buch (which has also been spelled Busch, but Tammy spelled it as Buch) used to be a regular Tammy artist, from Jumble Sale Jilly (1972) to the unfinished Cora Can’t Lose (1984). Buch also drew for Princess (not Princess Tina), Blue Jeans and Dreamer. As far as I know, M&J was her only DC Thomson title.

    1. Never had any Tammys, but I recognise her work from other M&J stories like Stage School, I don’t think I’ve come across her any other titles either.

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