Happy birthday, Barbie

9 Mar

One of the best presents I ever got was a shoebox full of handmade Barbie clothes. My sister got one too, and though the clothes in each box were similar, no two pieces were exactly the same. We both got a wedding dress, but they were in different styles.

I could always differentiate my Barbie from my sister’s. Mine was a brunette like me; hers a blonde like her. Mine was also unable to wear any form of Barbie shoe because I chewed her feet off. My sister was not as orally fixated as I, and her Barbie always had intact feet.

We spent many hours playing Barbie – well into grade eight. I look at the 8th graders at my school and I can’t imagine any of them playing with dolls. I wish they were still so innocent and naive that they would.

Barbie paraphernalia appeared at birthdays and Christmas. In the early 70’s,  Barbie’s bright orange camper arrived. An airplane arrived a few years later. Even now, writing about them decades later, I still remember the scent of that vinyl.

 

At some point in high school, my mother gave my Barbie “stuff” to my nieces, without asking first. I recall being very upset, and my mother not understanding why. She just assumed we were too old.

Even now, when I cringe at the thought of Barbie and her misshapen, biologically impossible body. A Huffington Post article stated that, if she’d been real, the doll I played with would be “about six feet tall with a 39” bust, 18” waist, and 33” hips.” Despite this horrific portrayal of women, I still can’t help thinking back to the many hours my sister, our friends and I spent, happily playing with Barbies.

9 Responses to “Happy birthday, Barbie”

  1. glenda funk March 9, 2018 at 5:55 am #

    I totally understand why you were upset w/ your mom giving Barbie away. I too wish kids were innocent. Thanks for this memory and your insight into our times compared to past ones. I’m thinking about my own Barbie days.

  2. arjeha March 9, 2018 at 7:46 am #

    My sister had a collection of Barbie’s as a child. She also had many others. I remember one she had, I don’t recall the name, but if I remember correctly you could push a button in her belly and pull her hair to make it grow. My sister and her friends enjoyed many hours playing with their dolls.

    • Adrienne March 9, 2018 at 8:29 am #

      A friend had that doll – I think she (the doll) was called Chrissy.

    • elsie March 9, 2018 at 11:59 am #

      Her name was Tressy, and I had one of those. 🙂

  3. Diane Anderson (newtreemom) March 9, 2018 at 10:34 am #

    I have Barbie memories, too. Packing them up to go visit a friend…my best friend’s birthday where we all brought our Barbies and each of us got a new hand-sewn dress for Barbie…all those clothes my mom made for Barbie with painstaking small details. Then there are the memories of my girls and their Barbies… I know she has those impossible proportions, but she still provided lots of hours of fun.

  4. elsie March 9, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    No Barbies for me 😦 . My mother didn’t think she was appropriate for me. How I wanted a Barbie!

  5. terierrol March 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm #

    Yes, my cousin and I played with our Barbies until seventh grade. My Mom would knit us sweaters and blankets. Shoe boxes made great bedrooms for the dolls. We never tired of her and our imaginations.

  6. JudyK March 9, 2018 at 7:09 pm #

    My sister and I loved to play with our Barbies! I still have a bunch of Barbies and their clothes packed away in my closet. I saved them to give to my someday daughter, but then I had sons. So I saved them for my someday granddaughter. I now have five granddaughters, but I haven’t given my Barbies to them, because I know that their brothers would destroy them. Maybe someday…. 🙂 ~JudyK

  7. Brian Rozinsky March 9, 2018 at 8:34 pm #

    This slice embodies mixed feelings, how what make us happy at one time can give us unsettling pause at another.

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