Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

We've established that most of us are Monkee fans! LOL Gee, it's nice to be in such good company. So, let's go back a little about Barbie?

You probably haven't missed the fact that Barbie is 50 this year. (I confess I made her a favorite on Twitter.) There's a lot of fun being poked. There's a image of her looking old--Photoshop magic--and there are the cougar Barbie cartoons. Those are obviously created by men or those few women who never loved her. I loved Barbie. I still love Barbie. I can turn around at this very moment and look at three shelves of various Barbies in my office curio. I'm convinced that playing Barbies shaped me into the writer I am today.

My cousins and I were the most creative, obsessive and inventive Barbie players of our day. Our Barbies had their individual wardrobes and furniture, and we role played for hours on end. Days. I'm sure our parents loved it, because we would disappear into the biggest room we could find and become lost in Barbie world, only being dragged out for meals.

We used the boxes they came in to make sofas and beds, and we improvised for the rest of their furniture. I had an armoire and a canopy bed, and as the years went on, we had a couple of cars. Cars weren't really important though, and could be dispensed with. It was all about the relationships and the drama. And what drama there was. You know, among us there weren't as many Kens as there were Barbies -- no wonder the poor fellas went prematurely bald (remember that felt hair?) ! All the female dolls had to share the couple of guys. And then Midge came along and the stakes got even higher. That hussy, Midge!

G.I. Joe just wasn't a good match. Oh, he bent in all the right places, but he had those weird flipper-like feet and a really mean face with a scar - and he just wasn't cool. And back then nobody wanted to date a guy who wore camouflage and plastic boots, you know?

Our Barbies even got PG. We made maternity tops out of their pajama tops or short dresses and padded their bellies with their little pillows. And we had a couple of little babies we got somewhere; mix and match dolls, because Mattel sure didn't make babies for Barbie back then.

I played Barbie clear up until I was twelve or thirteen and never tired of her. And then suddenly I was too old for dolls and packed them up and gave them away. To this day I regret that. I wish I still had my very own first Barbie, Ken and Midge, but because I'm me, I've collected replacements over the years. No surprise there, eh?

Some day I might even tell you how many Barbies I have. And not only Barbie, I have the Disney dolls, Hannah Montana and a few My Scenes. (Bratz are just hideous, don't get me started.)

Did you love Barbie as a girl? Do you still?

And admit it now: Do you own a Barbie?

Shall I take pictures of mine for you?


  1. My first Barbie was the blonde with a ponytail, but her swimsuit was red. So she wasn't the very first ever, but she was one of the first. I was quite young, but my wonderful aunt in California sent a real Barbie. I took great care of her for someone my age, and YES, I still have her, and Ken, and two Skippers--one blonde, one brunette. My Ken had plastic hair, so did not go bald--and he wore the striped beach shirt and red trunks like the one shown here. Never had a Midge, but I think my cousin had her. I had Casey, a slender blonde.

    My Barbies were well dressed--my aunt sent beautiful clothes at birthdays and Christmas, and my mother, an amazing seamstress, designed and created clothes. She even crocheted a coat for Barbie.

    There was never a real Barbie car, and my dolls lived in a small village made of cardboard boxes, but they seemed happy. They were always smiling. :)

  2. How wonderful thta you still have your Barbies! You had well-dressed Barbies! I used to spend my weekly allowance on Barbie clothes. You can't touch a Barbie outfit for less than $10 these days!

    Factoid; I used the term "playing Barbies" in a Silhouette and the editor insisted on changing it to "playing Barbie dolls" which of course is not the way any little girls talk about their Barbies. "Let's play Barbies" is the accepted verbage, hell-o?

  3. I never had a real Barbie, but did have one of the knock off fashion dolls. She had lots of homemade clothes--my mom loved dolls!

    I used tin foil to make my doll into an astronaut--although I'm a little embarrassed about where I put pins to hold the foil on :)

    I have one Barbie now, that my mom gave me. One of the nationality dolls--Celtic of course!

  4. I still have my Barbie's. I also played with them until I was around 13. We didn't have much money to buy all the fancy Barbie accessories, so my Dad made me a car out of a sewing machine drawer. He welded wheels on it and everything and then I put a box covered with velvet in it for a seat. I thought it was wonderful!

    My first Barbie has the reddish bouffant hair style. I also have Ken and a somewhat newer, (circa 1969-1970 blonde Barbie that bends). I love my stiff legged old Barbie the best.

    I have lots of handmade and hand knitted and crocheted clothes for my Barbie and the most beautful wedding gown made from satin and beads by a family friend.

    I wouldn't part with my Barbies and Ken for anything. Confession-I still get them out and change their clothes once in a while!

  5. I don't have my Barbies anymore. I wish I did, but somehow I managed to lose them in a move. Ah well. The memories are there.
    I used to spend hour after hour in Barbie-land, guiding my dolls from one drama to the next. There was love, hate, jealousy and glamour - all the ingredients for my very own soap opera. Not a particularly good one, but one I loved. :)

  6. Mom said Barbie was too expensive but one year, my sister and I found identical Skippers under the tree. I'd never seen anything like their bendable knees. I left my dolls behind when I moved out and have no idea where they are since my mom downsized.