Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Living in a Barbie World

I wanted a Barbie Dream house when I was little. I was about 9 years old, maybe? I was totally into Barbie dolls. I LOVED Barbie. I had clothes and a horse for my Barbie. I had Barbie's dog. I had a Barbie camper. I had inflatable Barbie furniture that was in the ever so stylish shades of green, gold and orange. I had a car for my Barbie.

When it came to Barbie clothes, I was the queen. We had a super babysitter, a little old lady who sewed Barbie clothes and made peanut butter candy. She was so sweet. So I had the best Barbie clothes- homemade ones! And this wasn't stuff out of the rag bag- no sirree. My homemade Barbie clothes still were glittery satin gowns, a green velvet coat with a fur collar, and all sorts of dresses, gaucho pants (when they were obviously in style the first time around) and just every day wear. The benefit of homemade Barbie clothes was that Barbie could have matching purses and hair bands. She could have several outfits in the same material and she could have clothes for her little sister and her dog that also matched.

I also had an array of Barbies. I got one with bent arms when she first came out- ready to shake hands. I had one that I could really put earrings in her ears- but if she didn't have the earrings in, she had huge gaping holes. Hmm, guess now she would be in style and be without her "spacers", eh? I had an African American Barbie, Barbie's little sister Skipper and a Barbie baby. I had a Charlie's Angels Barbie doll- it was Chris since she was my favorite angel. I had a Fonzie Barbie too. It was Fonzie and he was so hot. But he was short so he could never date Barbie; he always dated Chris the Angel since she was short, too. I also had a Ken doll- two of them- one with brown hair and the traditional blond.

Back in the day Barbies weren't super expensive. I got some from my parents, at kids birthday parties, grandparents...I managed a good haul on the Barbies come birthday and Christmas. And if that's all you want and refuse to put anything else on your Christmas shopping list...Well, Santa did me pretty well.

But one year I wanted a Barbie Dream House. I poured over the JC Penny Wish book. I screamed for my parents to come in the living room whenever the commercial came on TV. I tried to build on out of cardboard shoe boxes but it never worked. I loved the Barbie dream house. And that year when we went to the K-Mart, there was one on display!!! A whole Barbie dream house put together and in a plastic display case. I about died. Right in front of me, so close but I still couldn't touch it, was a Barbie dream house, all in it's red and pink plastic glory. It was the most beautiful thing I could ever dream of, at that age. My Barbies needed that house. They had to have that house. They could no longer reside in the plastic pop up case with a Murphy Bed. They could no longer live under my bed. They could no longer have a conversational grouping of furniture on the carpet. They needed to move on up and live the dream.

I campaigned for the Dream House that Christmas even though it was $50. I wrote letters to Santa. I hung the picture on the fridge. I begged. I pleaded. I did extra chores. I flirted. I told Santa at the store and the Santa at church and the one at school. I told the entire free world that I was such a good girl that year and Santa really needed to help my Barbies and to please, please, please, bring me the Barbie Dream House.

On Christmas Eve we went to my grandparents for Christmas. It was tradition. We went every year and opened gifts they got us, we ate a meal and we went to church. It was usually a grand time. We always got some really nice toy and then clothes. That year we ate first. My Bro and I liked to race around the house to shake gifts and try to guess what was in there, but this year we weren't allowed to even go on the sunporch where the tree was. We were told had to eat. So we did.

After dinner we had to shut our eyes and we were brought in the room with the tree. And when we opened our eyes, lo and behold- THE BARBIE DREAM HOUSE! I screamed! I shrieked for joy! I jumped up and down! I kissed and thanked everyone, even my Bro, who was like 4 at the time and had no idea what was going on with his crazy big sister. I threw myself on the floor and was too stunned to move. My grandmother had arranged furniture in each room and I went screaming to the front door to get my Barbies I had brought along. (Where I went, Barbie traveled along- I mean, really!) I put Barbie in the house and then I noticed it. The difference.

Mine was made of wood! Mine had a front door that opened and closed and was a double French doors! Mine had real plastic flowers in flower boxes on the front! MINE had a stair case! MINE was really big! MINE had more rooms! Oh MY GODDESS! For a brief moment I thought that because I had begged so hard and wrote so many letters to Santa and prayed to Jesus, God and the Mattel creators, that the elves made a special one for me. Then it hit me- my grandfather BUILT ME A DREAM HOUSE!!! This man who was a master carpenter and built real life homes and made furniture by hand and carved wood designs and built kitchen cabinets from scratch for the rich people all over town built MY BARBIES a dream house. I was aghast, or would have been if I knew that word at that age. It was amazing. It was wonderful. It was special.

I played with that doll house for years and kept it in my room even as a teenager. I learned, as I got older, that he had gone out to the K-Mart and studied the house and the colors, then designed and made his own blueprint to build my Barbie House.

It was one of the best presents ever!


Anonymous said...

I was a barbie fanatic too! had them all even the little ones..camper, pool, cars, hotel... when I pulled my stuff out it took up the whole good parlor.... the biggest thing I had to share with my sisters was the barbie bride dress..

Bragger said...

What a sweet, sweet story! It is precious that your grandfather not only built you the house, he went to the store to see how he should build it. That's awesome. I had ONE Barbie doll, and I tried to make her a wedding gown. But my mother wouldn't allow me to use her sewing machine, and I quickly grew bored trying to sew it by hand.

Have you seen my blog post with the gazillion Barbies? If not, I'll send you a picture of it. It was at Hubby's uncle's house.

Curley said...

What great memories. A few years ago I was knitting Barbie clothes. Wasn't easy but it was fun.

Gulo said...

That is AWESOME!!! I would have loved the house. (the barbies were not so much my thing, though)

Mellodee said...

I was about 10 or 11 when Barbie first appeared. I had one with a few dresses and shoes. No Ken, no Dream House, no dog, no T-Bird (I love T-Birds) no horse, no earrings. It wasn't that I was a deprived child, you understand, they just hadn't been created yet. I only played with her for about a year before I outgrew dolls. But when all that stuff came out, for just a little minute I felt cheated. My Barbie must have lived on the poor side of town!! LOL!

Maggie said...

TaDa- I was always lucky I didn't have to share Barbie since I didn't have a sister!

Bragger- I saw the post and just sat with my mouth agape... that's a little... wow. It's wow.

Curly- I bet you're thrilled I don't play Barbies anymore... ;)

Gulo- It is so cool! It would be fun, sans Barbie!

Mellodee- with all the junk I had for my Barbie, I still loved going to my Great Aunt and Uncle's house because she had 2 ORIGINAL Barbie dolls. She would let me play with them and I thought they were awesome. Even though there was no accessories or clothing changes, I still thought they were "glamorous."

Wiley said...

That is an awesome story. Such a great memory. Even if it does contain Barbies (never my favoured toy!) ;)