I wish I could remember which lucky Barbie was my first, but memory fails me.
I couldn’t even tell you how many Barbies I had amassed at the
end of my Barbie collecting days. I’d venture that the number was fairly
There was a cowgirl Barbie from an aunt and uncle that I
didn’t know I was allowed to play with because it came in a collector’s box.
There was the princess Barbie that came with a floofy pink dress and a tiara.
even had a Skipper doll, complete with crimped hair and a sparkly bikini.
Towards the end of my Barbie days, my tastes changed: instead of fancy Barbies
with giant gowns, I asked for career-minded Barbies – Veterinarian Barbie being
a staple of my collection.
|It may have been Ice Capades |
Barbie, but who knows.
|Don't even get me started on the Happy Meal Barbies.|
|Pink Princess Barbie and Wedding Dress|
Barbie seem to have been good friends.
|Complete with pink combat boots.|
Many of the Barbies I put on my Christmas list were products of whatever Disney movie happened to be out at the time. I had a Little Mermaid non-Barbie in the early 90s, but it wasn’t until Pocahontas that I got my first bonafide Disney Barbie. I was thrilled: Pocahontas came with a plastic blue necklace and dress that developed a colorful leaf pattern when you left it in the sun.
Of course, Pocahontas also
had a whole mess of hair. One summer day, sick of brushing all that damn hair,
I asked my mom if I could give Pocahontas a haircut. She gave me the go-ahead,
and I gave it my best shot. I had only intended to give her a respectable
shoulder-length trim, but in my attempts to make her ends even, Pocahontas
ended up with more of a chin-length bob. That, my friends, is probably why I
never wanted to become a hair stylist.
|Thanks to the internet, I could even find a |
glamour shot of the Pocahontas Barbie for you.
My other Disney Barbie arrived the following Christmas. I didn’t particularly like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I thought Esmeralda was SO COOL. There were two Esmeralda Barbies available that year: normal Esmeralda and Gypsy Dancing Esmeralda. I wanted normal Esmeralda, but ended up with Gypsy Dancing Esmeralda instead, which ended up being great because Gypsy Dancing Esmeralda had a way better outfit.
Speaking of outfits, my Barbies had truly enviable
wardrobes. I inherited some of my mom’s Barbie clothes, as she had quite the
collection in the 1960s.
The rest of my Barbie clothes came from my incredibly
talented great grandma Shorty. (Grandma Shorty’s husband was short, hence the
nickname. Even though she was not short, Grandma Shorty kept the nickname when
it was passed on to her.) Grandma Shorty could sew absolutely anything. She
made my grandma Sheila’s wedding dress, and she was known to recreate dresses
just by looking at them. Grandma Shorty was a wizard.
|Plus a singing tambourine!|
|I even got to use her Barbie case!|
Grandma Shorty’s Barbie clothes were exquisite. They were always much nicer than any of the Barbie clothes you could buy. She made me countless outfits: gold harem pants (plus a matching bikini top), a sequined mermaid tail (also with a matching bikini top), and more evening gowns and wedding dresses than I could count. Grandma Shorty would even make matching purses and coats. My Barbies were always dressed to the nines.
Each and every one of my Barbies had a name. Their names
would change, but usually they were preceded by “Princess.” There is a home
video from approximately 1993 that involves me swanning around with these
Barbies, badgering the videographer (my mom) into telling my Barbies how lovely
they looked. I would emerge from behind my mountain of Barbie clothes and
present the Barbie of the moment. I introduced each one and immediately
transformed into the voice of said Barbie. “Hello, I’m Princess Brunhilda,” I
would say in falsetto. “Do you like my dress/shoes/earrings/hair?” My mom would
tolerantly reply, “Oh, yes, just beautiful.” After about the fifth Barbie,
Mom’s patience ran out and her responses became more sarcastic: “Oh, Princess Brunhilda,
your hair does look very pretty. Would you tell your friend Calla that she needs
to brush HER hair?”
|This Barbie is sporting one of Grandma Shorty's|
creations: all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Inevitably, my interest in Barbie dolls waned. The last Barbie I received was the dancing Esmeralda Barbie: Christmas 1996. I would turn ten the following spring, and by that time, Barbie and I had gone our separate ways. It seemed to me that once your age hit the double digits, it was time to cultivate some more sophisticated interests, like feather pens and Hanson.
My Barbies have been safely stored in the attic ever since.