6.23.2010

More Than a Memory

All my friends had Barbie dolls. I wanted one. My family was dirt poor. I got a 50c a week allowance. My mom knew how much I wanted a Barbie. She meant well. She saved syrup labels and sent away for this:


Not quite the same thing. At 15" tall, she towered over all the other dolls (much as I towered over all my friends) and I was heartbroken. Like I said, I knew Mom meant well, but this just would not do.  For many reasons.

When I was 12 years old I was in the hardware store in my home town - which sold housewares and toys along with lawnmowers and hammers - when I saw her, the doll of my dreams, with her Stella Stevens platinum blonde hair and her sidelong glance and I just had to have her.  I saved my allowance for months, but to make sure she would be there when I had the money, (to my shame now) I hid her in the store, behind some jigsaw puzzles.  When I had saved up the $3.50, I claimed my prize. 

She wasn't part of a fancy gift set then - she was in a red bathing suit with black high heels and little pearl earrings.  I would never be able to afford the beautiful store-bought clothes I drooled over, but she had to have a wardrobe.  So my father taught me basic sewing stitches, and my next door neighbor taught me to crochet, but I taught myself to knit, using twine and pencils, and in very short order she had her own closet (made from a shoebox) filled with original designs.  I dreamed many dreams through her, gained many skills and a measure of self sufficiency too.

I kept her for many years - eventually surrendering her to more "grown-up" interests - but I never forgot her.  Because of her, I was inspired to create.  She was my launching pad, if you will.  Now, almost 50 years later, I found her again:
A few months ago I found this reproduction of my doll and have been waiting and watching various sites for a price I could (sort of) justify. Last week, Barbie Collector  put her on sale and now she's mine again.
 As early birthday presents go, this one's a doozy.  I'm ridiculously happy. 

4 comments:

  1. Aw, such a happy ending to a sweet story! Barbie dolls did not exist when I was a girl. All four of our daughters, however, owned them. As soon at the youngest daughter went off to college, guess who started her own collection -- me!

    Congratulations, Morwyn on a terrific find . . . .

    Kathy V in NM

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  2. This doll and your post bring back so many memories for me...some good and some bad..thanks for sharing your story.

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  3. That is a brilliant story with a beautiful ending, Morwyn. Thanks for sharing :-)

    I desperately wanted a Cabbage Patch doll when I was a little girl (they're much larger than a Barbie doll, about the size of a newborn baby!) All of my friends had them, but we wouldn't afford one. So my Mum made me one...she bought a Cabbage Patch doll head (god knows where from! LOL) and made the body by filling old stockings with stuffing. She even created little fingers and toes, and made us matching outfits :-) With her clothes on, you would never have guessed that she wasn't the real deal!

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