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But I Want a Barbie Doll

When I opened the package on the morning of my eighth birthday I was horrified to see an ordinary Sindy instead of the expected glamorous Barbie. I am quite sure Sindy was placed on a shelf in my bedroom where she aged rapidly from lack of use.

But my friend Rita had several Barbies and a Barbie house with a miniature tv and cute furniture and even an iron and ironing board and a kitchen with the tiniest pots and pans imaginable and Barbie had an extensive wardrobe in her beautiful bedroom and fabulous shoes and combs and roller skates and tennis racquets and of course Barbie had Ken. We spent hours on Rita's bedroom floor pushing Ken and Barbie around in a convertible before they climbed onto horses and rode off into the sunset. Barbie looked stunning in her jodhpurs and riding boots.

I suppose in retrospect Rita was more of a Barbie while I certainly felt  like a  boring and dull Sindy. Rita had blond curls and wore unusual American clothes. She moved to Ireland for one year with her parents and older brother. In those days nobody did anything as adventurous as that.

Rita's mother never seemed to do any housework and while my mother lugged groceries out from town, usually in the pouring rain, Rita's mother  had the most expensive store in town deliver to their door. She usually wore long dressing gowns and swanned around the house with a martini glass in her hand. Rita's dad did calligraphy most of the day or worked on model trains in a room specifically for that purpose. I rarely saw him until dinner time. Rita's brother seemed to think that I would have made a wonderful nurse and liked me to administer tiny candies to him as he lay in bed pretending to be sick.

Sometimes I was invited to stay for dinner and eat food that we never ate at home. A box of goodies regularly arrived from America that contained Twinkies and Lucky Charms and Chocolate Chips and Pink Marshmallows but their sweetness tasted strange to me and I wished that I could have shared Rita's obvious enjoyment.

When the year came to an end I cried at the thought of losing my friend. But when she told me that she was leaving her entire Barbie collection behind I felt sure that I would be the first choice. I could not sleep with excitement as I imagined her bringing over the dolls, how I would feign surprise at the fact that I was deemed good enough to receive them. I planned how I could start the whole dating process with Ken again and knew that I would be the envy of every girl I knew. But Rita's mother had a different agenda, she gave every single Barbie item to the orphanage. My mother said that Rita's mother was a saint and that she would have all the luck in the world for her good deed. After that summer I never played with a doll again.

16 Comment count
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One summer spent with Barbie

One summer spent with Barbie was probably more than enough. :)
You've made me very curious about Rita and her family - and why your parents gave you Sindy.

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Barbie cost more than Sindy

Barbie cost more than Sindy Jodi. m

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Hi Mary,

You remind me of my own childhood. We had, for a short time, a neighbour with an only child who had more toys than I had ever seen in my entire life. Considering we were six children in our home, we did not want for anything imho, but it wasn't until we met this small child that we saw how many toys there were in the world! Well, I say the world, but I meant our world. :) I had a single Action Man with one set of clothes and a parachute (the reason for the broken foot) who I treasured. The boy next door had an entire army, with all the clothes, equipment, vehicles, etc. that were ever made. Amazing to see. Funnily enough though, I just looked at them and thought "Oh my god, how can he play with all that stuff?!" and just wished that my Action Man could go to hospital to get his foot fixed in a cast.

Did you ever keep in touch with your young friend?

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I love your memories. Rita

I love your memories. Rita actually came back to visit my parents but, ironically, I was living in Arizona at the time. She was on a cycling tour of Ireland. I never saw her again. I sometimes wonder where her Barbie dolls are now.If they are still alive. m

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Jodi's right: One summer

Jodi's right: One summer with Barbie is enough already. Trust me on this. I spent a summer with her and, well, just trust me. One summer's more than enough. To this day I can't stand even the thought of that, um, well, shall I just say overindulged, um...oh what the hell: bitch.

You're better off without her. Trust me.

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ron, you made me laugh out loud, so I'm guessing that you are more of a Sindy guy,i.e., a brunette in Wellington boots and a frothy pint of Guinness at hand. m

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it made me think back to my

it made me think back to my first steps into adulthood and i just wasn't ready to go there yet.

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d - yes those steps can be

d - yes those steps can be scary and the timing can be all wrong but look we survived and we managed to become great adults with sensitive hearts - m

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Memories of my dolls come to

Memories of my dolls come to mind. I did have Barbies, but I don't know if it was because I wanted them or my mom wanted them. The doll I loved best was a life like doll that I would take with me everywhere. People often thought she was real if I had her bundled up and how I held her. Her name was Tookie. I preferred finger paints and clay, though, but for some reason, my mom was not fond of either and didn't allow me to finger paint as much as I would have liked. I think I'll go to the toy store and get a kit and finger paint away!

Really enjoyed your story, m. That is ironic that you were in Arizona when Rita came to visit.

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Rebb, I can't wait to see

Rebb, I can't wait to see the Finger Paint creations. Post here asap please. m

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Okay, now you are an RSS feed!

I have such pleasure in your posts, despite the fact that I find Barbie revolting, and always have - even as a child. She looks like a mutant, this half-anatomically correct icon of vacuity. But that's just me. I was enamoured of a two inch high doll that one could put in one's pocket - and for whom one could create worlds - anywhere, any time, with acorns and leaves and matchboxes and sand - a crack in a sidewalk, the back seat of the family car. My cousin and I had an entire universe (and language) for these little people. But that's just me, again - and a child's desire is nothing to dismiss. That, I understand, having coveted odd things in my childhood - a certain pair of hightop basketball Keds, for example, being an altar boy (yes boy) and Charlton Heston.

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Harrison, I love those

Harrison, I love those hightop basketball Keds. Altar boy? mmm...not sure and Charlton Heston - yes. As for Barbie, I think I wanted her more because I knew I could not have her. I wish I had known you back then with acorns and leaves in your pocket and cracks in the sidewalk that made you close your eyes to wish...m

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Oh Harrison, I haven't a

Oh Harrison, I haven't a clue as to what ''RSS feed'' means but it sure sounds like a good thing. m

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It means that whenever you post something, it comes into my email inbox instead of my having to go to the Red Room and check it out. You're the only one so far. And probably will remain so, since if I don't finish this dissertation, I won't actually get a PhD! Not that I need one - it's one of those goals one had decades ago and then when one gets a chance to fulfil it, realises that it isn't a goal anymore. But Ms. Work Ethic Solow is doing it anyway - hence my extremely limited free time of which I choose to spend some reading your work. x

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Harrison, I am truly

Harrison, I am truly honoured by your gesture. Honestly, my toes wiggle with delight. Thank you so much for this gift. m

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I wish I had known you too, though I think we were born in different decades which makes childhood friendships more difficult! Thank you for the lovely thought, though!