Happy Birthday Barbie!

Michele Zipp
6
Happy Birthday Barbie

Photo from Barbie Collector

I'm a Barbie girl, but not a Barbie girl like that awful song that was popular years ago.

My first Barbie-like doll was a two dollar imitation my aunt bought me at Woolworth's. Soon after I got My Friend Mandy and then I "graduated" to Barbie. She was so fashionable.

I was hesitant at first. I wanted a doll that looked like me and while I know at eleven years old I in no way had a figure like hers (still don't), I wanted one with brown eyes and brown hair like I had. I settled on blonde Barbie.

But when the Dolls of the World collection came out, my aunt was able to get me one that looked more like me...Mexican Barbie. Oh my gosh, I loved her the best. She was the only Barbie whose hair I never cut and she didn't date Ken because he wasn't good enough for her.

She lived in the Dream House, while the others had the apartment I made under my grandmother's coffee table. Her name was Tena -- a name I gave her, after my aunt who bought her for me.

When I played "Barbies," as my sister and I called it, things were dramatic. Soap opera-style theatrics. Barbie would argue with other Barbies, mostly about clothes and whatever else a tween can think to argue about; Ken was always kind of lame and bounced along to Barbie's house, showing up at weird times, his hair never out of place. I should have known that's why Ken didn't have "real" hair like the girls -- once you snipped it off she looked like me when I wake up in the morning with my bangs sticking straight up. Not a cute look.

And there was Tena. Never involved with the drama, always adorable with her long dark brown locks and pretty chocolate eyes. Never caught naked (gasp!) and always in the cutest clothes. That's how you could tell which Barbie I liked best -- if she was put away in the toy box half dressed, I didn't care about her that much. It was like I protected Tena, like a child.

I wonder if I still have her somewhere. My mom went on a throw-away binge a few years ago and that box possibly went to Goodwill. I do know she saved the Dream House. So many memories and good times in that house!

Well if Barbie really was a person, she'd be 50 today. Happy Birthday Barbie! 

Did you play with Barbies when you were a kid? Share your stories!

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