Posted by: angelnorman | November 17, 2008

Suitcases full.

When I was a little girl, Barbie was my favorite thing ever.

I had so many Barbies that I couldn’t even pick a favorite, though I guess I played with my Shannon Doherty and Luke Perry dolls the most often. My real grandfather, my Granny’s old flame, bought them for me I think, and gave them to me on one of his visits to TN. He lived in Texas, near Austin, so I never saw him. He had to bring gifts to appeal to me, to win me over. But I was about eleven then, maybe twelve, and I was still playing with Barbies pretty religiously at that point.

It’s no big secret that I played Barbies right on up till I was 16 I think. I remember going to my cousin’s house for sleepovers and things when I was 16 years old, and when we weren’t sneaking cigarettes in her attic or calling her boyfriends and talking to them on the phone for FOREVER while listening to lots of The Beatles and writing on her grass-green painted bedroom walls, you could find me across the hall in my younger cousin Rachel’s room, organizing this huge dramatic play with all her Barbies. I was often teased by my older cousins for this, of course, but I didn’t care. I had been teased for years by lots of people for my great love of the Barbie doll. Just when all my friends were starting to get interested in other things around the ages of 8 and 9, I was given the gift of a new baby sister. And this means that within a few years, I had someone to join me in all of my Barbie-loving play.

I didn’t need a fancy three-story Barbie house with an elevator like my cousins had, though I had a pretty cool cottage one with two stories whose red roof folded out and made a “terrace” sort of feature. It was awesome, though that video shows a “food lift” that I don’t recall ever having… But whatever.

I didn’t need fancy furniture, though, of course, my Barbie house had some (like this, at least that little vanity.) It didn’t even have stairs. You just had to hop up to the next story and pretend that you had taken the stairs. That’s how awesome MY stuff was.

We kept that Barbie house at my Granny’s house in E. Nashville, it sat in her bedroom actually, mainly because of space issues in our house in Old Hickory. I was pretty sure that even when we weren’t there and making messes, Granny was in there “cleaning” and organizing the Barbie house and playing with all my favorite things 🙂 I wonder if we still have that?! Hm. If so, I totally want it.

More often than not, I made modern-style fancy chairs and really plush beds with rolled up washcloths in my sister’s room. The entire room would be our Barbie mansion, and sometimes we’d have huge parties where all the Barbies we owned would come to hang out. Sometimes we’d make shopping malls or spas or something where the Barbies visited. Now that I really think about it… It’s really no wonder that she and I were so crazy about The Sims when we moved on to videogames. It’s like playing Barbies only in a virtual world. But I digress.

I look back on these sorts of memories and smile though, and this is my point. My sister and I still have inside jokes that came from some of the stories we’d make up while playing Barbies. I have friends who despise Barbie and say she’s not an appropriate toy for a little girl. I’m proof that Barbie is actually not all that bad. Barbie didn’t cause me to grow up with self-esteem issues or body image issues. If anything, Barbie helped to foster and nurture my imaginiation and sense of wonder. Barbie never stifled me or my sister. She gave us an outlet for creative play that created positive memories we’ve carried into our adulthood! We have a whole history of love for the Barbie doll that will never die.

Of course, I do believe I’d probably tire quickly of them if I were to try playing Barbies today. I can’t even make it through ten minutes of play with Nick that doesn’t end in my frustration. Seriously… he has no imagination whatsoever! All he does is make his Batman, Robin, or whatever Transformer is in his hand either 1) fight with whatever toy I’m playing with or 2) need my toy to rescue his toy from some unknown danger that has him either falling off the edge of the table or pushed into the floor. But I digress again.

You won’t be surprised I’m sure to learn that this made me cry.



  1. Seriously…I want a barbie night with all Mom’s….just sitting around playing. I havne’t done that in so long!

  2. BARBIE RULES!!!!! lol…this was a great blog. i cant wait to go thru all the barbies in the attic at some point.

  3. oh ps- the joke we’ve carried on… “doo doo doo doo doo *turning of heads*” lolol

  4. Jen: Sounds like fun!

    Courtney: That is, by far, my favorite Barbie inside joke. Everytime that happens in real life or on tv, I internally hear “doo-doo-doo-doo” and it makes me laugh. And don’t forget “squeaky like Derrick”, “Barbie and the Rockers”, Jem and the Holograms, AKA Amazon Women, and “the ugly old Ken that no one likes”. Remember how my Jem dolls, especially Kimber, was always like, the mom of our Barbies because they were so much bigger? HAHAH. And that poor Ken with the yellowish hair and dark eyebrows… I think he was Moma’s Ken doll, from the 60s. Very not handsome compared to Luke and Derrick.

  5. I LOVE Barbie to!! We had a ton of Barbies and the mansion witht eh elevator! 🙂 But you had Jem??!!! I LOVED that show! I had so many Barbies and only one boy, a new kids on the block!

  6. Lindsay: Yes, I (or we) had all 4 dolls- Jem/Jerrica, Kimber, Aja, and Shana. They were slightly larger than typical Barbie dolls, but they were awesome.

    I loved that show too!

    And our Barbies also outnumbered our boys, at least 5 to 1. Haha. We usually always played with Shannon and Luke (Brenda and Dylan actually) and Stacy (Malibu Barbie) and Derrick (of Barbie and the Rockers). I LOVED Derrick. He came with this silver jumpsuit thing… oh my goodness gracious! I hadn’t thought of that in years. Aw.

    Is Kinley into Barbie yet? If so… how lucky you are to have a daughter with which to share a love of Barbie!!! I wish I had someone to play with, lol. Maybe the next time you guys play, you can call me and I’ll come join ya 🙂

  7. oooooooooomg i totally forgot about “the ugly old ken doll no one likes.” ahahaha it cracked me up reading that. and yes the jem dolls were awesome and large. and derrick was soooooo squeaky. he probably still squeaks.

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