Still Perky After All These Years

By: qwerty53

Mar 12 2009

Category: An American Icon, baby boomer memories, Barbie, Uncategorized


Focal Length:40mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D70

Barbie and Me, together and in our fifties. In honor of her recent birthday, I took her and Ken and Midge and Skipper out of their carrying case for a photograph session. They were so pleased!

Bubble-headed Barbie was my first, as I recall, and she is probably somewhat collectible, along with her Ponytail Barbie case, which just reeks 1950’s, although it’s dated 1961. When I took her out, I noted that her small pearl earrings had discolored the area around her ears, but her turquoise eyeshadow and lipstick still look freshly applied.  Sorry I was in such a hurry to take the shot that I did not put on her matching red-patent leather shoes and handbag. (I really owed her that much.)

Ken is well-preserved for a man who has not shaved in over 40 years. One foot seems to have taken on the same permanent tippy-toe heel-lift as Barbie’s, so now he doesn’t stand so well. And they tolerated me (just barely) photographing them together for old time’s sake, even though everyone knows they broke up a few years back.

Those tightly-cut slack he wears have the world’s tiniest working zipper, but now when he sits down, it pops open. He pulls his sweater down over it but it’s still probably an embarrassment to the grandkids. I remember when I first saw him lying down naked on top of Barbie — that must have been around the sixth grade. In the 4th and 5th grade, I took Barbie to school to play with during recess with a few other girls. A tomboy I was not.

In my little hometown there were a couple of women who made clothes for Barbies and my mother purchased several homemade outfits that were not without their charm. Mrs. Ruby Purcell was an avid knitter and she knit tiny chic suits and trimmed them with fur collars and matching pillbox hats. That was also exactly the way she dressed—an early fashion icon, herself.

It would be interesting to add up all the hours I played with Barbie over the years. I am kinda annoyed with myself for not keeping her big pink plastic convertible and for breaking the roof off her pink-striped jeep.

At the time, I was keeping these dolls ‘for my daughters someday’ which was the designated excuse for never parting with a toy, but when my daughter finally arrived in 1984, it became quickly apparent that she was not able to properly respect my doted-on collection. So, they were put away and she was given new ones to smear lipstick all over and attack with the scissors. Her Barbies had the most awful chopped off hair. (Sorry, dear!) And I don’t think we’ve kept a single one for her kids.

I am wishing I knew some other ladies who might still want to get together for some dress-up fun with Barbie & Midge. I know for sure that I am taking them with me to the old folks home in about 25 years!


3 comments on “Still Perky After All These Years”

  1. Dear qwerty53,
    If you’re really looking for some “women” who would love to dress up Barbie…look no further than Bluff Park! I have a slew of Barbies, tons of clothes and no one to play with. Maybe we could have a “Barbie Day” at my house instead of painting or making jewerly! How do you think Deb would react to that?

    • I think we should do both! I really do want to make/play with jewelry & am not sure I will ever do that on my own.
      And, we might have to play Barbie without Deb, but we can ask!!! (I would love, love, love to see your Barbie’s outfits.)

  2. I have some vintage Barbie clothes and lots of new clothes, thanks to my friend Suzan Sauls . She brought a large tub of clothes to me this past year. I would love to see your Barbies as well girlfriend! I’ll see you next week and we’ll talk about it.


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