Monday, November 13, 2006
A Long Way from Barbieland
I thought I would take a break from the telling of my love story to write about my little sister. I was an only child for quite a few years before my sister came along. I was very lonely, and decided that I would pray to God to send me a sister to play with. I didn't know that my parents had been trying for some time to have another baby. I believe God hears the innocent prayers of children. He heard mine, and before too long I had my little sister. She was a little bitty thing. She still is. When she started school, my parents had to lift her up onto the school bus steps. Despite some initial jealousy, I loved my little sis and she and I became great playmates.
Our favorite pastime was playing with Barbie dolls. We didn't just play the usual "Barbie's getting dressed to go on a date with Ken" scenerio. We had intricate plot lines and complex characters. Barbie had many adventures, and was a victim of numerous disasters. She survived a flash flood, an earthquake, a couple of tornadoes, as well as a few wars. Barbie got married and divorced more times than I can count, and had more kids than the old lady who lived in the shoe. Our cast of characters included Barbie as a suburban housewife, as well as Barbie the undercover spy supermodel.
All of our dolls had names. No one was just called Barbie. We had Lynne, and Teresa, Christy and Misty (twins,) Lori, and more that I can't remember. Kens had diferent names as well. We had a young Ken named Kevin. We had a Ken doll that looked a bit like Bruce Boxlietner, so we named him Lee Stetson. Then there was the doll named Bruce. He was one of the oldest Kens we had, and he had a bit of a flatulence problem. Not an imaginary one either. He always really smelled like farts. He was a commitmentphobe as well. Whenever he would attempt to kiss his Barbie love of the moment, his head would pop off.
Our story lines got crazier as we got older. In one plot we had a Barbie that went nuts and started killing all her Barbie friends. Ken once played a phantomesque role as the weird guy who lived in the basement of the Barbie mansion. My favorite story involved Ken as a maniacal kidnapper with an obsession for dinner breads.
At one point in our childhood, my family moved into a house that had enough room for us to have a playroom. This room quickly became Barbieland, fully equipped with a grocery store, hotdog stand, school, and even a game show. We spent most of our free time there making up wild adventures for Barbie.
For the most part, my sister and I took care of all of our Barbie dolls. After so many hours of play however, they did begin to wear out. We played with them until they fell apart. My doll, Lynne, was one of these dolls. She had been my favorite, so she was quite battered. Upon realizing her impending demise, my sister and I made up one last story for her to play out. Lynne survived the earlier homicidal rampage of her fellow doll only to slip on a stick of Barbie butter, fall down the stairs of her townhouse, and break her neck. She had a lovely funeral, and went to the garbage dump in a comfy little shoebox casket.
Some of our other dolls were not so lucky. They became victims of our attempts at Barbie makeovers. Though I successfully gave one doll the "Rachael" haircut, my attempt at the Meg Ryan bob went horribly wrong. Instead of Meg Ryan, the doll looked like Sinead O'Connor. Barbie met with worse fates than bad haircuts in Barbieland. The playroom was a bit drafty, which led to one poor doll's unfortunate run-in with the space heater. Several dolls lost their heads in one way or another. I think there was even a time when Barbie's mustang was responsible for severing a leg during a hit-and-run.
I was in highschool before I stopped playing with Barbie dolls. I tried to tell myself that I was just entertaining my little sister. However, I know I enjoyed it just as much as she did, if not more. We had a blast. I miss it. I'm now a wife and a mother of two boys. There isn't a Barbie in sight at my house. It's kind of sad. I have hope, though. I've recently found out that I am going to be an aunt. I'm praying now that my sister will give birth to a little girl. If she does, I'm digging out my Barbies. Hopefully, I will be with her when she takes her first journey to Barbieland.