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Barbie never diesPosted Tuesday, July 6, 2010, at 6:57 AM
This is the scene in my kitchen on Saturday, July 3, 2010, as my daughter Kristin washes her old collection of Barbie clothes, which she discovered in the basement this weekend.
Yes, yes, I know: It's been a MONTH since I posted a new blog. My son's father-in-law (Brad Spears) reminded me of that yesterday at the big 4th of July bash at my son's house in Kelso.
This morning I wake up happier than I have been in years. My daughter is still sleeping upstairs as I make my coffee and take birdseed out to the feeders. The sun is just up, slanting through my bow window.
My kitchen cabinets are covered with clean Barbie doll clothes, something I never thought I would see again. It makes me so happy that I may have to stop and cry before I finish this blog.
Barbie, Barbie - how could you have given so much happiness to my daughter, my sister, and me so many years ago - and you're still going strong in 2010?
My sister was with us yesterday, as we began our day here at home, when the subject came up in the conversation. We told my friend about that year when Kristin came home from playing Barbies at a neighbor's house on the next hill. Her little friend had a beautiful wedding dress for her Barbie - and Kristin told of how wonderful it was. I felt a little sad for our own poorly-clad Barbie, and I told my mother, who had a drapery shop in Springfield at the time.
"Well, we'll see about that!" Mom said, in that determined voice we all knew so well.
The Barbie wedding dress launched Mom on a nightly sewing spree that lasted at least a year, maybe more. She sent my sister Kathy out to scour the stores for Barbie patterns, and she sat in her comfy chair at night, sewing up the tiny outfits by hand, as she watched TV.
It was a passionate project, as she made the delicate dresses, jackets, hats, and even purses.
My favorite creation was a Scarlet O'Hara confection, made of dusty pink lace, left over from the curtains she made for Kristin's room. She made a wide brim hat to go with the dress, of course, as elegant a bonnet as ever I saw!
Another favorite was a bright red sundress with matching wide-brimmed hat, a Lady-in-Red spectacular!
Not content to give her little granddaughter a new wardrobe for her precious Barbie dolls, Mom made a large wooden wardrobe closet, which she painted soft blue to match her room.
From wire, she fashioned little clothes hangers for each outfit. Mom was ever the one for detail. Her quilting stitches were so tiny that they looked as if they had been made by mice! (There's a Beatrix Potter story about some mice who live in a tailor's shop!)
By the time Kristin's mom and her Aunt Kathy had finished buying her practically every new Barbie doll that hit the store shelves during her childhood, she had a significant collection.
Yesterday, she went up to her room and brought down the box to sort through it on the same living room floor where she had played with her little friends 20 years ago. As we watched her, we talked about how my nine-month-old granddaughter Sophie would one day be able to play Barbie at MiMi's house in Tillman.
However, when Kristin had laid out each doll (some without heads), we realized that the Wedding Dress Barbie wasn't there! Horrors! This discovery resulted in a trip to the basement (NO! NOT THE BASEMENT!) Digging through the clutter, she found the little blue closet, which still had some dolls and clothes, moldering down there in the dampness. An old bank check box held the tiny shoes, while another long jewelry gift box contained sashes.
The next thing I knew, Kristin had dragged out a big metal bowl of soapy water, into which she put all the clothes and shoes. I found myself caught up in the project, just as I had been when she was little, playing dolls on the floor.
When she wakes up this morning, we'll find fresh, new boxes for the whimsical little treasures. The newly-washed closet will be brought in from the front porch. The clean dolls will be dressed with fresh clothes and packed away in Kristin's room, until another little girl will come to Grandma MiMi's house.
Then, the saga will continue, and I will hear that tiny voice, asking, "Who will play Barbies with me???"
On this fourth of July weekend, 2010, we thank you, Lord, for our families and this wonderful country. Keep us safe forever, so that our children may play in peace and contentment, while we watch over them in happiness and love.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.