Santa, Barbie, and Barcelona
Santa, Barbie, and Barcelona! What Toys Did You Love?
Do you remember the toys you loved playing with as a kid? One of my favorites was Barbie. When Barbie was the brand new doll on the store shelves, I wanted one. My friend, Honey was the first person I knew who had a Barbie, and actually she owned two. (Yes, Honey was her real name. She lived in a gigantic old house at the bottom of a hill in West Virginia, and she had a pet billie goat named Trash.)
Honey always let me play with one of her Barbies. And then…I received my own! I remember the Christmas I got Barbie. She was the very first present I opened. She had bright blue eyes, and a short, bubble blonde hair-do. My Uncle Tommy said she looked like Marilyn Monroe. That year, along with Barbie, Santa also brought a bright pink Barbie case, lots of clothes, several pairs of shoes, a couple of pocketbooks, and a big black, wide-brimmed hat. I was five.
When I was seven, Santa gave me a little Singer sewing machine. It was cool! The machine made chain stitches in the fabric, so when I made a mistake, I could pull them out and start over. That’s the year I started making clothes for my Barbie. I salvaged fabric from the big box of remnants my mom kept in her sewing room. The clothes I made for my Barbie consisted of simple tubes. I’d stitch hems at the top and bottom of a square of fabric, wrap it around the doll, and pin it in place. Then I’d slip the outfit off Barbie, reposition my pin, sew up the back seam, and turn my creation right side out. If I could slip the tube on Barbie, and her curves held it in place, I had a dress. If the outfit I’d made was too tight and I couldn’t get it on her, or the tube fell off, I’d pull out the stitches and start over again. I made short tubes, long tubes, flared tubes, tubes with ruffles, tubes with lace, tubes with peek-a-boo cutouts, tubes with back slits, tubes with side slits, tube tops, tube skirts, and tube bikinis. There was only one problem.
None of my designs had sleeves. I couldn’t hang them up on the little hangers inside my Barbie case. My dad came to my rescue. He solved Barbie’s wardrobe problem with an empty cigar box! I covered that box with dark green contact paper, and glued handles on the sides that I’d fashioned from a brown paper grocery bag (remember those?) That cigar box was transformed into a steamer trunk, because my Barbie loved to travel, and she adored Spain. I didn’t know much about Spain, but from the pictures in the encyclopedia, it looked like a magical place. And the way it jutted out into the Atlantic Ocean, I could easily find it on the globe.
Eventually I passed my Barbie and her bountiful wardrobe on to my little sister, who I think loved that doll even more than I did. I moved on to roller skates, a bicycle, books, and boys. I don’t sew anymore, but Spain still weaves a magical spell that makes me yearn to visit. You know what I’m thinking? Barcelona or bust!
Thank you for reading.
Posted by Deborah McTiernan – Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic
Paranormal books for teenagers