I don't remember when I got my Barbie and Ken dolls. Barbie was a black-haired, ponytail Barbie that I got for a birthday present, I think from my grandparents but maybe from my parents some time between 1961 and 1963 most likely. She had the little one-piece black and white bathing suit and doe eyes and pursed lips and those impossible high-heeled shoes because who wouldn't wear high heels with their bathing suit. Ken arrived soon thereafter with his fuzzy yellow hair before the boy dolls had plastic hair.
As time went on, Barbie's friend Midge, then Ken's friend Allan (both pictured here), and finally, Barbie's little sister Skipper joined the family. But all good things come to an end.
It started with Barbie and Ken. A flaw in the plastic used in the early versions of those dolls became a real problem when mixed with chlorinated water and my Barbie and Ken spent a lot of time in the summers in the pool with me. Their "skin" started flaking off and they lost their fingers. Eeek. Into the trash they went.
Then things started to disappear. My sister, who had blonde, bubble-haired Barbie, and I used to play with a girl on the block named Sharon. Sharon, a year or so younger than me and a year or so older than my sister, was a thief. Gradually, over a number of months, my sister noticed that whenever she played Barbie dolls with Sharon, she ended up with fewer and fewer items of doll clothing. My sister and I didn't get along, so I never told her I was trying to steal her things back for her when I started playing Barbie with Sharon, but the brat was too clever. She never used my sister's things when she played with me and soon, I started losing doll clothes, too.
In 1969, we moved and I think Skipper disappeared around then. Perhaps she ran away from home. At any rate, I didn't have much left by way of my Barbie collection. Just Midge and Allan. Barbie's cousin Stacey, pictured, too, is a more recent addition, from the '80s. I did have some accessories still, and I sold them off, as pictured below, last year on eBay. I guess if I'd been able to keep more over the years, I would have kept more than the dolls. But I still love all things Barbie. And a few years ago, my best friend bought me a limited edition Solo in the Spotlight Collector's Barbie. That had been my favorite outfit and the replica doll had the right color hair.
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