i struggle sometimes with suitable topics to write about. yes, i could tell you tales that would shrivel your balls to the size of raisins but i can't do that. i could do it if i lived in france with my boyfriend hugh and only returned occasionally to canada to buy maple syrup but alas this is not so.
but we must talk about something or someone. so off we go.
i played barbies a lot as a child. i had enough of them to stage some really great sagas. and as a child i was fascinated with disaster preparation and little house on the prairie so many episodes of my barbie soap opera involved panic and a covered wagon. i played on the bed and i constructed my roofless wagon from tea towels and knitted blankets. i had many more girl barbies than boys so stories had to be adapted to include cousins, maids and addled aunts who would often wander off in a storm. i (Malibu barbie) always had a great number of children. i was the octo-mom of my time. the children had to brought in from a variety of odd sources. i had a couple of dawn dolls and a few tiny dolls with giant heads that served as the babies. i filled in gaps with my troll dolls ( they were forced to wear toilet paper clothes)
often i snuck my mother's small antique bisque dolls. although i was playing with these dolls on the sly and although my mother quite prized them (she kept them in the top drawer of her vanity) - i failed to protect them. sadly disasters do not lend themselves to gentle play and slowly but steadily the beauty of the little bisque dolls declined. any attempt by my mother to find out what was befalling her treasures was met with my standard defense - talk and talk until the person just goes away. my mother had given up trying to discipline my by this age. by 8 i was a mystery to her. i was a good kid and she probably liked me but she often would just look at me in way that suggested she had not encountered my species before. as often as not she would just say "you are so queer". this was back when queer was still a heterosexual adjective. sometimes she'd say "i've just about have had enough of you" i'll admit when i first heard that i was quite taken aback. tiny little shards of fear came hurdling at me. was it even possible for your mother to have had enough of you and especially enough of me - i was on the whole, rather wonderful. but that particular threat starting losing its sting when i started hearing it from other people like teachers or ministers. it was then i realized they didn't mean it - they were just letting off a little steam. i was safe to carry on.
my mother was a knitter and so my barbies were dressed head to toe in her adaptions of the latest fashions. sweaters and dresses were fine but the bikinis and pants were difficult for even my imagination to overlook. the clothes were not knit from delicate baby fiber but good solid mitten yarn. swimwear was so bulky it was impossible for barbie to lay on her back to get a tan. the pants proved nearly impossible to get up the rubber legs and often ken was forced to wear his red chunky acyclic pants for the entire winter. god love her though, no occasion was overlooked. i had knitted bridal gowns, and veils, walking shorts and tank tops. everyone went around looking uncomfortable and they were, as you can well imagine quite difficult to pose. but by god they could survive a blizzard, ken could last for days when he fell out of the wagon only the troll children in their 1 ply toilet tissue frocks succumbed to the bitter cold.
i sometimes played barbies with another little girl. when we played together it was not enough to have disaster and homesteading - we had to bring famous people into the mix. we were either part of the osmond or jackson family. but because we both liked the stars of the respective families and did not want to fight over them we thought it wise for us to become wed to one of the lesser family members. when we were the jacksons, i was the wife of tito and within the osmond clan i was betrothed to wayne.
i think it must have been quite a sight - mrs malibu barbie and her husband tito atop their tea towel wagon, each clutching one of their scantily clad troll children whilst trying to make their way through the swirling snow of a prairie blizzard.