Five years old: This Christmas, I remember getting my first Barbie-sized dollhouse. It was made of wood, painted white with green trim. If memory serves me correctly, it even had a single car garage attached. There are pictures of me, somewhere, standing next to this dollhouse on Christmas morning. I wish I could show it to you because...well...I'm pretty darn cute in the picture. I'll dig it out this time next year when I do this exact same Christmas post.
Six years old: Don't ask me why, but I got another Barbie dollhouse. This was a Tuesday Taylor Penthouse Apartment:
Very chic. I'm mean, seriously, check out that white, shag carpeting. You just can't get good carpet like that anymore.
It was plastic and it's 872 pieces had to be assembled. I remember watching Dad painstakingly put it together. My feelings while watching him grow increasingly frustrated with the dollhouse were a mix of guilt, because he was getting agitated doing something for me and impatience, because, come on, I want to PLAY!
Six years old again: I remember putting two and two together this year. How could Santa have brought me the dollhouse when my older siblings (who taught me the fine art of pre-Christmas snooping) had shown me the dollhouse under my parents' bed weeks before? It was all starting to come together. Whatever. No tears here. I've learned the fine art of pre-Christmas snooping!
Seven years old: I was, by far, the luckiest little girl on the face of the earth. That was the year I received this:
Yes, that's right. A Barbie Friendship Plane! How cool is that? It even came with a stewardess cart, plates and cups. If you look closely, you can see that the Captain is added to the drawn in details of the interior. So there was no chance any independent, forward-thinking little feminist was going to put Barbie in the pilot seat. The year was 1976 and Barbie had yet to burn her bra.
Bra burning aside, 1976 was a very good year for me. In addition to the Friendship Plane I received from Mom & Dad, my grandparents earned major points that year when they gave me:
If it wasn't enough that I got to watch the Donny & Marie Show every Friday night, now I had the dolls to re-enact the show with the next day. I distinctly remember being told NOT to cut Marie's hair. I also distinctly remember cutting it right after Marie cut hers in real life. Also, I just love the jumpsuit Donny has on. Definitely a little bit rock-n-roll, wouldn't you say? And the purple socks! Who could forget the purple socks?!
I don't recall getting anymore Barbies or Barbie related stuff after that. Dad had decided I had out-grown it all and, one day when I was about ten, he gathered it all up and sold it in a garage sale while I was at school. Thanks for asking, Dad.
It wasn't until after my parents divorced that my mom bought me another wood dollhouse very similiar to the one I received when I was five. I was now eleven and, outwardly, embarrassed by such a "little girl" present but, inside, I was elated. I was not allowed to naturally out-grow the Barbie stage and a little bit of it still lingered inside me. I played with that dollhouse everytime I visited my mom - even into my teens, after we moved to Arizona and I spent the summers with her.
It lingers on, to be honest, and I long for the day when London's Barbie playing extends past just changing her clothes and finding shoes to match. But however she wants to play is okay by me. As long as we are making memories that last.
Merry Christmas, everyone!