Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Barbie

pen and ink, watercolor

The Everyday Matters group is sketching a favorite hobby, other than art.  Since it was Barbara Millicent Roberts' big Five-O yesterday, I thought I'd do a portrait of the vinyl goddess.  My original number one doll disappeared long ago, probably destroyed by my younger sisters and brother.  I got this number three doll a few years ago and had her hair restyled and her lips repainted.  A girl has to do a little maintenance to look good after five decades.  I got my original blonde ponytail doll for Christmas in 1959, just a few days before my ninth birthday, Mother and Grandma took the train to Milwaukee and stood in line to get the popular toy. Both of them loved dolls, and they spoiled us girls with Madame Alexander dolls, Shirley Temple, and of course Barbie.  Here is a link to the first television commercial, aired on the Mickey Mouse Club:  http://www.wikio/video/862007

Mother sewed all sorts of little dresses, coats for Barbie, and later Midge and Ken. She even knit little sweaters. The tiny high fashion dresses and accessories made by Mattel were too expensive, except for birthday treats.  Much later, as an adult, when Mother was quite ill, I began getting all the vintage outfits that we couldn't afford before.  That was something Mom and I could share, and I will always remember the pleasure it gave her to see all those little outfits, odes to the 1960s when my sisters and I were children.

Now Mom and Grandma are gone, but Barbie continues. I have a couple dozen different Barbies, and all the original outfits, purses, hats, shoes.  The dolls stand in a book case, and sometimes I think I should just sell them.  Let someone else enjoy them.  But for now,  they are a way to remember some happy times.


laura said...

Great sketch! It's been fun listening to all the talk about Barbie's impact generated by this birthday! I had Barbies too, but preferred Skipper, the flat-chested brunette. I'll leave you to imagine why! ;-)

janabouc said...

Wowee! This is a killer sketch of Barbie. She looks so intense and a bit scary (which she was actually!) It's hard to imagine someone inventing Barbie and getting away with peddling her to tots these days. So un-PC with that completely unrealistic body. But I guess if they can sell horrible war, shooting and killing video games to boys they could sell vixen dolls to girls.