Barbara Parent: Barbie’s pink suitcases

Barbara Parent: Barbie’s pink suitcases

Perhaps it’s cabin fever that got me to thinking about Barbie.

There is plenty to do around here, as we were fortunate not to lose power during the storm last weekend.  But alas, rather than turning to something constructive such as vacuuming or better yet, settling down with, “My Antonia” our local library automatically renewed for me, my thoughts turn to a plastic icon.


Believe me, I wondered the same thing. Ah, but then I thought about the day last week when I finally removed the remainder of the Christmas decorations. Four small artificial trees, and the Joe Tree, decorated with trumpets in 1995 following my dad’s November passing that year, are stored in an enclosed area under the stairs to the basement. 

During the week between Christmas and New Years Day the space is empty, the trees displayed in the rooms upstairs. Perfect spot for the visiting grandchildren when they were younger and shorter, and used the unoccupied space for their clubhouse. 

Four baseball cards from those years are still taped to the back side of the stairs. The clubhouse was used prior to five-year-old Danny’s birth and listed on the membership roster at the time are the full names of Matt, Brady, Katie, Jake and Laura, including middle initials with the designation: ”And together we are: The Connecticut Cousins!”

At the very back of the space are two pink Barbie suitcases stored since our daughter Laura’s childhood.  At one time they were under one of the twin beds in the guest room and if memory serves me, a few of the Barbies do not have heads, having been yanked off by Jake years ago. Perhaps an arm or two also. I do believe the body parts are in the suitcases with the torsos and her wardrobe, or course. 

 I realize that dismembered Barbies will not move on eBay, even if I knew how to go about listing them. So here they remain and seeing them must have triggered the Barbie thoughts.

And the fact that this March she turns 60.

Hard to believe, isn’t it?  

Not that 60 is old. Make no mistake, sixty is a number to be embraced. I wouldn’t mind taking a two week visit back to that decade, just for a look see, mind you.

As for Barbie, who made her debut in March of 1959 time has marched on. 

But over the past nearly 60 years has she dealt with all that may come with it? Teenage blemishes, middle age dry skin, split ends and the first few stands of gray? Cellulite? Water weight and hot flashes?

There was some talk a few years back that the Barbie line would become more realistic. Prepare young girls for life and better able to deal with its complexities. How about something as simple as a small string attached to her 1”waist? One tiny pull and it would expand and become thicker with age.

Back in 1989 when she turned 30 had her dentist told her to start flossing? She probably thought at the time that she was too young to be bothered about gum disease. But my dentist told me that it was never too early to prevent plaque build-up. Granted, at the time I was a few years ahead of her, never mind how many, just that I could have warned her about a thing or two. Could have told her, “Take heed little girl. Life after all, won’t always be a beach.”

As I write this column, the thought occurs to me that I best take a few aspirins for my cabin fever. Idle time would best be served not questioning what Barbie does for a living that she can afford the latest model convertible, townhouse, vacation condo and open-ended clothing budget. 

Either get out the vacuum cleaner or better yet, jump start your brain and finish up with Willa Cather.


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