Restoring a childhood collection...

by Michelle
(Melbourne, Australia)

I had a pretty difficult childhood and we didn't have much spare money. So when I was given a huge suitcase of Barbie in the early 1970s (that my stepmother's children had outgrown), I was ecstatic.

Many, many happy hours were spent dressing and undressing my various Barbies with their beautiful (now-vintage) gowns. They gave me so much pleasure, you cannot imagine (or perhaps you had the same experience). I especially loved laundering my Barbie clothes (this makes me cringe now thinking about the damage I did, but they were toys after all!) Consequently, my Barbies' outfits were pretty well-loved examples by the time I'd finished with them and I don't think I had a shoe left.

I also remember doing all the things that little girls do - popping heads onto different bodies, torturing Barbie by making her bendable legs do things they weren's supposed to, making nipples, new earring holes etc. :-)

Sadly, the outfits and Barbies remaining after I'd outgrown them were lost to me some years ago. (That's another story).

I have found that I have become more and more sentimental after having my children and as I mature (I'm 40 this year). So much so that I have recently begun restoring my collection, starting with the special favourite outfits that I originally owned. Funny how things stay with you, the feel of the heavy satin in Midnight Blue; the brocades in Evening Splendour; and the tulle of Campus Sweetheart.

Of course these names meant nothing to me as a little girl, they were just my much-treasured toys. Handling these gowns again now as an adult takes me back to simpler times, when I was just a lonely little girl playing with Barbies.

But you know what? I think they give me just as much pleasure today as they did then - with the added bonus of an adrenalin rush that comes towards the end of an eBay auction!

Comments for Restoring a childhood collection...

Click here to add your own comments

Childhood Barbie's
by: Anonymous

My Barbie's were my single most favorite toys when I was growing up in the late 60's-70's. Malibu Barbie and Ken were the people I pretended to be. My mother, a very good seamstress, even made several beautiful clothes for my Barbie. I would save my money especially to buy new outfits for my Barbie and Ken dolls. I had the dining table with all the dishes and "silverware", candlabra for the dining table, canopy bedroom suit, dunebuggy, among other items I'm sure I've forgotten about.
When I moved out and got married I didn't think about my Barbie's until a few years later. When I asked my mother about them she had given all that "stuff" to my cousins to play with. When I asked my aunt about my Barbie's she's already gotten rid of them or thrown them away.
Funny how, after all these years, I still find myself thinking about my Barbie's. I would give almost anything to still have them today. It would be the one thing that would take me back to that most wonderful time of childhood. I would especially love to have all those clothes my mother, who passed away when I was only 23, had hand sewn for my Barbie-dolls. I just turned 50 (wow, that sounds funny to say!), and I'll never forget my Barbie's!
My own daughters, who are now grown and married, never cared for Barbie-dolls - much to my dissapointment. I still find myself fascinated in the store looking and wishing for all that Barbie stuff!

great story
by: Anonymous

Wow.. What a touching story. I can relate to everything you have said. I have lost/destroyed most of my dolls as well - but over the course of of the last 5 years I have replaced and added (so many) to my collection thanks to ebay (but I do miss the excitement of doll shows, which are unfortunately becoming obsolete.. I used to find dolls at those shows that I did not even realize existed! Things were so different in the 80's..)

Click here to add your own comments

Click here to return to Share Your Vintage Barbie Collection & Stories.