I have a vintage, original Barbie Doll from 1959. She has managed to retain her remarkable physique while I have morphed from a chubby child to a healthy young woman back to a chubby curmudgeon. Three generations of storytelling girls have played with her: me, my daughter, and my granddaughter. The doll remains perfectly proportioned and ageless as I cope with trying to find my buried belly button.
Mattel has sold more than one billion Barbie Dolls around the world. The current hit Barbie Movie is the latest creation to capitalize on the franchise. Barbie-branded products included not only the range of dolls with their clothes and accessories, but also a large range of branded goods such as books, apparel, cosmetics, video games and audiovisual content.
Because I’m a chubby curmudgeon, I have no intention of seeing the movie. It’s a box office hit, but I’d rather sit on my patio with a summer cocktail than wear a garish pink outfit and share a theatre with squealing girls wearing pink uniforms. Besides, I already have my own Ken Doll.
My maternal grandmother, Olive Curry Morrison, was an excellent seamstress, and she loved to crochet. She made outfits for my Barbie Doll, and I still have more than 40 pieces of her wardrobe. The styles were handmade and include sweaters, skirts, coats, and perky hats. My mother saved each outfit in separate plastic bags because “they were too nice to play with.” So, I still have them, and most have never been used. I also have two original Barbie outfits: a ski outfit complete with boots and a tennis outfit that includes a tennis racket.
My grandchildren no longer play with Barbie Dolls. What should I do with her precious wardrobe? Sell it? Donate it? No one would appreciate how my grandmother lovingly hand-stitched hems and sewed buttons and snaps. She spent hours with her crochet needles and antique treadle sewing machine to create lovely pieces for one reason: To please me, her granddaughter.
As the Barbie mania continues, I hope to share this vintage collection with someone who will appreciate the talent and kindness of my Grandma Morrison. My vintage Barbie Doll is not for sale. I’m saving her for my youngest granddaughter’s high school graduation. Maybe the doll will be worth enough to help with college expenses. Vintage dolls and grandmothers retain their value.
Here’s a video showing my Barbie’s wardrobe: IMG_0117
Cheers to Grandma Morrison.