An Inherited Hobby
About 12 years ago, my husband’s sister Colleen passed away after fighting cancer. She had a lot of stuff, and much of it was stored away. Eventually, we had to open some of the boxes to decide what to keep and what to bring to the Sally Ann. I came across an entire suitcase of Barbies, and then yet another suitcase of Barbie clothes and accessories.
My first thought was sarcastic: “Oh great, Barbie” – as Barbie has been the brunt of much criticism for her unrealistic body proportions negatively influencing little girls. “Okay,” I thought, “I’m gonna clean them up a bit and bring them to the thrift store.” I started to notice the markings on them, and did a little research. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had a few Barbies from the mid 60s and a lot of Barbies from the 70s.
“Okay,” I thought, “I’ll dress them up nicely and sell them on Kijiji.” The clothes were in a heap and didn’t smell too good. I washed them by hand and set them to dry on towels in the back yard. In the meantime, I started looking through all the brochures and pamphlets that Colleen had also saved. I began to realize that I not only had the Barbies, but I had entire outfits for them all: skirts, pants, leggings, jackets, dresses, jewlery, shoes, purses, and brushes. I got a little excited. I can honestly say I haven’t had so much fun in years, dressing up all the Barbies in their outfits.
I took pictures of the Barbies for Kijiji. After the first enquiry, I felt my heart drop. I took the ad down. I thought about Colleen and her love of fashion, how she used to dress all the mannequins for Dalmys, and here I was, sitting with her collection of Barbies. She obviously loved them – she had the pamphlets, the outfits, the accessories, all in perfect shape. I realized that I too loved the collection, and now the idea of selling it felt wrong.
So now when I go shopping at Value Village for my folk art business, I cannot help but check out the Barbies, just in case I see an outfit or a Barbie that matches my set of “California Girls” or my set of “Rockers” from the early 80s. Face it – I am hooked! One day I will pass on this lovely collection on to another unsuspecting family member.
Grace lives in McCauley with her family.