Not Just a Barbie Doll


This story is about a Barbie doll. Not just any Barbie though, my Barbie.

Even if it seems like everything in the world is changing so quickly, certain things—including tenacity, persistence, and the potential rewards they might bring—never do.  Those seem like big words for this story of me, as an 11-year-old, but that is, ultimately, what this story is about.

As a child, I received an allowance. What the amount was, I don’t recall. But I vividly remember receiving my weekly allowance and putting it in my piggy bank instead of spending it.  I had my sights set on buying a Barbie doll. When Barbies made their first appearance, in 1959, every little girl seemed to want one, even me, who didn’t play with dolls very often. I remember it seemed like forever before I had the $3 needed to purchase the doll.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the day arrived when I had saved enough money to buy what my heart had been set on. Even all of these years later, I remember I couldn’t wait to get to the store. I remember the excitement of scanning the shelves to find Barbie, and of asking my sister to get her for me because I wasn’t tall enough to reach her.  I have a mental image of me placing the doll on the counter and handing my money to the store clerk.

I was so proud.

When we got home, I even wrote my name on the back of the box, claiming ownership. I had a sister 5 years older than I was and a brother 5 years younger. I’m not sure who I thought would want to play with her, but still…

I did play with my Barbie doll. I distinctly remember removing and replacing her tiny earrings and high heels. But eventually, she was placed in my Treasure box, which is a box of items that I just couldn’t bear to get rid of as a child. And that is where she lived for decades.

A few years ago, when I was looking at the contents of the box, I saw her. Memories of her flooded my mind. Not memories of playing with her, but the memories of saving for her, and how very proud I was when I bought her with my own money. I remembered my determination to buy her “all by myself” and the happiness and pride I had when I did just that.

That’s what my Barbie means to me. And that’s why she is now out of my Treasure Box and is living with other treasures in my house. She is a great reminder of the lessons I learned as an 11-year-old, that can still be applied today… no matter how fast the world changes.


The super interesting and fun thing about my signature on this box is that even today, 60 years later, I still make that little ziggy design when I sign my name!





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Comments (2)

  1. Stephanie Barry

    I loved this story. I think my one and only Barbie was given to me as a gift. The thing I do remember about her was that she was “different” than most that i saw. She wasn’t a blonde ponytail version. She had short brunette hair. My playing with her was pretty minimal also, mostly only changing her clothes. My first sewing projects were sewing a few clothing items for Barbie, by hand. Big sloppy stitches but it worked.

    August 10, 2023 at 6:19 pm
    • I remember the brunette Barbies. How fun that you made clothes for her. I hope you still have them.

      August 11, 2023 at 4:53 am
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