She's Turned Fifty ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2009

(Keywords: Cindy Beck, North Korean missiles, nuclear weapons, dolls, Barbie, humorous writing, humorous blog, humor blog, funny, smile, laugh, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)

Today we’re covering the ever-pressing topic of North Korea and its nuclear weapons deployment—but first we need to discuss something even more important. Barbie has turned fifty!

Barbie (the doll) has been on this planet as long as I (the person) have. (Click here to see a photo of me in 1963.) However, when I die, I’ll feed the daisies. Barbie, on the other hand, will continue to fill up attics and basements with her plastic, ultra-skinny body and her perky … um … bust line.

I remember getting my first Barbie and playing dolls with my friend, Jessica.* Since I was more or less a tomboy, the whole doll concept baffled me.

(*Please note names have been changed to protect the innocent, and so that “Jessica” can’t tell you the crazy things I did as a kid.)


“What do you want to do?” I asked Jessica, while looking around her yard in boredom.

“Let’s play Barbies!” Jessica loved dolls and her excitement rivaled that of the Real Novato soccer team in a tournament … had there been an adult team in existence in that small California town in the sixties.

Since I’d just received my first Barbie, and was socially aware enough to understand that a plastic doll could neither walk nor talk, I wondered how we were going to play with her. What, maybe use her as a mini baseball bat?

Still, not wanting to be labeled a Barbie-hater, I put on a brave face, ran into my house and found my Barbie case. Those of you who had a Barbie know what I mean by “Barbie case.” However, for the guys among you, who only owned plastic army men that the dog loved to eat and then throw up, I’ll explain. A Barbie case was a rectangular, vinyl suitcase the size of a small warehouse, designed with a slot for the doll, a huge space for her wardrobe, and a small section for her accessories. Yes, accessories—those teeny pieces that made Barbie’s wardrobe complete—gloves, necklaces, and the dinky high heels that would give a real woman leg cramps that shoot up to her neck.

The cases came in several colors: red, yellow ….

Well, those are the only two colors I remember, so I’ll go out on a limb, make things up, and say that’s all that existed at the time. At any rate, mine was mustard yellow. More accurately called, “baby poop” yellow by those among us who were tomboys.

I grabbed my mustard/baby poop case, ran back to Jessica and sat down cross-legged beside her. “Okay, what do you want to do? Take her head off and stuff honeysuckle berries down her neck?” I might have been new to Barbie-dom, but I’d already figured out you could remove her well-coifed, pony-tailed head.

Jessica looked at me as if I’d just grown hedgehogs between my ears. “No, don’t take her head off!” She paused, thinking. “We’ll play like we’re going out on a date.”

Since I was only nine-years old, items at the top of my priority list included playing baseball, climbing trees, and flying kites. Boys were about as fun as burying my dead turtle, Turtie, by stuffing him down a gopher hole while I sobbed a tearful goodbye.

Aghast, I said, “A date? Like with a boy? Yuck!”

I looked at Jessica for a second, then grinned mischievously and decapitated Barbie. I flung her head—Barbie’s, not Jessica’s—into the case, put a tiny strand of fake pearls around her now headless neck, and laid her in the grass.

“Cindy, that’s not how you’re supposed to play Barbies.” Jessica’s tone sounded like a mother who was about to strangle her wayward child.

“Sure it is. She’s dead. We can have a funeral and bury her. Or wait—I know what—she’s a beheaded ghost!” I picked the doll up, and waved her through the air. “Woooooo, she’s coming to get you in your sleep.”

Jessica sighed. A long-suffering sigh. I decided she was just as tired as I was of playing dolls. She placed her Barbie gently in its suitcase, smoothed the doll’s sequined evening gown and closed the case with a click. “Never mind. Let’s do something else.”

“Great!” I threw my grass-stained Barbie into the mustard/baby poop container, squashed the lid down and latched it shut. “Let’s go do something really fun … like roller skate down the hill. Look at this scab I got the other day from skating!”

Jessica looked at it and turned white. I wasn't a mom or anything, but I was pretty certain she looked so pale because she needed to quit playing stupid things like dolls and go out in the sunshine.


Unlike North Korea’s missile firings, I have a point here. I’m telling you all of this because it proves you don’t have to love dolls to have fond remembrances of Barbie. For your pleasure, I've included below a photo of her at fifty.

So ... happy fiftieth, Barbie! And thanks for the memories.


(I'd love to give credit to the creator of this image, but I'm unable to find a name or copyright info.)

What's playing in my head: Nothing, I'm too busy laughing at the picture above.

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Karlene said...

A woman after my own heart. I had the baby poop yellow case too! And I only played with Barbies when I was forced to.

Love that image of a fat and old Barbie.

Carolyn said...

You sound like so much fun!

Are you going to the Storymaker's conference next week? If so look for me I'd love to meet you!

Slamdunk said...

Funny stuff Cindy. Our almost three year old daughter (only daughter) has to either play tag, football, or baseball with her brothers if she wants them to participate so I have a feeling her dolls will become dusty rather quickly.

Oz Girl said...

OMG, that final image, after an already funny story, is just hysterical! I never played with a Barbie because I wasn't ALLOWED. No kidding... my parents were concerned about a young girl under the age of 10 playing with an anatomically correct doll, so I only had genuine BABY dolls. Isn't that a riot!? Could explain my latent psychological issues, and the fact I've never totally grown up, hmmm?

Rachelle said...

you're silly! My mom had a black case with the original first Barbie. Loved the pic!

Gambling Traveler said...

That's too funny. You must feel a little guilt about her current condition considering the trauma she endured as a child in your baby-poop box.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Hilarious blog as always. ;)And I loved the final picture of Barbie that you posted, too. Way funny.

I only owned one Barbie. I think she's still in my cedar chest. I preferred riding bikes, fishing with my grandpa, and reading. I was silly like that.

Nichole Giles said...

Why does it not surprise me that you never liked Barbie? Well...er...I mean never liked playing with Barbies in the conventional ways. Don't worry, you're not alone in that. No wonder we're friends!

Oz Girl said...

Hi there, just wanted to stop by and say HI! And thanks for all your wonderful comments on my blog. You always make me smile. :-)

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend, and that it's warm weather for you.