New Pathways

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The Barbie for Christmas

I eagerly unwrapped one of my presents from my husband for Christmas.  It was a boxed, vintage Barbie doll that had long blonde hair and was styled from the 1960s.  The attached note read, “Childhood dreams can come true”.  My eyes welled up with tears as I remembered the story.

I was giddy with excitement when my mother told me we could go to the toy store the next day and pick out a Barbie doll.  This was back in the day when you were lucky to get ONE Barbie- not like today when a child might have a box of many styles of the popular doll. I went to sleep dreaming of the Barbie that would soon be living an imaginary life in my head and in my dollhouse.

I was excited for another reason, too.  A new Barbie had just been introduced to replace the older style of Barbie that had dark “bubble hair” that was close to her head like a tight perm of brown curls.  The new Barbie had long blonde straight hair with a flip at the ends. Every little girl in my second grade class talked about the new blonde doll.  We were all eager to add our imagination to the glamorous new edition and create a make believe life for her that would be as chic as she was.  And so I eagerly skipped into the toy store the next morning, barely able to contain my excitement as I reached on my seven year old tiptoes, scanning high shelves for the coveted toy.

I nearly gasped with delight when I reached the section that contained shelf after shelf of the blonde, glamorous doll I had dreamed of, and then – my stomach sank.  In the sea of blonde a lone bubble haired Barbie stood dejectedly on the shelf.  Halfway pushed back, as though discarded and returned, she faced sideways in her misery (or, at least that’s how it appeared to my sensitive, childish heart).  Dejectedly, I reached for her and pulled her from the yellow sea that surrounded her. My mother was surprised as I handed my dreamed of purchase to the cashier.  “Are you sure that is the one you want?” she asked in a puzzled voice.  “I’m sure,” I said as I whispered under my breath, “If I don’t take her home, no one will.  She’s all alone.”  And so my Barbie came to live in my room of imagination.  She may not have had the glamorous hair, but I made sure that she lived a wonderful life – full of adventures.

I hadn’t thought about that Barbie in a long time.  As a child whose family moved often, I’m sure she was long ago packed up and donated as we left yet another home.  I’m sure I shared the story with my husband when our daughter was young enough to play with the many Barbies of multi hued hair that filled her toy chest.  My breath caught as I saw the long, smooth blonde hair that shone through the cellophane and read the attached note again.

Childhood dreams can come true…  

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