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Nostalgia

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02/04/2010

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Daydreaming of a Dream House

When I was a kid, my across-the-street friend had a Barbie Dream House. It was amazing. It had three floors and a working elevator…and you know the best part? For a good portion of its life it lived at my house. I don't remember why or how it got there, but it made me so happy. My friend would come over and we would play with our Barbies in that house for hours and hours. I remember my "main" Barbie was blond (duh) but with short curly hair. I had others, but she was my go-to girl. Between us, we only had one Ken doll. He was mine and he was "Boogie Ken." His upper torso and legs were attached with some kind of rubber band that allowed his body to wiggle and groove. He also had a hole in his plastic hand where a ring with a big red jewel fit into one of his fingers. His outfit was a navy velour jumpsuit with a maroon collar.

Ken played many roles—mailman, husband, boyfriend, plumber, cheater. And even though he was the same doll each time, my Barbie greeted him according to his chosen role for the day. They made out. A lot. Especially when he was the mailman, for some reason. The whole rubber band situation must have made him a fantastic lover. Barbie thought so anyway.

My Barbie had a dog named Beauty which was some kind of afghan beast. It came with a little yellow dog bowl. Sometimes, we'd boot Beauty from the house and bring in Scooter, my hamster. I'd put nuts and seeds in Beauty's tiny bowl and Scooter would go to town. Barbie also occasionally had a baby. But mostly she smooched Ken and changed her outfits. She was generally shoeless as keeping them on was difficult—Barbie has one hell of an arch.

That Barbie Dream House was huge in my life. I don't remember any adults being around when I played with it—just me, my neighbor and our imagination about what life was going to be like for us as grownups. Recently, at a Toys"R"Us visit, I saw the Barbie Dream House. It looked a little different— updated, slicker—but I was flooded with nostalgia. It took everything in me not to buy it. But like most things, when you try to go back, you end up disappointed. It’s not what you thought, not quite as great as you remember. So, I'm just hoping that one day my kid will want a Barbie Dream House, and I can watch her act out what she thinks life will be like when she's a grownup. Then, I can create a new memory through the eyes of my daughter. And who knows? Maybe she'll invite me to play. A mom can dream, right? It's the Barbie "Dream House" after all...

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