Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pink Plastic Real Estate

It was bright pink, three levels, and sported a beautiful, working scalloped elevator on one side. I am, of course, describing the awesome Barbie townhouse. It was glorious!

I never owned the townhouse, it belonged to my best friend, Gay, who was exactly my age and moved into the house next door when we were both in grade school. Unlike the Donnelly "clan," Gay was one of only two children, her sister being several years older and attending high school. Her family appeared so MODERN to me! While my mom stayed home and cooked, cleaned, and took care of five children, Gay's mother worked as a secretary at their church, and often called home with instructions for starting dinner. Her Dad, a kind man with a great sense of humor and charm, worked at one of the local steel mills.

I loved being at Gay's house. It was always so much quieter there than at my own, less children running around and all! It also served as the perfect place to escape when Dad was having one of his "Irish Temper Days." I think her parents appreciated the fact that their youngest daughter had a playmate, and they were always overly generous and welcoming to me. I spent many sleepovers and dinners at their home, we had a fantastic time together!

She had a large basement, so we had a lot of room to put on records and make up dance routines, one of our favorite activities. Gay did a fantastic rendition of Cher, singing "Gypies, Tramps and Theives" with perfectly inserted hair flips and upper lip licking. She was good! I preferred to make up and perform choreography to Broadway musical numbers from West Side Story and The King and I (guess which one of us was cooler?). Each day, as soon as I arrived at her house, we would begin with a discussion regarding the day's itinerary. After the record playing and dance numbers had been completed, I almost always wanted to play "baby dolls," (with Tubsy!). I loved pushing them around in strollers and giving them their bottles. Gay preferred more active games, like roller skating or bike riding. We compromised, alternating one with the other.

On days when I insisted on the "doll thing," Gay preferred that instead of Tubsy, we opted for playing Barbies. Gay LOVED Barbie. For Christmas each year, she was always receiving the latest of Barbie's accessories. She owned the pink convertible, the plane (This was the early 70's, so Barbie was not the pilot, of course, but served as a stewardess!), and the most coveted of all Barbie toys -- The Townhouse!!

Gay would be Barbie (duh!) and I would bring over my Francie (Barbie's "Mod" Cousin!) with the brunette, flippy, Marlo-Thomas-in-"That-Girl" hair! We played with that townhouse for HOURS!! By "play with it," I mean we placed Barbie and Francie in that elevator and pulled the string attached to the pulley that made said elevator go up and down. That's what we did, about five THOUSAND times. Poor Babs and Cuz, had they been real, they most certainly would have hurled their entire stomach contents several times over from the constant ascending and descending on that silly elevator! We'd get them to the top and exclaim, "Oops! Forgot my glass of water downstairs!" Then both, of course, would need to get back in the pink lift to go down and retrieve it. Good times!

Barbie has several more accessories these days; pet salons, swimming pools, dream homes and horse barns, to name a few. But I don't think any of them can hold a candle to my best friend Gay's magnificent townhouse. Did I mention it had an elevator?

Thanks for Reading!!

17 comments:

exskindiver said...

these memories, no matter how simple-- just inspire.
you know what I mean?

KathyB said...

Oh my gosh, and I totally remember that every time I'd go over there, either to retrieve you for mom or something, you guys would BEG me to play Barbies with you. I was NOT into it, but you both were sooooo insistent I would usually give in for 10 or 15 minutes or so. I was too afraid Susan would come down and see me! :D I'm so glad you guys had each other.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I'm trying to remember what I had, but struggling. I definitely had the pink car.

LucyCooper said...

I remember that elevator! So posh.
All my Barbie stuff was home-made (my dad was a student, mom worked him through school) so it always blew me away to go to cousins/friends houses with actual factory-made Barbie vans or living facilities. Didn't she have a hot tub at one point?

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I am now green with envy!!. I never ever got a Barbie dream house of any kind. I wanted one so badly.

My house was made from shoe boxes. How pathetic is that? And we weren't poor but my parent thought those extra's were "foolish"
I glued the shoeboxes together on their sides if that makes sense to you. I drew all the windows and colored the draperies. I even colored in area rugs with my colored pencils. Oh, I made it all up and I even made all the furniture. Now as an adult I think i was pretty clever but it always made me so envious of my cousins who had the Barbie house, car etc.
Hey but I now have a flair for decorating...tee hee

Kellyansapansa said...

What a fabulous post. I think Barbie played an important role in many a young girl's life - she certainly did in mine. I remember the excitement of getting Peaches & Cream Barbie one birthday, after coveting her for an entire year. Oh, the bliss!

Getting My Words Out said...

Oh, thank you for this trip down memory lane!! I didn't have the townhouse, or the RV-both of which my best friend had-but boy did I have everything else....swimming pool, pink car, kitchen, living room, bedroom, ...even the SAIL BOAT!! My mom told me the townhouse was too big-but it sure does seem like all that other stuff took up as much room as the condo would have! Those were the days! :D

Helen said...

I still want that town house. I'm 28. Haha.

Bethany said...

Ah, the days of friends with cool toys... enjoyed your story & my 1st visit. You have some great links too, fresh blog-browsing - mmm, mmm good. Thx for commenting earlier!

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

This story reminded me so much of one of my dear childhood friends and how much fun I had playing at her house.
I never had a real Barbie house..but some of the best memories I have as a child are of playing with my sister making Barbie "houses" out of little nooks around the house and Barbie furniture out of random things...

Loved this post. Your blog looks really cool--I can't wait to read more!

blueviolet said...

That cracks me up how you two constantly made new excuses to have to use the elevator in the townhouse!!!!

I had a friend that had all those cool toys too and I couldn't wait to go over there and play every day.

DLE said...

What an awesome memory this story brings back! I wanted the Barbie Town house so badly. However, I was starting to really not believe the whole Santa idea and I was old enough to know that My Father(who worked at a steel plant) was on strike, which meant no money for stuff like that. But, that Christmas when I walked out into the living room there it was! I would argue with anyone that said Santa was not real! It was magical. Now my own daughter has the Dream house and it's cool with it's spiral staircase and lights and toilet that makes a flushing noise. But, nothing beats the elavator with the pull string or the magic of that morning. Thanks for the memory!

JennyMac said...

Barbie was totally banned in our house and my Grandmother got us an awesome Barbie mobile / van/ RV. My Mom didnt like the image of Barbie. So I had a giantly fat Rub a Dub Dolly. YIKES. LOL.

Kristin said...

I had the Dream House and I always wanted to the Townhouse because of the elevator. The grass is always greener...even at 10. Ah ha ha

JenJen said...

ooooo I had a Barbie Dream house and the cool VW van.

Jen said...

I had the townhouse when I was a kid. I never had the plane but I did have the beach bus and the pool. We played for hours and hours each day. It was the best even if the townhouse was really just cheap plastic and the elevator broke after the first week. By the time were stopped playing Barbies it was held together by duct tape and love. What a great post that brought back so many memories.

Holly said...

So sue me...I love Barbie..although if they do anything else to her face she is going to look like a Real Housewife of Orange County.

Oh how I coveted the Townhouse with the elevator. I finally got one at a garage sale..no furniture...oh well.

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