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!!