#471 The Box of Barbie Memories

“Why don’t you take home that box of dolls you have?” Mum had asked me. “You said when she was younger that you wanted to wait a bit more, but now she might enjoy it.”

I could see where she was going. When she had asked me about a year ago if I wanted to take home with me an old box of Barbies I had packed away at my parents house when I was a pre-teen, I had said that I’d rather wait until baby girl was older, and ‘into’ dolls more. Also, I didn’t want to be adding another box of stuff to our household, when we already had so much ‘stuff.’

But I realised today, that baby girl was not only older, but she was definitely into dolls: she had two of her own Barbies, given to her as pressies over the last 6 months, and she loved the whole figurine, dress-up, pretend-play games she did with them. It was actually, perfect timing.

When at my parents place, they started looking for them in a wardrobe, and it almost looked like they wouldn’t be found for a little while. When they almost gave up, Dad stumbled across the box.

Just looking at the box, brought back memories: both the box, and the packing of it. With the latter, I actually had the faintest memory of packing it – in that room where it was found, my old ‘first’ room (before my sister moved out and then I moved into her room because it was front-facing and bigger), I remembered placing the barbies neatly against one another and on top of each other, before gently packing it all away… for good.

For another day, another time. I didn’t know then what I would be doing with it in 20 years time. That I would be giving it a new lease on life.

Secondly, the box.

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The Kraft box. My Dad worked there for a good couple of decades, and each year for their annual Christmas party, each employee was invited to the party for a lunch, bringing home a festive box full of Krafty goodies – cheeses, spreads, biscuits, and any other new product that wasn’t even on the shelves yet. I was always so excited when Dad came home from these Christmas parties – I’d come home from school, looking around the kitchen and dining room table, hoping to see a Christmas-y coloured box, with tinsel bursting from the sides. And Dad knew I’d get so excited about it, smiling just as much as me when I finally saw the box. Going through the contents of the box, was a happy, pre-Christmas tradition for me.

Even after he stopped working there, he was still invited, along with other long-standing employees of the company, to a former employees Christmas Party… that sadly, soon stopped fairly soon after, after new management came along. I remember the sadness and disappointment I felt in discovering the goodie box, was good, no more. So this box that I was staring at today, was quite possibly, one of, if not the, last boxes he ever received.

And I’d put my Barbies into it. Memories upon memories.

The only way I got baby girl into the car today was the promise of playing with Barbie dolls at home. So once there, I complied.

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Finding all my dolls, some just that, plain dolls, ‘wannabe Barbies’ and others the very real deal, was seriously like stepping into a time capsule that I myself had buried 2 decades ago. I found dolls I had forgotten about, costumes and shoes I didn’t know I had, and also the barbies that I faintly remembered – and then of course Ken. Who could forget when one got a Ken doll? That was a special thing back in the day.

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(Some funky outfits they had)

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(Check out the blonde ‘fro – yeah yeah!)

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(I won this Ariel doll in a kids mag comp, and I was STOKED… but one of her legs broke as soon as we lifted her out, maybe she should have stayed in mermaid form…)

I told baby girl that she must take extra care with these dolls, and pack them away gently as they were found. I think she knows what to do, but still, I have to make sure these Barbies are under supervision by me or Hubbie when she is playing with them. Even he agrees, saying “they’re old enough to go on club reg.”

Too right.

But even though I’m happy for baby girl to play with my cherished old Barbies, there is one thing I think I’m going to have to change – the box. Old and flimsy as it is, and with the addition of a piece of paper that was on the bottom of the box, where my Mum scrawled Dad’s last day of work at Kraft… I don’t know, but I think I need to put away this box, this special box of so much history and memories, and use it for my own good, and get a new box for baby girl to put all her old/new barbies in.

I know it’s just a box, but it’s what it represents that is priceless.

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