The 60’s and me

1:6 scale Eames storage unit

The 60’s.  My dad worked in the steel mill in Gary, In.  All he wanted to do was fish, talk about fishing and drive through the country. Not BIG country,  just poor ass country neighborhood’s within 30 miles from our home.  My mother was more of the modern decorator and the compulsive spender. She’d borrow from one credit card to make payments on another. I didn’t understand that logic as a child. Every month or so she’d have me help her rearranging the living room and/or the dining room. (why I have back problems this day).  I grew up with the itchy fabric sofa and table lamps so big you’d have to lean forward to see who you were talking to.  We did have a cool pair on George Nelson table lamps.( I’m going to go through the photo albums and find a picture of it).

 Our house was not big by any means. It was what they call a shot-gun house. You come in the front door right into the living room. Keep walking straight you go thru the dining area and into the kitchen. The three bedrooms were off to the right as the one bathroom. One plus feature we had 9 ft ceilings in the basement(my play area in the winter). Off the kitchen we had an enclosed back porch that became my haven.

It was my Barbie doll room. My escape from hell really.  There were plenty of discarded bookcases that found new life. They became my apartment complex, my police station or just a cool pad.  Whatever my imagination could create.  As a child, I could handle a hammer and nail pretty well. I remember watching my dad use a jigsaw and I thought that was the best tool ever.  My dad was into recycling. He  had me straighten out nails on the concrete. Talk about cheap! 

I really had no need for a Barbie townhouse although I did want a Tuesday Taylor penthouse. I still love the fire pit and spiral stairs. Anyways, if the shelves didn’t suffice, I would just use big cardboard boxes and cut out my windows and doors. I guess that was the beginning of my OOAK.

I still have my first Julia, Christie, PJ, Miss America, Walk lively Ken, more Kens and AA Francie. Francie had been shot in the chest (right breast to be exact). I remember it well.  I took the hammer and nailed a hole there.

My GI Joe with the kung fu grip was fatally wounded in a fire trying to save  Tuesday Taylor. He partially lost his flocked hair and like Francie, he too suffered a hole in his chest. His was bigger.. ( I had no idea plastic melted so quickly). I had wrapped tissues around his chest then lit him up. Omg, I remember holding him in my hand while he was ablaze.  Too bad though, I thought he was sexy with that muscular body and those blue briefs. He was buried in the backyard next to my mean ass chihuahua. (I probably had some issues like anger management shit). Omg, That read like I killed the dog. No, she died trying to have puppies. My dad had kicked her three days prior. Go figure.

Oh Okay, back to Barbie. I secretly played with my dolls until I was 15.  The other girls in the neighborhood were getting boyfriends, skipping school  God knows what else. I couldn’t let ’em know I was still playing make-believe. It was difficult enough going to a private catholic school and all your hood rat friends were walking to public school. They hated me and I had no freakin friends. (back to Barbie..) I recall putting them away and saying to myself, ” I’ll always play with my Barbie’s.”  I lied and high school began.

I didn’t get re-acquainted with my dolls until I turned 40. I found my box in my mother’s basement and it took me to a happy place.  Having a thing for older movies, I saw one with the coolest mid-century furniture in it and thought wouldn’t it be cool if Barbie had real looking furniture?  Hmm, That’s how my furniture making all began. 

The 90’s on. When I walk down the doll aisles in the store now, all I can say is, ” Hated it”. Everything looks the same. Too much glitter, lavender, pink and fake buttons. Bring back the hooks and snap closures. Release the twins and send the velcro on its way.  Bring back the tweed indeed type of fashions. The  lined outfits, the real buttons. Where’s the integrity? Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.

So they throw us a bone with the reproductions and silkstones. If they’re going to make a reproduction doll, why not make it better than the original? Give ’em bendable legs and wrist and elbows for crying out loud. The Barbie Basic accessory pack should be a standard. I know, collectors don’t even make up 2% of their market. Catering to the kiddies is where the money is. Wonder why little girls nowadays stop playing with dolls quicker than we did? So, how many Barbie’s, Brittany Spears, mermaids and Olsen dolls did YOU find suffocating in the plastic bags at the thrift store this week…

*Whew, this was supposed to be about my furniture. Somehow I got sidetracked.


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