Small Pleasures

The Red Blaze and bubble hair Barbie, brunette 😀

Once upon a time, (and a loooong time ago) in a far away state, a little girl  wished for  a friend named Barbie. Barbie was a relatively new kid on the block and all of the little girl’s friends liked Barbie.  As a matter of fact, they all had Barbie living at their house.  The little Barbieless girl, me, however, was late inviting Barbie to her place.  Not sure how I finally talked my mother into getting me the doll…maybe for my birthday.  I just don’t remember.  But I do  know I was about 12 when I got her.  The Barbie doll. 

The little girls on my block had all decided they had outgrown their baby dolls and had forsaken them for the well-endowed Barbie (not knowing the correct term for her…uhhh, endowments, we named them “muffins”).  Heck, they even had Ken and Barbie’s best friend, Midge, and Barbie’s little sister, Skipper.  I finally caught up to the rest of the bunch with a beautiful black bubble hair doll, the newest edition of Barbie.  I loved that doll.  She came in a red stretchy swimsuit and stood on her toes.  I always thought that was weird.  No-shoes-Barbie looks like she was tiptoeing eternally! 

Barbie came in a long skinny box that contained a little catalog of all the outfits you could buy, if you were loaded. I was not. I still have the little catalog. And in that little catalog was my dream outfit. The Red Blaze. Anyone out there remember The Red Blaze? It was sort of the equivalent of all the boys’ Red Ryder BeeBee gun. You looked at the picture. You dreamed of picking it up and putting on your Barbie. But sadly, no Red Blaze ever decorated my Barbie.

Pages 5 & 6 from the 1962 Barbie and Ken Outfit Catalog-a little worn but still in one piece!

Because I had no money, honey, Barbie wore her red swimsuit constantly, until….all of us girls decided to go into the Barbie clothing business.  We sat for hours in the middle of our living rooms cutting out dresses…mostly straight shifts from our mothers’ material scraps.  We used rick-rack scraps for belts and usually hand-stitched the seams in a wonky fashion.  And the hats. THE HATS!!  We all became millinery designers of the Coke-top sort.  Yep, the pillbox was IN and the best thing we could find that was Barbie’s size was ye olde Coke top.  Remember?  The metal caps that were zigzagged on the edges.  All you had to do was glue a roundish piece of material to the top of the top then squish the edges in on the underside and VOILA!!! A chapeau! 

There were matching purses and diaper bags…yes, Barbie became a mother in our world, although you can believe me when I say, we had NO idea how Barbie reached that condition!!  None whatsoever.  Ken just stood in his little corner and stared at us all….4 little girls and at least 4 Barbies.  He was outnumbered.  What can I say?

The Red Blaze hovered in the past. Until today.  While haunting a favorite antique place…which is really beginning to tick me off.  Antiques?! Really?!  So what does that make me?! Nevermind…the Used Stuff Lady and I were yakking away. My eyes wandered and there, hanging behind her in a special place was…THE RED BLAZE!!!!  I had hit the Barbie Bonanza/Holy Grail/Mother Lode!  The red velvet swing coat lined in white satin, finished with a red bow and accessorized with a red velvet pill box hat, trimmed with a red bow AND a red velvet clutch purse…are you ready?  That opens.  And lined in satin.  White, to be exact.  (at this point, I have now entered Doll Heaven) I couldn’t believe it.  I asked her if that was what I thought it was.  She knowingly smiled ever so smugly and said yes, it’s… THE RED BLAZE.  I asked if I could hold it.  Graciously, she handed it to me.  I was a goner.  I tried to think coherently…if I offered her my first-born, would that be enough?  Ahh, but she reeled me in and said she would sell it to me for 10% off.  I thought.  I plotted.  I calculated.

I bought it.  One day my granddaughters will thank me.  (And probably fight over it!!)  The Doll Gods were with me today.  I may be 50 years late, but by golly, The Red Blaze is mine, all mine!!!  😀

Oh, and just so you know, Nancy, Peggy and Connie…I was not true to Barbie.  I snuck around and played with my baby dolls and tended to them like a good mommy should.  And made Barbie watch!  I was/am sooo bad.

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40 Responses to Small Pleasures

  1. I am so glad you found your coveted outfit!! What a superb find! This is really quite hilarious because I just blogged–like 10 minues ago–about the Barbie house we made the girls for Christmas! Too crazy!!

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    • The Queen says:

      No way?!!! The thing is…I didn’t go looking for Barbie stuff. If I had, I wouldn’t found a durn thing, I promise. That’s how these things go!! Off to check out your Barbie house….

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  2. prue batten says:

    I totally understand! I never had Barbie either, ever!
    My cousin did (Ken as well) and my uncle made her this stunning open-out wardrobe. She had all the clothes (she was very spoiled, he was a dentist!) but I dressed Barbie more than she did.
    My favourite outfit was a subtle dark gold lurex (sounds awful but wasn’t) swing coat, over a lighter gold lurex A-line dress. The coat had a scarf built in as the collar and dark fur-trim on the ends. And the hat was a bit bigger than a pillbox with fur trim as well. There were black patent elegant heels and a little black patent clutch. When honey blonde Barbie was dressed (with hair tucked under hat and pearl studs in ears) she was so like all those wonderful 60’s movies that I grew up with and adored.
    So yes, I understand and can say that you have just made one seriously real investment there! It will only appreciate in value.

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  3. Suzann Coffey says:

    I had Barbie dolls out the couzooooooo (whatever that is). But I was always out playing with some kind of ball——-baseball, football, basketball!!! I think it was my Mama who really wanted the Barbie’s. I don’t remember a red blaze though!!! I remember a lot of satin like dresses etc. I had a house that she and Ken lived in also!!! LOL

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    • The Queen says:

      Suz…of course you had Barbies out the wazoo!! You were the baby…the only girl.. You lucky thang, you! And, you lived VERY close to the main supplier of all Barbie crack…Coggin Drug. Was that not THE best store in the world. My mother used to take me there every Wed. after we got groceries so she could drink tea with Dorothy Holaman. I snarffed down a frozen chocolate malt and headed for the dolls!

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  4. Marilyn says:

    I saved my money and bought the red velvet ensemble for three or four bucks. Also had the pink satin evening gown and mink white stole. I sewed lots of clothes for my Barbie, which actually was a cheaper knock off doll because Mom thought the real.
    Babies were too expensive.

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    • The Queen says:

      ooooo Marilyn!! You had THE pink dress AND the stole?!!! Totally unattainable. You must’ve saved your allowance for years!! Do you still have them?

      In our eyes, the Barbie clothes were expensive! We could make those. Couldn’t whip up a Barbie tho.

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  5. Dairy Daily says:

    I can’t even express how much I love this! What a sweet story. So cool how you finally got your Red Blaze! 🙂 My sisters and I played Barbies together for hours every day. Our poor Ken was usually off fighting in some war and coming back to the Barbie nurses with safety pins (aka shrapnel) sticking out of his body. What imaginations we had!!!!

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    • The Queen says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, DD. But what kind of sadistic kids were y’all?!! LOL! Poor Ken. I don’t remember Ken doing a whole lot besides standing around looking innocent. Not sure we ever thought of war scenes tho. Just look at what we missed out on!

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  6. phylly3 says:

    I still think about Barbies and have collected some of the Avon ones when I was a representative. My older sister had the Brunette bubble haired one and I finally got a twist and turn blonde with long straight hair. Of course I coveted my friend’s Barbie with the medium length wavy hair. I also sewed my own doll clothes, by hand and later by machine.
    I was thinking about doing a Barbie post one day. So glad you finally got your Barbie. My advice is don’t let the grandkids touch it. They won’t have the same reverence for it that we do and it won’t last.

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    • The Queen says:

      I can assure you…if I hide colored pencils, I can hide one Barbie! LOL! I’ll have to admit tho…ok, it’s bragging…the little girls do leave my old dolls alone. They’ve known from the git go that Meemaw has play dolls and she has “Just look at” dolls. They’ll often ask if they can hold one that is in the glass case and we do that. It’s amazing how tenderly they will hold the doll! I’ll be watching for your Barbie post!

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  7. Art Girly says:

    What a fun read! I had forgotten that you were a late Barbie bloomer! Congrats on the find! It’s magnificent! This brought back such fun memories….had forgotten the coke bottle cap pillbox hats! I’ll have to dig around in our Barbie stuff the next time I’m in B’wood (yes they are still there!) and see what we had (memory doesn’t serve well!) Such an innocent time….I bet 12 year old girls today wouldn’t be caught dead playing with Barbies! You ought to blog about our paper doll families from Sears and Robuck catalogues and magazines! Remember those? :)!

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    • The Queen says:

      “Late Barbie Bloomer”…a new category for me!! LOL!!!!! You’re right about the 12 year olds…but then we were kinda different in our day even?!!

      Already have the title for the paper dolls, AG. Just wish I still had those. We cannot remember what happened to those. Argggh! And my grands love paper dolls too.

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  8. Dee Jellicorse says:

    Great piece, Debbie! I still covet my Carousel Kitchen from the seventies. It sits under our Christmas tree every year as decoration. It was the coolest gift I can remember. Unfortunately, the dishes were lost (they were red) and the chickens for the rotisserie, but I keep looking on Ebay for replacements.

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  9. The Queen says:

    Carousel Kitchen? Must look that up. Although if it was from the 70’s, I was knee deep in diapers! I have used some of my dolls for Christmas decorations too! Send me a pic and I’ll keep my eyes peeled when I go on antiquing expeditions!

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  10. servetus says:

    I made some elegant Barbie clothes with my grandmother and I have them in my “hope chest” still — some of the most treasured things I own. They were harder to sew than the things I made for myself, but they were great teaching tools for thinking about clothing fit. Of course, no human actually has those proportions.

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    • The Queen says:

      You had a hope chest too?!!! I still have mine except it’s past the hope stage and has moved on to “I need somewhere to put these baby clothes. Oh yeah. The cedar chest.” LOL!!

      I’d LOVE to see some of those creations and boy are you right about the difficulty level! Nearly lost my mind trying to get a dress to fit that 5 1/2″ bust!!

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  11. Pingback: Do I Dare? « RAFrenzy

  12. prue batten says:

    Paper dolls? Do you mean those dolls you cut out and they stand up with a cardboard angle at the back and the clothes sit over the shoulders and sides with little tabs? I loved those as a child.
    Bought a book of them the other day designed by a lady in the 1950’s and re-published by our State Museum and Art Gallery.
    The doll is Katherine Hepburn, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut her or her clothes out.
    Sent a couple of the books to friends in the States … the books were different actresses of the 40’s and 50’s!

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  13. The Queen says:

    Oh Prue, that’s a whole other post!! Yeah, the kind you had to cut out with scissors. Now, you just punch them out. I know because I helped granddaughter #1 do just that last night! Fairies too! Soooo pretty!! In fact, I thought about you as I helped her. The fairies would fit right into your world!!!
    We could buy them at Woolworth’s or a drugstore. I had a beautiful set of Little Women paper dolls, baby doll paper dolls and ordered bunches from the Katy Keene comic books. DO I hear an amen out there???!

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  14. servetus says:

    Yeah, I had a hope chest (it is cedar, and was my great grandmother’s, and there’s a great story that goes with it, I should blog about it sometime), except I feel a bit silly calling it that. When I was a teen I was filling it with stuff for marriage, except that I used a lot of that stuff when I put together my first apt after college, and of course I never married. Now it mostly has stuff in it that I don’t want to risk losing (it lives at my parents’) and stuff that I made as a teen for married my life that I always thought was too nice to use (linen pillow cases embroided with French knots and such to put on my marital bed, lol) and a few “past glories.” My Girl Scout sash, for instance. I probably should call it my “past glories” chest.

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    • The Queen says:

      Serv, just call it The Cedar Chest and tell us your story!!!? I still have some of my original Hope Chest items…pillowcases that my Grandma and embroidered together, an egg separator, embroidered sheets, cup/dish towels for each day of the week. OK, so some are bit holey, worn and probably should be trashed. Can’t do it.

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      • servetus says:

        Egg separator, lol. I always wonder what to do with wornout linens / towels that you embroidered yourself. Seems a shame to recycle somehow. I had some of them made into a quilt once as a present for my elder niece’s baptism (I’m too busy to quilt myself anymore). I’ll put it on the list. Only five more years and the same niece will get the chest for her confirmation. How time flies!

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    • kathryngaul says:

      Hi Servetus. I was sooo against having anything called a hope chest – thought it such a sexist thing even in the 1960s! I called mine “My Flat Box” and gathered things for my foray into living in a flat/apartment instead! My daughter, Melanie (37), also called hers “My Flat Box”……..although she thought she would probably like to marry one day (she did…at 30). Me, nah…I went through my teens and very early 20s saying to myself “I really can’t see what the appeal of marriage is”! Of course, I was never brave enough to say it out loud as people already thought I was a weirdo because I was different from all my family. I succumbed to pressure at age 23 and married…….the worst decision I ever made! However, I have my children so that’s my consolation! I left my control freak of a husband in 1982 and divorced the next year – one must wait one year to apply for a divorce in Australia. I am now 65 and have been single for almost 30 years. I then dated a lot of men but decided to give up on men several years ago (I consider myself a “born-again virgin”)! Unfortunately, most single or available men my age seem to still be too chauvinistic for my tastes. Way OTT I know!

      Barbies weren’t around when I was little (we lived way out in the bush then) but I hummed and haahed about buying one for Melanie. She was like me in that she loved her dollies but she also loved her Lego and playing coppers and robbers, etc., with the boys! I eventually decided she had her head screwed on properly and bought her a Barbie when she was about 7. Barbie was occasionally played with but mainly sat on a shelf!

      Melanie now has a daughter aged 3 and 1/2 – Kaitlyn has a Barbie but actually prefers her old babydoll which she calls “Katie” and her fairy friends, and her Lego and her building blocks and playing any game her brother (aged 6) chooses – I’ve obviously passed down the gene for girls who don’t like being excluded from playing with so-called boys’ toys or boys’ games!!

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      • servetus says:

        Where I grew up every girl got one for confirmation. Her father or another relative made it, or she inherited one from a relative who had just died or wanted to pass one on, or I guess maybe sometimes people bought a new one, though they’re expensive. My best friend in my confirmation class got one her father made and I was a bit jealous at the time, although now I love the story that goes with mine and wouldn’t give it up for the world (or except to give it to my niece for her confirmation. Or maybe my mom will pass hers on, not sure. I have two nieces.) I always liked handicrafts and stuff, and I always assumed I would get married, and that all that stuff would be useful. Now I just think it’s funny to think of myself dreaming of that stuff as a teenager. I should have been putting together a Latin and a German dictionary and stuff that is useful for travel and probably some luggage. Funny how one’s life turns out.

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      • The Queen says:

        LOL! I had no choice but to learn to play with the boys’ toys too. I was the only granddaughter out of 10 grandchildren so when I hit Grandma’s, dolls were pretty much out and football, baseball, throwing rocks at each other and hunting snakes were in!! I was also the oldest so I got to boss all of the boys around too!!!

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  15. kathryngaul says:

    typo alert…..that should have been “cops and robbers”!

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  16. The Queen says:

    Check out the plastic!! I still use this thing. Best $.75 I ever spent!!

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    • servetus says:

      LOL, I always just cracked the egg in half and then poured back and forth until I had the white in a cup. Is that wrong? (cringes). It is cute, though!

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      • The Queen says:

        LOL…not wrong just quick. I often use the easy method. One less thing to have to wash up. It is cute isn’t it? But then so were we, with emphasis on the “were”!!! 😉

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        • servetus says:

          I was worried you were going to tell me that the outside of the egg is bacteriologically questionable and so swirling the white over creates some kind of contamination 🙂

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      • The Queen says:

        Well depending on where the egg came from…the grocery store or someone’s chicken coop down the road, that would be a possibility. Which is why I wash my eggs before I use them. Sometimes the grands wash them and sometimes they forget. Regardless, I wash them. Always. I kinda freaky about things like that. I scrub down all my veggies and fruits to. From the grocery store. Mine too from my garden but not as thoroughly. 🙂

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  17. judiang says:

    Aha! Finally found your blog/ 🙂 I got my first Barbie doll in 1967. My mother complained she had to spend a small fortune in doll clothes every Christmas. My fave doll was Skipper. Eventually I started crafting my own fashions out of tissue paper and tape. This post really takes me back. Thanks!

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  18. The Queen says:

    Glad you found it, judiang!! I adored Skipper. My next-door neighbors had her and I would’ve rather had her than ever getting Ken. Which I didn’t. Not sure we ever tried the Tissue Paper Look tho!! And you’re welcome!!

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  19. Pingback: OT: My hope chest « Me + Richard Armitage

  20. Pingback: Katy Keene, the queen of paper dolls « Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Country Life

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