My First Great Love
Christmas, 1964. My family was living in Miami and still struggling to assimilate to life in the states. My two oldest sisters had moved to California to get married and it was the first Christmas my nuclear family would be separated.
My parents didn’t have much to provide us with Christmas presents and we knew it. We could count on a new board game and maybe some books or a new baby doll. We still celebrated our Nochebuena with the roasted pig. But I remember, even as an 8 year old, that I should not have too many expectations for gifts.
The Package arrived on Christmas Eve.
My two married sisters who were living in California had sent us a giant box full of treasures. They were both working and had no children and so they spent their money on gifts for US.
One of my gifts was Skipper, Barbie’s Little Sister and I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Long mahogany hair and Japan flats. (They said Japan on the bottom and so they are still called that by collectors, but that’s not important right now.)
Back then, you would get ONE doll and she would have a multitude of beautiful outfits and accessories. And Skipper had the most wonderful things! A bowl of tiny yarn and a mini princess telephone. Real tin baking pans and perfectly carved wooden croquet mallets. She even had her own Barbie.
It was love at first sight.
I obviously kept her all these years, along with her accessories. I had her carefully stashed in a box with tissue. And her little outfits I kept in ziplock bags. And no, I never let my own daughters play with her. She was just too precious to me and I never thought they would understand or enjoy her like I did. And so she lived in the box and occasionally I would bring her out and just look at her and smile.
Christmas, 2004. Forty years after I first received Skipper as a Christmas present, my husband surprised me by having her beautifully framed in a large shadow box with all of her outfits. It was a wonderfully thoughtful gift. Almost as good as getting her the first time.
She sits now at the top of the stairs and I get to enjoy her every single day. It’s a wonderful reminder of my happy childhood and I confess that there are times I still think it would be fun to dress her up for a day of baking, or skating or ballet class. Or tuck her into her pj’s after a hard day of playing pretend.
I still love her.
For me, Skipper was The Best Christmas Present Ever. Twice.