|The Friends of Barbie R: A Six-Step Program to End Doll Denial|
The other evening I was at a Weis grocery store with my sister. It was pretty late, but I had a deep and urgent hankering for a chocolate truffle brownie cake. Despite the hands on the clock, my feet and my tummy demanded that the craving be met. So, off we went to the market.
While on line, I noticed how the store was nearly vacant, and our cashier was talking freely to a friend, who was a fellow store worker on a break. They were both ponytailed young girls, and they were engaging in a running commentary about everything.
In addition to my chocolate cake purchase, I had also grabbed a box of Toy Story 3 Limited-Edition Cereal for my children. (Yes, limited-edition status attributed to breakfast goodies! I guess they’re MIB: munchies in box.) When the girl on break saw my Toy Story purchase, she immediately launched into how excited she was to see this new flick. “I can’t wait to see ‘Ken’ meeting ‘Barbie’ for the first time,” she asserted. “That looks so funny in the trailer.”
When I mentioned the movie’s rather sad plotline (Andy going off to college and having to decide whether to throw away or stow away his toys), she adamantly declared, “I’m going to college in September, and I’m not getting rid of any of my toys. I have all of my Barbies, and I still love them. Sometimes I even play with them.”
I immediately warmed up to the chatterbox, and seeing a likeminded soul, I said, “So you’re a doll collector?”
Her eyes grew wide, her complexion paled—it was like the vampire, Edward, from Twilight had just loomed behind me. “No, I’m not a doll collector,” she sputtered. “Not at all.” And then she hurriedly went back to her lane to wait on a batch of invisible customers.
When I went home with my purchases, I began to wonder what scared that girl off. All I could think was the term “doll collector” conjured up some sort of un-cool social misfit. In Toy Story 2, the villain of the piece is a toy collector who buys and trades classic toys so that they can spend the remainder of their lives inside boxes and behind glass cases. He is a heartless, joyless mercenary.
As doll collectors, we know that’s not true. We’re not soulless hoarders who just want to acquire items for monetary or selfish gain. We love our dolls.
I wish I could have engaged the market worker in a longer conversation. Her face lit up when she was talking about her Barbies, which she still enjoyed handling and holding, even as she prepared to begin her adult life.
If only I could have told her that being a “doll collector” is not some strange, over-the-top behavior. It’s nothing to be ashamed about and to furtively admit. Rather, it is a natural extension of one’s better, earlier self. It’s a way to keep alive the inner child who can see a world of endless possibilities in a piece of painted plastic.
At times like this, I’d love to form a self-help group for embarrassed doll collectors. A simple six-step program to admit to one’s self and to the world that you are a doll devotee and you’re proud to announce it. We would be the Friends of Barbie R. (For those of us in the know, Barbie Millicent Roberts is the Mattel superstar’s full name.)
I’ll get the ball rolling: “My name is Stephanie Finnegan and I am an adult doll collector. I admit that I have spent more time, money and worry over dressing my doll than I have toward myself. I admit that I have bought whole pieces of furniture to store my dolls, and when that became crowded, I bought a matching display case and then another. I admit that I have worked out a budget to buy my dolls and have placed it with the necessities of life: between electricity and cable. I admit that when my children have to go to Toys ‘R’ Us or Target for a friend’s birthday gift, I always find an excuse to get lost in the fashion doll aisle. I admit that I’ve bought dolls for children and felt a sinking sense of sorrow when I’ve had to hand them over. I admit that I am an adult doll collector, and I will continue to be one until I either lose my mind or my credit card, and most likely in that order.”
Perhaps one day, the little Weis checkout girl will admit to being a doll collector. Until then, she can silently and secretly play with her dolls, but a world of empathy is there for the taking . . . if she takes that first step.
A late-night conversation about Toy Story 3 (top) opened the door to wondering when and how do we admit to being a doll collector?
Barbie is being released in a special Toy Story exclusive tie-in: Barbie Loves Jessie.
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The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2009 no award presented
2010 Helen Kish
2011 no award presented
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 – 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.