After many years of hunting in vain for dolls at various venues where second-hand goods are sold, it seems that things have picked up all at once in a rather spooky way. As I mentioned in previous posts, I’ve recently found a car boot sale where I’ve managed to make several very interesting finds and now I’ve picked up four new dolls from a Charity shop. This never happens in my area – but now it has, and I am so pleased.
So, I was on my way into work and noticed I was running early, for a change. As I was walking past a charity shop (Americans: thrift store/ Goodwill) and I thought I’d duck in for a browse. Just as I was leaving, I noticed about twenty to thirty Barbies on a shelf for sale at £3 each. Now, if I’d been a Mackie collector, I would have completely cleaned up as somebody was fond of this sculpt, but I didn’t want to be a Doll Pig, just snatching everything up for the sake of it. So I ended up coming away with four. My caution served me poorly, as there were definitely a couple more I should have got, and one of them is kind of haunting me now (don’t ask). From the ones I chose, three were late 1990s girls with that classic Barbie sculpt that I have a bit of a weakness for. Two had original outfits, including this one, Birthday Surprise Barbie from 1996.
Isn’t she amazing? I absolutely love her little neon dress, with its pattern of parcels and musical notes. And the strangest thing about this doll is how absolutely fresh and vivid she looks – like she’s just stepped out of a timewarp. Most of the dolls that were on sale were like this.
My first thought was, somebody must have given up collecting, or left their collection to a family member who didn’t want them. Then I noticed that some of the dolls had been re-dressed, and it seemed to me that they were not re-dressed in the way an adult would have done it, either – don’t get me wrong, some thought had gone into picking the right silky bra to go with the fantasy tulle evening skirt. It looked nice, but not “grown-up”.
So, then I thought, maybe it was a little girl who didn’t like dolls very much? Perhaps this is why they were so unspoiled? But then again, she went to the effort of re-dressing some of them, and very few of them were wearing shoes. They had been played with, just very, very gently. Some of them had had their hair done, but none of them were tangled or matted. My God, I can’t keep my dolls’ hair that nice. This must have been the gentlest little girl in the world, and seriously, she must have had the cleanest hands ever seen on a child.
When I took them to the till, the cashier told me that a nearby branch of the shop had had 270 of these beauties donated, and they had been distributed to shops for miles around to sell. Unfortunately, this is the only branch within travelling distance of me (I know, I checked). That was all she could tell me. I am often intrigued by the back stories my dolls must have, but this one is a peach. I’d love to know if the detective work I’ve done is right, and I’d love to know how they ended up in the shop, and if anybody is going to miss them, one day. And I must say, this has all made me very fond of the dolls in question – I am secretly extremely sentimental, and the way that these dolls have been cared for is touching.
PS. I nearly didn’t feature this doll because of my issues about posting things at the wrong time of year. Its nowhere near my birthday, after all. But in the end, she is so lovely that I couldn’t wait, and I figure it must be somebody’s birthday somewhere. So – happy birthday, someone!