Thursday, March 23, 2017

Golda's Story (redressed Golden Dream Barbie)

Have you ever had to 'reinvent yourself'? For humans, 'reinventing yourself' means deciding to change something about yourself to change how other humans see you. For dolls, it's sort of the reverse. Our owners decide who we're going to be in whatever game they're playing, and for a while at least we become whatever they imagine. You could say that being a doll is all about 'reinventing yourself'.

There are exceptions of course. Collector dolls, because they're made for display and not play, usually don't need to be as adaptable as playline dolls. But even playline dolls can have more set roles, depending on what kind of play they were designed for. I'm a playline doll, and like a lot of playline dolls I was made to take advantage of popular trends. In my case, I was made so children could get a taste of a lifestyle that was popular back when I was new.

I left the factory in the early 1980s. Dallas was one of the highest rated shows on television and being gorgeous, rich and successful was 'in'. I guess some things haven't changed that much since then.

With my 'billion dollar look', to quote the words that were printed on my box, I was made to live a glamorous life. Even my accessories were described on my box as 'glamorous'. And for a while my life played out exactly the way my designers had pictured it. My first owner imagined me driving around town in a fancy car, shopping at the most fashionable places, and attending grand gala parties in the evenings.

What I didn't know then was that it couldn't last forever. My first owner had to grow up sometime. And even though I was at the height of fashion when I was first made, I ended up hopelessly outdated as time passed and trends changed. Not only that, but my long-term future was basically sabotaged from the start thanks to one design decision. I was made with Mattel's trademarked 'Quick Curl' hair. Tiny wires were rooted into my head along with my regular hair to help the hair hold a curl when it was styled. The problem is that the wire doesn't hold up well over time, and 'Quick Curl' hair usually becomes very matted and difficult to work with as it ages.

I was certainly a mess when Treesa found me at the thrift store. To be honest, I have no idea why Treesa bought me in the first place. Maybe she didn't realize I had 'Quick Curl' hair. Maybe she wanted me because I was a 1980s doll still dressed in part of my original outfit. Treesa collects other 1980s toys. Maybe Treesa just felt sorry for me. Or maybe she saw past what I looked like and saw something worthwhile in me.

Whatever made Treesa decide to bring me home, she quickly got to work trying to make me look presentable. But she realized early on that my hair was basically a lost cause. The tangled mess of wires couldn't really be combed out. They could sort of be molded into a general shape, but that was about all. And a reroot wasn't an option, because Treesa has no rerooting experience. Someone else might've decided to throw me away. But Treesa's mind works a little differently than any other human I've met. Instead of trying to turn me back into what I looked like before Treesa helped me 'reinvent myself' by tying a colorful scarf around my hair and dressing me in a Disney Hunchback Of Notre Dame Esmeralda fashion.

Treesa named me Golda, a play off my factory name 'Golden Dream' and a reference to the musical Fiddler On The Roof. My new gypsy/peasant look was so different from the over-the-top glamour of the 1980s that it took some getting used to. But at least I wasn't alone. This past Halloween, Treesa did a photo shoot where I met Tara for the first time.


Tara started out as a western themed Barbie friend, but Treesa had bought her second-hand and dressed her in an Esmeralda fashion the way she'd redressed me. It was nice meeting another doll who was also adjusting to having a completely different look, and who seemed to have a lot of the same feelings I did about 'reinventing' herself. Tara seemed happy to meet me too, and we became very good friends. I think Tara might've been my first real friend. My first owner didn't have many other dolls and living with her was like living in my own personal, but imaginary, 'Beverly Hills' bubble.

Sometimes I still miss the glitz and glamour of my old life. But having friends like Tara helps to make up for that. Besides, I know there's a lot more to who I am than what I wear. Just because I don't dress in metallic gold anymore doesn't mean I'm not still a 'superstar'. Every doll is unique and valuable to the people, and dolls, who know and love them. There must've been hundreds, maybe millions, of dolls that were made to look just like me.  But in Treesa's heart, and in the hearts of my doll friends, I can never be replaced or forgotten. And in my heart, I feel the same way about them. Because friends like that are worth their weight in gold.

Champagne Wishes And Golden Dreams, Golda