This is a post I made on Facebook in late July 2010. I still get all misty eyed when I read it!!
Always the one to yearn for the latest fashion tools, this Achilles heel of my inner Virgo started rearing its ugly head at an early age! When I was but a spry young tot, visits to my cousin Jeannie Brigham’s home were the source of great longing and anticipation! For you see, in her closet…on the top shelf…was a box. Not just any box mind you, but a BLACK PATENT LEATHER box. Tucked inside that box were small, tiny pieces of fabric, magic and glamour that, to me, were better than cash money and a front row ticket to see ‘ANNIE.’
God love my cousin Jeannie, for I KNOW that I could not be completely inside the front door until I would be begging…PLEADING for her to pull down that box of magic for her little cousin ….ME! I can honestly remember the feeling of joy when she would reach up and grab hold of the special box and hand it to me. (Jeannie is from the ‘tall’ side of the family and could reach such lofty spaces!) Then it was plopping down on the floor or crawling up on her bed and opening the box ‘o fashion wonder…
BARBIE!!!!!! With her 60’s bouffant ‘do, little black dress (strapless–so daring!!), painted toenails (and they still are!!!), and the OH so elegant red cape with the ermine collar, I felt like Oleg Cassini getting Jackie Kennedy ready for an overseas diplomatic state visit! Of course there would be the obligatory hospital and orphanage visits by day. So off with the black, and on with the approachable, yet dignified blue and white stripe frock. Later, the ONLY thing that would be suitable for afternoon tea with the Ambassador’s wife was the smart pink organza, layers of frothy silk that would only provide a hint of the innocence from her days as a Newport debutante. For the plane ride back on Air Force One….scratch that….make that a Buick Electra honking the horn in Jeannie’s driveway.
NO!!! It couldn’t be!!!! Not time to go home?!? Sigh…. So, the tiny wardrobe would be packed away in the precious black patent leather box, and Jeannie would lift it back up to what seemed like the moon. Now I would have to figure out a desperate reason to talk my mother in to taking me back over to Jeannie’s for another afternoon of Mattel stylist magic in miniature for Barbie/Jackie!
The last time I saw that black patent leather box had to be at least 38-40 years ago! Until today. Mark, Jeannie’s uber cool and artistic husband, told me a while back that Jeannie was preparing a “Care Package” for me. I didn’t think too much about it, other than its always fun to get a package in the mail. Today, I saw a box that arrived while I was in Alabama. It had my name on it. It was from Jeannie. I had no idea what she might have sent, but as I lifted the lid, my mouth literally dropped open!
There it was! The black patent leather Barbie doll case! Complete with Barbie and her overseas diplomatic state visit wardrobe!! Let me check the calendar…Christmas?? Birthday?? Nope. But there was a note from Jeannie tucked inside. It read, “I have meant to send this to you for years! …You, more than anyone enjoyed this. I hope you like it.”
HOPE I LIKE IT?!? Jeannie, this is a true treasure to me. Why, this is right up there with my Granny Ballard’s Fostoria collection and the Franciscan Ivy China! The memory of you being so willing to share with your little annoying cousin is so precious, and I will cherish that memory along with this gift as only I could, and as you knew I would!