(Originally posted November 2, 2010)
One of the best things about reconnecting with friends on Facebook is sharing old memories. Since memory is the second thing to go, it is so much fun when a friend reminds you of something in your OWN life that you had forgotten! So it is with my reconnection with Cyndy Hardwick, a teacher friend from Austin Elementary, the first elementary where I taught in Coppell, Texas. Cyndy made me chuckle when she recalled a story I told in the teacher lounge one day about our dear friends Barbie and Ken.
Surely you have read my earlier post entitled “A Box of Magic” where, vintage Barbie, in her black patent leather carrier arrived in my mailbox earlier this year. Barbie and I go way back you see…after getting to dress her in that Jackie Kennedy wardrobe…let’s just say my quest for Barbie and her entourage of friends was unleashed!
Left to pine for my neighbors Dream Houses and convertible Corvettes, I could only serve as Fashion Stylist Commentator from the sidelines as to which fashion ensemble would best reflect Barbie’s Coppertone tan next to that fresh Corvette paint job. Thankfully, that would not last forever…for early one mid-70’s Autumn day, came the arrival of the Holy Grail for all young children: THE SEARS & ROEBUCK CHRISTMAS WISH BOOK!!!!!
Each year my sister and I would trade The Wish Book back and forth. We would make our list for Santa, scrupulously refining and revising our choices to remain within the budget set by our Mother as what we could afford to pay Santa for our Christmas toys. There was one year in particular that my list did not waver one little bit once I made my first pass through The Wish Book pages! There were TWO things on my list that year: #1- Malibu Ken (Complete with flourescent orange square-cut swim trunks and a deep, dark Malibu tan!) #2- The all-new, never before seen Barbie Camper, with pop-out tent on the side!
Talk about a dream come true! I had always wished our family could have had a travel trailer! After the Brady Bunch went to the Grand Canyon with a pop up trailer, I could imagine no better way to see the country! (How Mike, Carol, Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, Cindy, AND Alice survived in that little pop up trailer without killing each other is still a mystery to me…)
So my list was complete. Malibu Ken and the Barbie Camper. Well, okay…I also put in for Santa to bring Ken the burgundy velvet tuxedo with ruffled shirt and bow tie. I could dream couldn’t I?!?
Christmas that year was indeed wondrous with countless hours of play in the months ahead, filled with cross-country camping trips as Ken, Barbie, PJ, and that young sprite, Skipper embarked on all manner of imaginary trips!
Playing with my neighbor friends, I now had leverage!! Malibu Ken brought this young Fashion Stylist Commentator out from the sidelines and into the big league! Malibu Ken was now the HOT TICKET in the neighborhood to ride shotgun with Barbie in the Corvette Convertible and provide much needed redecorating tips for the Dream House. The plastic purple sofa HAD to GO!!!!
At this young age, I dare say I didn’t know much about the birds and the bees. However, I knew that regardless of the status of Barbie and Ken’s relationship, there was something missing. That something was Salvation.
Being raised in the Church of Christ, you learn early on that once you reached the “age of accountability,” the Lord expected you to be baptized. Now, with all this sporting about town in the Corvette, hair billowing in the wind (Barbie was the only one billowing as Malibu Ken’s hair was hard plastic and painted a most yellowish shade of sun-kissed blonde), and lounging around Barbie’s Dream House on not just the respectable first floor, but moving upstairs when no one was looking, I could not stand idly by knowing they would be doomed to eternal damnation if I didn’t do something! It was on my shoulders to bring salvation to Barbie and Ken!
I figured that I should do the baptizing all hush-hush, as my neighbors were not members of the Church of Christ. They were Lutherans and Methodists, and thought that baptism with a mere sprinkling or pouring would suffice. No, no NO! No sprinkling or pouring would save dear Barbie and Ken. Full immersion alone would insure their home among the saved!
So, one hot summer afternoon, I filled our small kiddy pool under the canopy of our carport, then stepped inside with my pants rolled up. Barbie in one hand, Malibu Ken in the other, I bent down into the foot deep water. Then, in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, Barbie was dunked, followed in quick succession by Malibu Ken.
Thinking back, I think I even gave them a second dunk, just for good measure! Then, it was back to the Camper with the pop-up tent for more lazy summer days of play. For if that Camper were to be rockin’, it just might be Jesus knocking, and at least Barbie and Ken could rest assured that their Salvation was made sure…under the canopy of our carport in a half-filled kiddy pool, in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.