Tales From A Hungry Life

August 6, 2014

Happy Birthday, Skipper

By Maria Schulz

Just the other day, Barbiecollector.com sent me an email that informed me of some startling news: Barbie’s baby sister, Skipper, turned 50 on August 1. This is the anniversary doll that they’re selling: a very pretty, brunette Skipper in a frilly dress. She’s a beautiful doll, but she doesn’t look anything like I remember her. My Skipper was a beach-loving California girl, just like the girl in the song that The Beach Boys sang.

Ready for some fun.

Ready for some fun.

I had no idea that Skipper shared a birthday with my lifelong pal, Perette, or that she was about to hit that milestone age. It’s been a while since I thought about Skipper, but we were the best of friends when I was a child. Even if the rest of the world thought she was a fake, she was real to me. Since she’s from California, let’s just say that she was her “authentic self” long before the phrase ever existed.

If Skipper and I had gone to the same school, she would’ve never talked to me. The reason is obvious: she was older, prettier, cooler, and the big kids didn’t have anything to do with the little kids. Also, unless she had a little sibling who was in my grade and she was forced to talk to me, she would’ve ignored me completely. There were rules about that kind of thing.

But, since we didn’t go to school together, Skipper and I were above those petty little laws. Age was never an issue for us. In fact, we spent many days playing together.

Skipper's in the middle

Skipper’s in the middle

Malibu Skipper came to me on Christmas morning when I was 4. She arrived with her sisters, Barbie and Francine. Malibu PJ came later that year on my birthday. Skipper wore a cool bathing suit tank top and boy shorts in bold orange. She had long, straight blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, not to mention that perfect golden tan. If I could’ve looked like anyone, I probably would’ve looked like her when I was a kid. Sure, a few years down the road, I’d want to look like her big sister PJ (wow, was she gorgeous), but as a little kid, Skipper was my idol.

Malibu PJ was beautiful

Malibu PJ was beautiful

Skipper went everywhere with me. I imagined her as being a tomboy through and through, and we hiked up hills and rummaged in sandboxes and flowerbeds looking for treasure. Afterwards, Skipper would come swimming in the lake that was actually my bedtime bath, because we both needed a good scrubbing.

I always watched those Barbie commercials with envy as a child, because all the kids lived near a roaring stream where Barbie and her sisters could go canoeing, white water rafting, and swimming for hours.

Skipper had to be satisfied with jumping off the side of my bathtub, riding the rapids that were created by the faucet’s running water and my arms and feet. Skipper was notorious for swimming towards the toy shark while her sisters swam away, shrieking in terror (cowards! I loved Skipper’s spunk). Skipper loved to do a “shark rodeo” to the horror of Barbie, PJ, and Francine.

Shark Rodeo, anyone?

Shark Rodeo, anyone?

Because swimming always makes me hungry, my favorite thing of all was to have a bedtime snack with Skipper in tow. On a good night, there were chocolate chip cookie, Big Wheels, or Suzy Q’s left in the cabinet. On bad nights (and with 6 brothers and all of their hungry friends over, there were a lot of bad snack nights), we just had a glass of water and went off to bed.

Where have all the cookies gone?

Where have all the cookies gone?

I can’t quite believe that Skipper is 50. It makes me wonder:

  • Does her back bother her now because of all those falls she took then?
  • Did she and GI Joe end up together—or did he break her heart and marry PJ?
  • Does she still have that gorgeous blonde hair?
  • Is her hair white now?
  • Does she have any suspicious moles?
  • Has she been checked for skin cancer?
  • Is her face as wrinkled as a baked apple due to all that sun-tanning?
  • Has she tried botox?
GI Joe, the great love of Skipper's life

GI Joe, the great love of Skipper’s life

  • Did the knee joint she “popped” (due to my excessive bending of her knees) ever get looked at?
  • Does she need knee replacement surgery?
  • Will she go for a colonoscopy this year?
  • Is she up to date on her mammograms?
  • Did she grow up to be the prettiest sister of them all?
  • Is she still a tomboy at heart?
  • Does she still like digging in the dirt?
  • Did she become a marine biologist?
  • Does she enjoy a shark rodeo every now and again?
  • Does she have kids?
  • Did she get fat?
  • Does she volunteer with the PTA?
  • Is she a leafy greens, avocado-and-quinoa fan now (she does come from California)
  • Does she have unlimited access to Big Wheels and Suzy Q’s?

No matter where Skipper may have ended up, I bet she’d still look good at 50. And you know what? Even if she was a heavy, wrinkled, gray-haired mess—and real—I bet we’d still be great friends. Maybe we could even share a homemade “knock-off” hostess cupcake or Suzy Q.

Thanks for the laughs. Sorry about the knee

Thanks for the laughs. Sorry about the knee

Happy Birthday, Skipper! Thanks for being so cool.


Homemade Snack Cakes


Snack cakes!

Snack cakes!

I have often thought I should start my own Support Group just so I could get up and say, “Hi. My name is Maria, and I like snack cakes.” When I found this article from The Huffington Post, I actually went: “OOOOOOHHHHHH!” Take a look at these recipes for ho-hos (we called them yodels), cupcakes, devil dogs and more snack treats you can make at home. (You know you still love them).

So, are any of your favorite childhood toys having a milestone birthday this year? What was the toy you loved above all others? Which snack cake could you eat every day, and twice on Sundays? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!



  1. What happened to Midge, the oldest sister????

    Comment by thedailypeeve — August 6, 2014 @ 7:56 am | Reply

    • Witness Protection Program??? Sorry, I never had Midge. Barbie was the oldest sister in my “doll” family.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — August 6, 2014 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  2. I totally get what you mean by the “popped” knee joint! Too bad we didn’t know each other when we were little – we would have had some good times with the Barbies. Between your lakefront property and my camper, wow.

    Comment by Lisa S. — August 6, 2014 @ 9:31 am | Reply

  3. We didn’t have many dolls when I was a kid but one Christmas my older brother got a Charlie McCarthy all dressed in his tux, with top hat and a monocle. Edgar Bergen was the ventriloquist and he had a radio show. I got all sorts of how to books from the library but could never keep my lips still when I tried to “throw” my voice. Little did I know Edgar Bergen never kept his lips still either. So I gave up the ghost and dropped Charlie, besides I really liked his sidekick Mortimer Snerd. My favorite character was, is Popeye but I never got a doll until I kept a pull up that was given to my kids under the pretense that they would break it. I still have it. We are still friends. I don’t remember the brand name Mrs. something or other but their mini Apple Pies were delicious. Could buy one for a nickel or dime. DEEElicious!!!! .

    Comment by Bglou — August 6, 2014 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

    • Mrs. Smith’s apple pies? I’m not sure. Anyway, I thought you were a Drakes cakes man.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — August 6, 2014 @ 10:44 pm | Reply

    • Lou, even though I am going to be skippers age very soon, I had a Charlie McCarthy doll too! I loved him. About a year ago I was at the movies waiting it for it to start and a man comes in holding one. He was with his parents and I kept hoping that they would make him sit between them. I have to say I was a little nervous that he was going to make Charlie talk during the movie. He obviously had bigger problems than what he was going to pick to eat for the next 2 hours. He sat a couple of people away and moved Charlie’s head around during the movie. I did want to say, “excuse me but can try him for a minute?”. I definitely think the answer would’ve been NO!

      Comment by Suzanne — August 7, 2014 @ 7:49 am | Reply

      • Wow! I didn’t even think Charlie was still around. I bet he looks great for his age, any age. He was great fun. He and Mortimer Snerd were great friends.

        Comment by Bglou — August 7, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

  4. Maria, I used Skipper as a fill in. She was someone that Barbie yelled at all the time, told her to go away, get some real friends and to grow up! Which was weird because my Barbie loved kiddle dolls. Maybe because they were cute and Skipper was a Barbie want a be. Kiddles were more versatile. They could be kids to babysit for, out of wedlock children…. Skipper couldn’t keep up with the glamorous lifestyle of my Barbies. As far a snacks, all of the above. Entemans cakes were on top of the refrigerator and sadly replenished everyday. That’s why my Barbie was so mean, and Skipper wasn’t athletic. Their owner couldn’t move fast enough, she had to save her strength for reaching the top of the refrigerator.

    Comment by Suzanne — August 7, 2014 @ 7:58 am | Reply

  5. Maria, Skipper is a vampire even though she walks in the sun. She is the kind you see on the show Being Human. She never ages, doesn’t gain weight, and has the blond hair no matter what (except if one of your older brothers cuts it off). You know what else turned 50? Chips Ahoy cookies. That is more significant to me. Especially because that means I was five when they came into existence. I’m older than a cookie. Should that make my world crumble? (Pun intended). I remember at an early age that Chip Ahoy’s were too expensive and mom got cheaper cookies. Every now and then a box showed up at home and they tasted soooo good. Unfortunately the amount one could eat was limited due to the number of kids in the house (including the band downstairs and assorted girlfriends). I never had a Chips Ahoy snack with my favorite toy (a Herman Munster puppet that spoke when you pulled his string) because he went missing and I never found out what happened to him. He too is coming up to the 50 year mark (I think the show was started in 1965 or 1966). That makes him at least 48. I wonder what Lily, Grandpa, Eddie and Marilyn (the characters, not the actors) would be going through right now?

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — August 9, 2014 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  6. Does she have any suspicious moles?!?!!!! OMG! That just about did me in and I can’t scream laughing here at work! Man, Skipper is 50! I feel old, in general, now I think I need to move into assisted living! Great post and great memories, Maria. Super writing!

    Comment by wordimprovisor177 — August 11, 2014 @ 10:38 am | Reply

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