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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
- 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.
Happy Birthday, Skipper! Thanks for being so cool.
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!