But here's the thing: I wasn't very good at team sports. Not that I didn't like running around with everybody else, but I was on the timid side and just could never seem to work up any real passion about winning or losing. And there was one awesome basketball player in our 'hood who systematically hurt my tender feelings by her high-handed attitude regarding my lack of prowess on the driveway.
(I recall this same girl one day yelling at my friend Michelle during a game.
"Dribble, Michelle, dribble!" she yelled. Wonderful Michelle stopped where she was, let go of the ball, and started dribbling [spit!] on the spot!).
Ah, but at games of Barbie we shone, Michelle and I, along with a few others in our little Barbie coalition: Michelle's sister Mimi, our friend Judy, and occasionally a pretty friend of Judy's whose name I don't recall (forgive me, Judy's pretty friend!).
Of course, playing Barbies at 13 was a more advanced variation of the 8-year-old's version. We were more into the clothes than anything, I think. One of our mothers made the auspicious discovery of a local woman who sewed Barbie dresses. Fifty cents for a short dress or a dollar for a long gown. We of the Barbie crowd believed we'd discovered a gold mine! The dresses were all of the same style and cut: bodice and shoulder straps, full puffy skirt at the waist, snaps at the back. But the dresses fit our Barbies' svelt forms perfectly, and what beautiful materials this lady used on her miniature creations! I remember that for my 13th birthday someone (probably Michelle) gave me one of these dresses, a ball gown in pink lace that was just too lovely for words.
So we dressed our Barbies and, budding seamstresses that we all were back in the days when girls still sewed (I know, many still do), sometimes we sat around sewing our own primitive little Barbie doll outfits: a wide circle of material with a hole in the center and a snap made do for a skirt and a long rectangle folded in half with a neck hole cut across the fold and indentations cut along the sides then sewn up made a respectable blouse. Then there were the matching scarves, shawls, sashes and belts that we could all manage to produce, sitting and chatting away the time in our little doll sewing circles.
I seems to me that by the time I'd reached 12 or so we seldom actually got around to playing with our dolls anymore, but what we more tended to do was dress up and set up the dolls, then together make up characters and story lines with dialogue, as in: "Let's say this is Karlene. Let's say she's just had a big fight with her best friend, Joanne, and really wants to get back together but Joanne won't talk to her, so..." etc, etc, etc. We'd decide upon our plot, pass some dialogue back and forth, then when the story was resolved to our satisfaction we'd put our dolls away. I remember once getting caught by Judy trying to pass off a story line I'd seen the night before on the Patti Duke show on TV. Judy had seen the show, too, but we all thought it was basically a good story so we tweaked the dialogue a little then went with it.
A word about Barbie's other half, the Ken doll: you know, I don't remember any of us having much interest in Ken. We all had several Barbies and maybe one Ken doll apiece if that, but he more or less sat on the sidelines, one Ken doll in a harem of Barbies. We took even less interest in Barbie's "little sister", a doll named Skipper. It was Barbie who ruled the game.
So go figure this: for all the hours I spent playing Barbies during my formative years, I've always hated getting dressed up myself. Never could be bothered with it.
But I do still love making up characters and writing dialogue.