Barbie’s younger sister, Skipper made her own friends, Skooter and Ricky, because Barbie spent more time with Ken and grew more interested in making babies than babysitting her tween sister. That June in 1977 they had gone to the beach on Lake Michigan near Manitowoc and spent a weekend playing inside Barbie’s camper.
Skipper, Skooter, Ricky, Ken and Barbie and their beachcomber recreational vehicle belonged to two sisters, Jane and Julie. As the elder sister, Jane had acquired her Barbie dolls new and Julie got her hand-me-down dolls when Jane was ready. When Jane and Julie went with their parents on a summer vacation to Wisconsin, they played in the sand dunes along the western shores of Lake Michigan.
They brought their Barbie dolls and camper and dressed them in summer fun outfits and seated them around the formica table. Jane pulled back the draperies. Julie rolled up the window screens and let the summer breeze come through the mosquito netting. Jane laid Skipper on the sofa without putting an outfit on her. The midcentury modern design of blond wood cabinets and lineoleum floors gleamed in the bright sunshine.
Julie and Jane went swimming, and for ice cream, rode their bikes with Skooter and Ricky in Julie’s pockets and Ken and Barbie in Jane’s. They forgot all about the camper and Skipper on the beach. Without realizing it, they left Michigan without picking up all their toys on the beach.
Forty years later, Skipper woke up. Back in her body made of flesh and bones instead of molded plastic. She didn’t have any clothes on but her eyebrows were perfectly applied. Auburn hair hung to her shoulders. Perfectly shaped red lips. Bendable knees. Proportions of bust-waist-hips that weren’t like those of a fake Barbie doll. She was a real woman. In a trailer park filled with other midcentury pre-manufactured ticky tacky homes in a row.
by Jill Swenson