A View from Mel's Place Sunday, May 16th was Mel's Birthday


This story begins 30 years ago. My mom and I were living in Florida . My mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I wanted with my whole being a Sweet 16 Barbie. It was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. My mom reminded me (in shock I am sure that her hot wheel loving daughter requested a doll! Much less a Barbie!) that she cost $9 and that was all she had to spend on presents. I assured her that was fine; this doll was all I wanted.

 A few weeks later on my birthday mom’s friends, Deedee and Gary White, and their children, 5 year old Tracy and her brother, whose name escapes me, brought over my cake and we had my birthday party. I got a ten pack of Kmart cars from the Whites and THE doll from my mom. I do not remember the cake, or much else but THE doll! She was perfect in her pink Swiss dot dress; she smelled I was positive as heaven itself would. Barbie went every where with me, but school, she waited patiently for my return each day on the kitchen counter, where she could see me as I rushed in. I had other Barbie stuff, a camper, car and many dolls. I do not remember what they were nor where they came from, until I saw Sweet 16, SHE made me WANT a Barbie doll!

This was a pivotal day in my young life, though I did not know it yet. You see about 6 weeks later (beginning of July) my mom, who was my best friend, confidant and heroine, had a massive stroke. She came home from work tired and not feeling well. She sent me to the kitchen for aspirin when I came back to the living room, she had a limp cigarette dangling from her lips, her hands flung out and her head back. I threw the aspirin at her, but she didn’t move. I walked closer and saw her eyes were rolled back in her head. I ran screaming from the house that my mom was dead. Deedee called the police (this was pre 911) and rushed over. The paramedics came and I heard them say “she was dead about 2 minutes” as they wheeled her past me to the waiting ambulance.

So it was that Sweet 16 and I moved in with Gary and Dee for a few weeks. Though much of this time is blocked out of my memory, I do remember teaching Tracy and her brother how to brush their teeth and how important it was to do so. My mom was a huge fan of teeth brushing, though with my teeth it seems of little use, I was always having cavities filled! I recall vaguely Dee telling someone, though I do not know who that I was a natural teacher and was very patient with young children.

About 3 weeks later my sister’s husband came and got me, some of my clothes, Sweet 16, my raggedy Ann and Andy and my dog, a Chihuahua named Taco (my fave Mexican item!) and took us off to my sister Vicki in Missouri.

Well fast forward, I am a young woman on my way to California by bus to begin my career as a governess. I stored all my stuff but 1 small suitcase of clothes in my sister’s new mother in law’s barn, assured it would be shipped to me when I got settled. About 1 month after I got settled I was told the barn had been broken into and all my worldly possessions but the small suitcase of clothes were gone. My Sweet 16, my Dawn dolls, the 1800’s metal and composition baby doll my father’s grandmother had brought over from Germany , all gone. Of it all, I mourned the loss of my Sweet 16. Though mom’s stroke did not kill her, (she died 5 years later) she never recovered and this doll was the last gift she ever gave me.

For years this doll has been my “holy grail” I have tried to replace her but generally money always got in my way. Few people know the whole story, now all of you who read this know the beginning and the end of it.

A week or so ago I was talking to a dear friend about Barbie stuff. I told them about the doll, though not as much as I have told here. Well imagine my surprise when I walked out my back door Friday evening and found a large priority box there addressed to me. I opened it to find a large wad of bubble wrap and priority tape. On the tape was stuck a note, “Dear Mel, Birthdays are for rememberin’… I hope this brings you some very happy memories… A very happy birthday to ya!”

Inside the wrapping and tape was a nrfb Sweet 16 Barbie! She is just as gorgeous as she was 30 years ago, and I bet if I opened her package she would smell just like heaven. As it is she will remain in her package and on my desk for everyone to see. I love her as much as the first. She brings back the memories and feelings I had that day 30 years ago when I got the first one, plus the new memories of a dear and caring friend. My poor MJ thought I was having some kind of fit. Imagine if you can his surprise to walk into the office and see his wife, holding a box, shaking and crying. He thought something horrid had happened. I could not speak, I just handed him the box, and he looked it over not comprehending, until he read the “offer” on the back… specifically the expiration date….. May 1st 1975 ! Then he remembered the doll I had told him about, but he had never before seen much less held one!


 Now, this fantastic person will remain nameless, because I do not know if they wish to be known or not. You know who you are and you need to know I have no words to express what this act of kindness and generosity means to me. Very odd for me. Just know that you have brought back memories and feelings long buried, now this doll is even more precious to me than before. I love her and she will be here in her package and cherished. Everyone who comes to my home will be told this story.


For most who know me, they know I do not put a huge value on material things so my reaction to this “possession” will be puzzling at the least and bizarre as well. This, out of everything I have ever owned is one of 3 “things” I was attached to. One was my grandmother’s doll, (stolen with my other items), and the last is an antique rocker given to me about 15 years ago by a lady I baby sat for. It is close on 100 years old and I love sitting in it!

I know this is a huge post and the most I have ever said at once. I had to get it all out, and this was the best way I could think of to say thank you to the giver of this most precious and valued gift.


Thank you my dear friend, you have given me more than you will ever know and I will never ever be able to repay this gift!