Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm SO excited! Best gift. EVER.

It doesn't get any better than this.

So, here's the story. At my recent state art teachers' conference, I had a wonderful Saturday night. It all began at the before-dinner cocktail reception, when we started chatting with fellow blogger Jen. She introduced me to a coworker/friend, and she and I hit it off when we discovered that for a couple of years, a LONG time ago (early 1970's), we were both students at SUNY New Paltz. New Paltz, in those days, was a little slice of hippie heaven, and for those of us who were there at that time, it was a unique experience, something we'll remember forever. A hint of that era - these were my education texts: Teaching as a Subversive Activity (I'm not kidding); Sexism in American Education: And Jill Came Tumbling After ; The Open Classroom; and, of course, Viktor Lowenfeld's Creative and Mental Growth. And some strange little art crit book. Anyhow, we had a lot to reminisce about and share about our time in New Paltz.

Anyhow, after cocktails we headed to the award banquet, and the conversation continued. As the awards started, I recalled a time, probably 8 or 9 years ago, when the annual gift for the Art Teacher of the Year was an Art Teacher Barbie. I always wanted one, but I knew this was an award I'd never get. I drooled whenever they handed out the big prize. You see, I grew up playing Barbies, but it seems my mom had ditched them all (vintage Barbies!) when I was in college. At one point I even checked them out in a store and decided that, 1) I shouldn't buy it for myself, and 2) they always were blonde. I even tried telling my husband and son that I wanted one for a gift, but I think they thought I was kidding. I WAS NOT.

The conversation continued into the party AFTER the banquet, and it was a fabulous fun night, filled with laughter and in particular, one kindred spirit of a new friend. I shared that I was retiring, but that I expected to continue to attend the conference since it is always a highlight of my year. My new friend said she wanted to send me a gift, and asked for my address.

And there it was, in the mail today! Not a new purchase, but something she has had, evidently for years, not just Art Teacher Barbie, but Barbie AND her sister Kelly, still in the box, apparently never opened, both brunette, like I was until my hair turned silver. And my new friend wants ME to have this!! I'm honored, and humbled. I mean, she's had this wonderful thing all these years, and she met me ONE NIGHT and sent me this TREASURE?? I'm and totally thrilled, and can't imagine a more wonderful gift.

By the way, I've looked online, and it is apparently a 2002 version of the doll. A more recent version has Barbie in a smock with an easel and a palette. MY Barbie (in the picture at the top of this post) comes with a stool and a drawing desk and some art materials, and is dressed a little strangely for our messy job (what, no apron?!!), but, heck, she'll be coming out of the box and I promise I will make her some new clothes. Seriously.

I'll post again, I promise, and will show you my Barbie's new look when it is complete.

16 comments:

  1. I never would have guessed this to be your heart's desire. always fun to learn something new about a long time friend!

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  2. Hi Phyl! I also have art teacher Barbie! I got her at Wal Mart in 2002, my first fall teaching art. She is my first Barbie ever! My father wouldn't allow us to have Barbies growing up so she is very special to me. She has NEVER come out of the box - I display the doll and box on the wall in my art room and students always ask about it. PS - my colleague at another art room like mine so much she got one for herself on eBay. Enjoy!!! Can't wait to see your homemade clothes.

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  3. Never underestimate random acts of kindness. Very cool, Phyl!

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  4. Now wait one min... I am a bit upset.... So do they make the Ken art teacher Barbie or is he just left out?? B/c that would be sweet....to have.. I was ken in the box for halloween a few years ago the kids would think that would be cool....

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  5. I never knew they made an art teacher Barbie. That is so cool!

    Mrs. Berry

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  6. Mr. R, you raise a great point! Maybe we should petition Mattel to make an Art Teacher Ken! It would be the right thing for them to do! Perhaps he'd be dressed more appropriately for the job?

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  7. Aw, I love this story!! I'm so happy for you! Jen was my co-op teacher when I student taught, and this wonderful little blogging world lead me to "reunite" with her- how crazy and awesome!

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  8. I am so jealous. I would LOVE an Art Teacher Barbie. I also agree with Mr. R., they need to make a male art teacher barbie.

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  9. That is super cool. The closet shelf in my old room at my parents' house is full of unopened barbies. I also loved to play with the vintage ones at my grandma's house. I never really made up stories with them unless I was at a friend's house but I used them as little models and gave them hair cuts and sewed clothes for them. Much more fun.

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  10. Barbie update: I was in Target today - needed a clear box to put Barbie in to keep my kitty from stealing her shoes or chewing her hair (since I indeed took her out of the box) - so I stopped at the Barbie department to make sure the box I picked was long enough to fit her. And there was the current version of the doll, with a strange little apron, calf-length leggings, and a tank top (I swear!). Kind of a slutty outfit for a teacher, don't you think? Anyhow, she has a paintbrush in her hand, and a lever in her back to move it up and down - a little strange. Every single one in the store had blond hair! What, no diversity in art teachers? But she does have an easel. And nice shoes - red high heel booties.

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  11. awesome- i saw one of those barbies years ago and still kick myself for not buying it. Would also love to get myself a copy of Teaching As a Subversive activity, but it may well get me kicked out of Saudi Arabia. :)

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  12. Hi Phyl. I just finished your fauvist "Wild Beast" cats. It was a big hit. Thanks again. I'll post pics as soon as I find my camera cord. Hope all is well with you. I bet your busy with the season I haven't seen you posting. . . hope you are good. e

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  13. I'm so glad you got it! Deb told me on the way home that she was sending it to you! I have the blond version of that one... 2002 I think. I was blondish then... My student teacher (my 1st one ever who is now an art teacher) got me one as a gift! I have never taken her out of the box and she sits on my shelf at school... All the little girls are itching to get a hold of her. LOL! I had so much fun with you that night and it's funny how we are all connected somehow... 6 degrees of seperation is true!

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  14. I have both blonde and brunette! I bought the blonde one first, then stumbled upon miss brunette a couple of weeks later (I'm a brunette) and was so thrilled I had to buy her too! Both sit up on top of the cabinets in my room and I always get questions from the kids about why I have toys. (She sits with a giant Nemo clown fish, Kermit the Frog and several "art" puzzles). Btw, my hair is now on its way too silver...about 1/3 of the way there!

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  15. Hi Erin, my hair is ALL silver - but I still wanted a brunette Barbie. I've been making her clothing but its tough -everything is SO tiny!

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