How a Barbie Lunchbox Influenced My Life


I’ve been doing a bit of browsing on Etsy, a pretty cool site for people who like to buy and sell crafts or vintage items. Recently, I came across an ad for a Barbie lunchbox. I clicked on the ad for some reason, and as I looked at the pictures, I was stunned.  A memory started to flood back that I had a Barbie lunchbox in first grade, and man, was it special.

Barbie lunchbox, baFirst, a realization hit me that I loved that lunchbox because it came with a built-in game on the back.  Oh that’s right!  I loved to play the game during recess and lunch with my friends using the magnets and spinners that came inside.  Hot food, cold drink, and a game with friends at the same time?  It was as good as a TV dinner in front of the TV (so very 60’s!).  Playing games on my lunchbox gave me a bit of a cool factor, I will admit.

It’s funny how playing games still permeates my life, and exist in-between the layers of play, school, work, friends and family that I can’t truly define, only appreciate and accept.  The combination of schooling and games came very early for me, and never left.  I hope I can continue to help others find the same connection, because schooling equaled fun (most of the time!). Fun = engagement.  Engagement = learning.

As I made this connection between the games on the lunchbox and my life now, I became curious and started to look in deeper detail at the other pictures on the lunchbox.  I recall these girls looking extremely grown up and mature.  Like my older sister.  I wanted to be just like them.

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I came across this picture of Barbie going to the prom with Ken.  Whoa, more insight.  The dress, the jewels, the handsome James Bond-esque Ken!  I realized this became a fantasy of perfect adulthood that I held for many years.  Have you ever noticed how many little girls (and big ones, too), love to dress up in gowns and jewels.  I digress.

I encourage you to think back to special items that you remember from your early childhood, especially those which engaged you to play.  What was so special about them?  What feeling did they create?  How did they help to influence who you are now?

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