When I was a little girl one of the things I dreamed about was some day marrying the most handsome, kindest and bravest man in the world. My little friends and I shared the same dream, as did most girls back then.

We would gather in my yard under Grandpa’s grapevine for the wedding of Barbie and Ken. Barbie was the princess bride; never was there a lovelier creature with her perfect figure and lustrous blonde hair. Her gown was like a million sparkling clouds sewn together and on her head she wore a diamond tiara that twinkled as brightly as her blue eyes.

Ken was her dashing groom – the epitome of elegance without a hair out of place (literally!). His tuxedo was the finest money could buy and his patent leather shoes glistened like the stars in the darkest sky. 

Since we always played in my backyard, only my dolls were allowed to be the bride and groom. My little friends would dress up their Barbies in matching gowns of blue velvet to be bridesmaids. One of my other friends was really lucky; she was the only one who had an Allan doll – he was Ken’s best friend and, of course, his best man. She also “borrowed” her brother’s G.I. Joe chaplain action figure, a very rare piece indeed, to be the priest. One time my friend accidentally spilled chocolate milk all over the chaplain and when her brother found out, she was never allowed near his stuff again. 

We took our Barbie and Ken weddings very seriously; we even had rings which our neighbors Mr. & Mrs. Maroni made for us. One was of shimmering silver thread for Barbie and the other was twisted copper wire for Ken. My mother was the caterer; after the ceremony she provided us with the freshest Hostess Cupcakes and the most delicious Nestle’s Quik. Afterwards Ken and Barbie would ride off in Allan’s convertible with a “Just Married” sign on the back. They would have the perfect marriage, just as all our parents had (or so we thought).

My parents fought just about all the time. From breakfast until the time Dad left for work they would argue about something, then it would all start in again after dinner. I’d hear them arguing while I did my homework. At night while trying to get to sleep I would hear other noises coming from my parent’s bedroom. They were pretty loud but they definitely weren’t fighting and the next morning they were all smiles. Go figure.

Then one day my friend’s older sister told us we had to have a talk; she was 12 years old and already wearing a bra so we paid attention. That was the infamous day we learned about S-E-X!! Boy, was that an eye-opening monologue; she talked while we all sat there in shock. I was a pretty curious and precocious child so after that talk I figured out darn quick what those noises were from Mom and Dad’s bedroom at night and why they were always so happy when they woke up in the morning.  

Right then and there I promised myself when I got married I would fight with my husband as often as I could. I mean, if Mom and Dad were that happy every morning, there had to be something to this sex thing after all.

NARA © 2022