Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame

i’d rather be a princess

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my mother (on the phone from amsterdam) said last saturday when i told her i was cooking another dinnerparty for eight new miami friends, you cant stop can you!? this, coming from my mother, is funny. where do i get this urge to celebrate? whatya think? my mother at age forty something, after my stepfather had departed with one of her best friends, celebrated by starting a singing telegram business. this was the early eighties, when in amsterdam such a thing was considered another over the top american extravagance. SINGING TELEGRAM AMSTERDAM was the first, and really the one and only for years and my mom the go-to-madame of dutch celebrations. she planned at least ten bunnies leaping from cakes, singing clowns, whacky clumsy waiters, homeless women crashing parties and breaking into opera, dashing crooning  valentinos, a week. my mother couldn’t stop and only retired a few years ago when  requests for strippers and other seedy sexist telegrams (which she referred to the local escort service) exceeded the regular fun-o-grams. and this was only her day job! whenever there’s a friends with not only a birthday, but a wedding anniversary, a new grandchild, a first birthday grandchild, a retirement, an actor friend who’s been on the stage for fifty years, a new home, a new job, a graduation, an opening night, my mother is there with personalized gifts for everyone. for chrissake she even celebrated my, and my sister’s, first period with cake and fanfare and when my little brother felt left out she celebrated his first wet dream with same cake and pomp (he later admitted it wasn’t his first at all….). so when my mother says to me you cant stop can you? i blame her, in the nicest possible way, and say : mom i’cant help myself, i am still getting over that one birthday when all your good intentions became my nightmare…

for my fifth birthday she had a full carnival fairground  designed by  my stepfather (he was an architect) and built  by his crew.  i was the icecream vendor. this was supposed to be my dream come true birthday, since, every day in the summer, when the ice cream man began ringing his bell at the corner of our street, i went into convulsion of nervous anticipation. could i have one? would i have one? would i be able to convince my mother that i NEEDED one by the time he passed our house, would he even stop for me? my daily nervous breakdown, to some extent, ruined the short lived joy of  dutch summer for my mother and so, for my  fifth birthday , i would have all the ice cream i could imagine in my own rietvelt meets picasso plywood icecream cart. i wore black and white plaid bakers pants, a white shirt, a skinny tie and a slightly too large captain’s cap. i remember the start of the party. i hated birthday parties, all those kids i barely knew, making so much noise and pushing and yelling, but anyway there they were crowded around my cart, screaming and pushing and shouting: chocolate. i want chocolate, i want vanilla, i want strawberry, and grabbing and getting ice cream all over their face and coming back for seconds and thirds and fourths. BUT. i was a good girl, i lived up to expectation so i kept on scooping. i scooped and scooped and  scooped and slowly before my very eyes the icecream went down, first the chocolate went, then the vanilla and the strawberry. Until there was nohing left. not a scoop, not a teaspoon. and i hadn’t had one cone,  one lick,  one crumble bit of wafer. it was all GONE! i was devastated. tears choking my throat, i looked for my mom,  she was across the room holding my newborn little sister, laughing and throwing colored balls at colored cans in a red, blue, green, black and white wooky frame. i looked around me. all the kids had scattered, playing different games,  ignoring me. again. cause i was out of icecream.

that night, when my mother tucked me into bed, she said. and? did you have fun?

reportedly i answered that next year i’d rather be a princess…

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Author: barbidoesmiami

Barbi is a stupid model, fashion designer, writer about women and beauty, repurposeur of ocean plastic garbage into jewelry, mover from milford to miami, mother of iona kiki and leila, lover of alastair

2 thoughts on “i’d rather be a princess

  1. Another brilliant post…great, individual writing style. Get that book out!

  2. Great… really cool topic. I will blog about it too!

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