I had hundreds. Maybe thousands. Crammed in clear plastic containers, criss-crossed on top of one another like noodles in a plastic doll lasagna. Blondes, brunettes, and red heads. Princesses, mermaids, and school teachers. Dozens of women and only two men, I would cycle the mommies out—depending on who was the newest or the favorite—and keep the daddies, for lack of options. First came Skipper, then Tommy, then Kelly and all her same-aged siblings. Barbie had a large family (and still kept her figure). I got a Dreamhouse and added on rooms, outlined on the carpet with yarn, the tiny furniture butted against the walls. I had a minivan, a corvette, and a camper. I set up a schoolhouse and a ballroom (the necessities). There were lessons, and also parties and dances, but mostly, it was day-to-day life. Barbie would cook and clean and read and take care of Ken and the kids (sometimes, in a ballgown). They were some of my best friends the first ten years of my life, but when I went into fourth grade, I decided I was too old to play with them. I folded up the dreamhouse, dismantled the rooms, and crammed everyone back into the containers for good. When my family moved across town, I moved the Barbies from my closet to the new house’s upstairs storage room. When I left for college, I left them there. When I moved out after grad school, I left them there. The whole time, a small voice in the back of my head was always saying, I’ll save them for my daughter, even before I was old enough to imagine such a thing. Now, I am older, and my mom is cleaning out the house. Do you need these? she asks me, meaning, the Barbies. I am a thousand miles away. I shut my eyes and picture them in the plastic containers, those long years spent in storage, in the dark. Do I need them? I am childless, and even if I weren’t, I doubt a daughter would have any interest in what I used to play with. Do I need them? I have to concede that, no, I don’t, and now I picture them dropped in the donation bin at Goodwill. All of those Barbies, fewer Skippers, Tommies, and Kellies, and even fewer Kens, picked off the shelves by other girls, who will take them home and set up houses and act out lives they may never have themselves.