Bar­bies rule in this Stoney Creek home

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - KATHY RENWALD

She never liked Midge, and Ken was just an­noy­ing.

But bring out a Bar­bie, and Jan­ice Kal­nay lights up.

“I love Bar­bie’s fash­ion and ac­ces­sories, the fact she can dress up or down.”

Kal­nay col­lects dolls: Shirley Tem­ple, Ea­ton’s Beauty, wax dolls from the 1800s, but Bar­bies are her favourite.

She got her first one at age 10; it was 88 cents, de­liv­ered to her door. “I’m pretty sure it was a knock-off Bar­bie,” she says. Now, Bar­bies rule in her Stoney Creek home. They stand with their per­fect pos­ture in glass cab­i­nets and on shelves,

and lay­ered in dresser draw­ers packed tight as sar­dines. Theatre Bar­bie meets Flight At­ten­dant Bar­bie meets Olympic Medal­ist Bar­bie. The out­fits are per­fect, the ac­ces­sories all in or­der. It’s a world frozen in time.

Bar­bie de­buted in 1959, wear­ing a pony­tail and a black and white one-piece swim­suit.

“Bub­ble Cut Bar­bie was from 1962 to 1967,” Kal­nay ex­plains. “I don’t col­lect af­ter 1972.”

It all has to do with child­hood. The joy she got from the Bar­bie doll she played with, the love of fash­ion and the tiny Bar­bie out­fits made with such pre­ci­sion.

It was a fam­ily af­fair too. Her mother, Eva Pat­ti­son, was a doll col­lec­tor. When she died in 2015, Jan­ice be­came cu­ra­tor of her mother’s dolls. There’s a 1934 Shirley Tem­ple, a 1911 Ea­ton Beauty, an An­tique Par­ian Bisque (bisque is unglazed porce­lain) made in Ger­many circa 1860 to 1870, and an 1848 wax doll with beau­ti­ful flow­ing hair and a vel­vet dress.

When Jan­ice got mar­ried, her mother gave the new­ly­weds a doll for their first an­niver­sary. “She said ‘Norm won’t mind, will he?’” Ap­par­ently Norm Kal­nay did not mind, be­cause that was the start of his wife’s col­lect­ing fer­vour.

“The thing with this hobby,” she says, “is I can close the door where the dolls are and no one will see it, it doesn’t take over the house.”

Kal­nay joined the Golden Horse­shoe Bar­bie Club in 1991 and be­came trea­surer; by 2002 she was pres­i­dent of the Stoney Creek Doll and Teddy Bear Club, and a mem­ber of the Hamil­ton Doll Club. There were tours, par­ties and shows, but the clubs are all gone now. “Young peo­ple don’t want an­tique dolls.” But there’s not much an­tique about Bar­bie. She keeps up with the times, though Kal­nay is happy to set­tle in the ’60s. She takes us to her base­ment to see a Coca-Cola soda foun­tain dis­play where Poo­dle Skirt Bar­bie, Waitress Bar­bie and Chef Ken time-shift to 1962.

Though prices for Bar­bies and Bar­bie ac­ces­sories are down from a high point in early 2000, Kal­nay loves buy­ing, sell­ing, trad­ing and gift­ing Bar­bie. She drove to Sauble Beach in her mint Ca­maro (she’s col­lected those too) to buy her sis­ter a Bar­bie car: an or­ange Austin Healey pro­duced in 1962.

For an­other friend, she gave up one of her favourites, a Bub­ble Cut talk­ing Bar­bie. “He’d given me Theatre Bar­bie and he wanted this one re­ally bad.” So off it went, in pris­tine con­di­tion and ready to chat. “I re­ally miss that doll. Once in a while I’ll call him and say ‘Can you play that for me one more time?’”


This Coca-Cola soda foun­tain with Waitress Bar­bie, Chef Ken and Poo­dle Skirt Bar­bie is one of Kel­nay’s favourites.

The first ever Bar­bie, pro­duced in 1959.

Vin­tage Bar­bies, from left: Skip­per, Talk­ing Bar­bie, Side Swirl Bar­bie, Pony­tail Bar­bie, Midge, Twist Bar­bie, Bub­ble Cut Bar­bie, Stacey, and three more Bub­ble Cut Bar­bies.


Jan­ice Kel­nay in her Stoney Creek home.

Wax doll circa 1848-1868, left, and an An­tique Par­ian bisque doll made in Ger­many circa 1860-1870.


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