Sunday, March 1, 2009

Doll and woman make milestones together

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Barbie's lived half a century.
And Hilde Cort of Temple has been living right along beside her.
She has about 50 Barbies, and each one represents a different phase of her life.
'They're all very special to me,' Mrs. Cort said. 'I keep them in my office with my computer, so I can look at them every time I work on something.'
The doll that launched her collection was the 1992 Pinstripe Power Barbie.
'I had to buy it as soon as I saw it,' Mrs. Cort said. 'Because I had a business suit just like the one she has on. It's the one I wore to work most of the time. I was a business executive for 30 years.'
She purchased that doll 12 years ago, and that was the only hint her grandchildren needed. She's been getting Barbies as gifts ever since. And she's been buying them as the mood strikes.
'But not just any Barbie,' Mrs. Cort said. 'They all represent something about me.' The Benefit Ball Barbie refers her 20-year tenure as a volunteer for the Cultural Activities Center in Temple. She's a member of its fund-raising group, the Contemporaries.
'And they have a ball every year,' Mrs. Cort said. 'And everybody always gets dressed up in gowns like the one Barbie's wearing.'
She has the Wedding Barbie because she's a wife and mom.
'The Ken and son set is especially special,' Mrs. Cort said. 'My first husband's name was Ken, and we had a son together. So it's sentimental.'
Another special one is the Irish Princess Barbie. It's a testament to her ancestry.
'My great-great grandmother was the daughter of the Earl of Courtown of Gorey, Ireland,' Mrs. Cort said. 'So I am kind of an Irish princess. My girl cousin and I used to joke that we'd run off and live in our castle.'
Her family's castle was destroyed at the time of World War II, but a manor house still stands on the property. Mrs. Cort said she was able to visit it in May 2008.
'It was so beautiful,' Mrs. Cort said. 'Everything you'd imagine it to be.'
And since traveling is a big part of Mrs. Cort's life, she's got several location Barbies in her collection. The Hula Hair Barbie is for Hawaii, and Rockette Barbie is for New York.
'I go see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular every Christmas,' Mrs. Cort said. 'So New York's a big deal to me. I love Broadway. As a matter of fact, I've got a Swan Lake Barbie for that.'
Her Barbies also give hint to her favorite activities and holidays. There's a Craft Barbie, a Christmas Morning Barbie, a Halloween Barbie and a Pom Pom Diva Barbie.
'I was on the dance team in high school,' Mrs. Cort explained. 'We were called the Pep Steppers.'
Even Mrs. Cort's Barbie accessories have special significance.
'There's shoes because I love shoes,' she said. 'The yellow raincoat I had one like it. It was a favorite style of the 1970s. And the full turquoise Barbie outfit is identical to the one I wore when I met my second husband, Carl.'
Mrs. Cort's family applauds her collection efforts.
'I think it's really cool how she's doing it,' said grandson Adam Graves, 15, of Omaha, Neb. 'The Barbies show her life, they show everything that's been fun and important.'

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