This article originally ran in 2020, but we're sharing it again today in honor of "National Barbie Day."
Charlie Powell is a professional landscaper, but he says he never wants to take his profession too seriously. Thus, for over a decade Powell has incorporated dozens of Barbie Dolls into the heavily-planted and soon-to-be-blooming front yard of his Bay View home.
The Barbies are usually dressed or painted to reflect the season – there are zombie and demon Barbies for Halloween, Christmas Barbies in December and so on. But this year, instead of dressing the Barbies as bunnies for Easter, Powell affixed tiny masks to their faces to represent the spring of coronavirus.
Some of the masked dolls are riding plastic yard flamingoes, others are holding martini glasses and enjoying a not-so-socially-distanced happy hour. All of them are topless.
"About 10 or 12 years ago it occurred to me that I live in Bay View and so we can get away with weird stuff in our yard," says Powell.
Powell’s good-natured neighbors refer to the dolls as "Charlie’s Angels" and now have a a pink flamingo and a doll or two in their yard, too.
"I landscaped their yard and, as a joke, I put a flamingo and dolls in it when I was done," says Powell. "But they left them there and said that they actually like 'em."
Originally, Powell bought a bunch of knock-off Barbie dolls at a Dollar Store in Gurnee Mills because they were on sale for a nickel. Since then, people have donated and gifted Barbies to him, and today he has hundreds in his possession.
"It’s just quirky," says Powell.
People stop by at all times of the day and night to photograph the yard Barbies, but Powell says his displays are most popular with kids.
"Parents have told me they have to go blocks out of their way because their kids want to see what the Barbies are up to," says Powell. "I tell them this is where Barbies go to live out the rest other lives and to be happy."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.