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Sunday, November 14, 2010

A trip back to childhood with an old friend...

I recently had cause to buy a young niece a birthday present and lacking both time and imagination, I gave in and decided to buy some "clothes" for her large collection of Barbies. I had fond memories of my own childhood companion, Sindy and thought the many Barbies could probably do with a change of outfit or two. I was horrified to find the choice on sale was extremely limited and basically came down to "sexy nurse Barbie" or "hooker Barbie". I opted for the latter - very short glittery skirts and tops and high heels - and had a delighted niece.

Sindy in her "country walk" outfit"
It gave me a moment of nostalgia for my own beloved Sindy, her boyfriend Paul and little sister Patch, who still reside in a box at the top of my cupboard. My Sindy had endless outfits of great respectability - including a tweed skirt and suede jacket and sensible lace up shoes - for "country walks", a proper nurses outfit (yes Sindy was the nurse, Paul was the doctor - this was the 1960s), riding jodphurs with a hacking jacket (alas despite many hints Santa never provided the horse!), a puffy ski jacket with down trim...and so on. Her party outfit, a pink mini dress with kitten heel shoes was the sexiest poor Sindy got.

In an endeavour to procrastinate while studying for an exam on Corporate Finance, I found myself trawling the web in search of Sindy. (All I can say is I am grateful the internet did not exist when I had to do exams seriously! My diversion in those days were endless games of patience - played with ACTUAL cards. Yes Virginia...that's what we used to in the old days.)

I discovered a world of Sindy collectors out there in internet land and from their comprehensive web pages, I learned that my beloved auburn haired Sindy with her striped "matelot" jumper and jeans and red "Alice" band must have been one of the early models - certainly between 1963 and 1968 (when she grew her hair). Poor Sindy wasn't terribly robust and did not survive all the clothes she was routinely changed in and out of and her head broke off. Mum dutifully elastoplasted it back on again and the repair still survives - just as well as it would now cost over $250 to find the same model in mint condition. Patch also lost her head. Paul managed to keep his but I suspect he was not played with quite as much.

It got me thinking what a microsom of history my Sindy was with her tweed skirt and her pink party dress. Mum (God bless her!) added to her wardrobe with delicate hand made outfits - all so wonderfully 1960s! My grandmother had a lovely wax doll from her childhood called "Priscilla" with whom I was allowed to play on very special occasions. She had beautiful hand stitched clothes and sheets for her turned wooden bed. I wonder if I ever a grand daughter I will produce Sindy or if the new generation will turn up their noses at such silly, dated toys.

Just a couple of the Sindy sites:

Do you have a special toy from your childhood that still lives with you? Any other Sindy girls out there?


  1. Oh Alison, you bring it all back. Just about all my friends had a Sindy and I was desperate for one. In those days, of course, you didn't get something just because you asked for it (listening kids?). I remember every afternoon walking home from school (yes, another blast from the past, the 7 yr old who could walk home unaccompanied) fantasising that there'd be a Sindy waiting for me. I had to wait until my birthday but I loved that doll. And we made outfits as well .
    I also had a Mouseketeer doll (still have her). Very kitsch and cute.

  2. Alison, I'm another Sindy girl--this certainly brings back memories. Mine had dark hair and came with the outfit same as in the box you show. Like you, I had the nurse outfit (with a starchy veil and little frilled cuffs if I remember correctly) and the horse riding outfit I also had the pink party dress and the baby doll pjs pictured on the box. Best of all, and I still remember it well, I had the plaid skirt, black top and black kitten heels. I still think it looks elegant!
    I recreated that outfit for myself a few years later (minus the headscarf) only with a short skirt and black tights.
    I came home from university one vacation to find my mother had given away all my dolls. I was most upset, I would have liked to have kept Sindy.
    I have a cat named Cindy now--not sure how she got to be spelled with the C!

  3. Oh, Kandy! What sort of cruel mother would give away her daughter's dolls? One of the reasons I was trawling the net was to see if I could find a replacement Sindy (one without a neck brace!) but I think I love the one I have, elastoplast and all. Looking at the websites it looks like I have all the original outfits (including the one you mentioned - got to love those winkle picker toes and kitten heels!). Looking at Ebay they are probably worth a bit to a collector these days. Mum gave me the Sindy wardrobe and while, like Louise, I yearned and hankered for more Sindy paraphenalia (particularly that horse!) they were never forthcoming!

    I never bonded with Paul - probably because his hair was just moulded plastic but he had a great "beatnik" suit with the wide collar and thin tie - apparently he was named after Paul McCartney.

    The detail in the accessories was stunning. Patch's school uniform came with a satchel, pencils and an exercise book with real pages. They were wonderful.

    I am horrified at the image projected by the current dolls - apart from "tarty Barbie" those ghastly Bratz dolls are just plain evil!