(Above – My first ever Sindy doll!)
I got my first ever Sindy doll when I was four years old. I actually remember getting her… I recall standing in the shop and staring up at the glossy boxes of dolls. It was freezing cold weather outside and I remember being cold and wet. Then the next minute, all was wonderful in the world as I was holding one of these magical boxes with a beautiful brunette Sindy doll gazing out at me from behind the acetate. Oh the joy!
I wonder if my mum realised what she was starting when she bought me that first Sindy doll. Between 1980 and 1986 I went crazy for all things Sindy! My dark haired, maxi-dressed Sindy was joined by a blonde ballerina Sindy the following Christmas. She was extra special as she had bendy elbows and moveable hands. I always remember looking at the box and reading the words “fully poseable”. She also had extra lush eyelashes!
The Sindy collection came on thick and fast after that. No one had to ask what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas. It was obvious.
I was even savvy enough would you believe to trawl through our local newspaper’s free ads pages called ‘Under a Fiver’! Every Saturday I would look through for all things Sindy that were £1 or £2 and then put a little dot next to them. Next job was to put said newspaper page under my dad’s nose… I was pretty fortunate that my parents were clearly impressed enough by my thrifty nature that I acquired a lot of my Sindy collection this way. I remember going to so many different houses where there would be a young girl a few years older than me who had decided that she had outgrown the wonderful world of Sindy. She would hand over a box of dolls and furniture while gleefully pocketing her couple of pounds.
However, the best Sindy items arrived courtesy of Father Christmas. The most notable Christmas present – and ah, I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about this – was the three-storey town house I received in 1984. The joy of seeing that huge house on Christmas morning will never leave me! The lift, the balcony… Sindy had such a great house. Actually, her whole life was pretty amazing! Her days were full of ballet lessons and gymkhanas. She could go anywhere in her caravan whenever she wanted. She had a beach buggy. She had a pool! And as for her wardrobe… She had some wonderful outfits. From beach-ware to dinner dresses, from smart English tweed to ball gowns, Sindy had an outfit for every occasion.
My Sindy dolls were particularly lucky in that they got to live a double life. Sometimes they left their life of luxury behind and went on an adventure with my brother’s action men in their tank or their moon buggy.
One thing I have noticed from discussing Sindy with friends of a similar age is that you were either a Sindy girl or a Barbie girl.
I did have a few Barbie dolls. I had Skipper too. And Ken! They lived with the Sindy dolls – Ken and Sindy even dated for a short spell – but it was never quite right. While Barbie dolls were undoubtedly glamorous, I was never quite as fond of them. Looking back, I can see that Sindy had much more of a wholesome image. The shoes were a fantastic example of that. Sindy wore chunky shoes, sensible sandals and riding boots. Most Barbie dolls wore pointy pink stilettos. I wasn’t altogether sold on Barbie’s perma-smile either. Sindy’s expression was far more inscrutable!
So, back to my vast Sindy collection. At some point in the last 1980s, I decided that I was far too grown up to have the Sindy house in my bedroom. I remember cringing when I invited a new friend round, thinking that she would think I was horribly uncool to still have all these dolls. They had to go. I didn’t care where they went to. The irony is that I think they ended up for sale on the ‘Under a Fiver’ free ads page in the Saturday paper…
Oh, the regret!
As a mum of a little girl myself, I have often told her about my amazing Sindy collection. I would have absolutely loved to pass it all on to her. The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing!
And of course, sentimentality aside, I can’t help but notice that vintage Sindy items are now selling for quite a high price. There is a part of me that would love to re-build my Sindy collection but the prices prohibit me from allowing this act of self indulgence. Probably a good thing!
Instead, I’ll make do with the big plastic bag of Sindy dolls and clothes that are all that remain of my collection. Unfortunately, some Sindys have suffered rather radical haircuts. Most are wearing odd shoes. Their days of glory in their fabulously furnished three-storey house are but a distant memory for them.
However, they are still as precious to me as they were all those years ago. While their exciting glossiness may have worn off, they hold such magical memories.
When I hold my brunette Sindy in her long blue dress – the self same doll I held in the shop that cold winter day 35 years ago – it connects me to all those wonderful, nostalgic memories of childhood. For that reason, she is just as magical now as she was then.
Thank you for reading x
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