Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday: My Friend Dolls

I didn't have a My Friend Mandy when I was little.

I forgot I ever wanted one.

Then one night, while researching some unrelated Fisher Price toy on the internet, I found this wonderful website, and out of curiosity, clicked on the year "1977."  What Fisher Price products were out the year I was born?

And there she was.  In her pink dress and hat, looking like she was on her way to church.  I remembered her!  I'm almost positive a friend of mine had one.  And there were more of them, too.  A brunette.  A redhead.  I started combing the site, year by year.

My Friend Mandy was introduced by Fisher Price in 1977.  She wasn't a baby doll, but a doll meant to be a little girl's own age. She was given a friend, a brunette named My Friend Jenny, in 1979.  Three years later brought Becky into the fold.  And eventually, the dolls were redesigned, more were added, and that was the end.  (The cheerleader Mandy?  I know I remember her.  I know I missed her church dress, and I wasn't interested in the cheerleading doll.)

But back to the first three dolls.  How cute are they?  This commercial is from the early 1980s, after Becky was introduced.  Mandy and Jenny have new outfits, but that wasn't such a big deal.  You could buy new outfits for the dolls already, and they even came with real sewing patterns!

I never had a Mandy or Becky or Jenny of my own.  But...

I love eBay.  Because you know I have a doll now, don't you?  In fact, I have three. I bought a My Friend Mandy first.  Her hair is shorter, and she has the original pink rosebud body.  I'm not sure if her hair was cut, or if the earliest dolls had slightly shorter hair.  Anyway, this doll came with an assortment of clothes, although she has no tights or shoes.  And while I bought her for myself, she was immediately incorporated into the daughters' playthings.  When I found a great deal on a second Mandy doll, I pounced on her.  She's probably from 1979, judging from the yellow rosebuds on her body.  Our Jenny joined us soon after Mandy #2.  I set a low limit on what I'm willing to pay on eBay.  Becky has been difficult to find at our price limit.  She was a slightly later doll, and more Becky dolls seem to be in better condition.

I love Mandy's camping outfit and her awesome '70s coat.  Granted, I would rather have cords or khakis, instead of scratchy polyester pants.  But her plaid shirt!  And, oh, yes, the coat!  When I was little, my sister and I would imagine we had some sort of magic beam we could shine on our Barbies' clothes to make them grow to fit us.  I would love a magic beam to shine on Mandy's coat - for myself, of course.

I must take a moment now to once again express my love for vintage Fisher Price toys.  There is something about the design, the colors, the feel of these toys that make them so completely special.  I'm sure I'm seeing them through the rosy glasses of my own childhood experiences, but I think I could have shelves full of old Little People and pull toys and music box radios, and my house would be a very happy place.

And a big thanks to Big Sis, who took five of the photos used in this post (including some in the collage)!

[P.S.  On a completely unrelated note:  I have finally made a gmail account especially for this blog.  Contact info has been added to a new page.  Speaking of new, why yes, I re-designed!  I hope the blog looks a bit cleaner and easier-to-read now.]

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  1. I don't remember these dolls - they are so cute!! I love vintage toys too - I bought a Fisher Price chatter phone, an old-school Strawberry Shortcake, and a Mon-Chi-Chi for my daughters. Not to mention my old Cabbage Patch and Care Bear that I passed down from my childhood. Oh and my mom sewed a Herself the Elf for me when I was a kid- I still have that.

    1. My kids got my Cabbage Patch Kids. I couldn't find my Herself the Elf, so I had to get one off eBay. I think I only owned one Strawberry Shortcake as a child, and it was Mint Tulip. (We found Marsh Mallard, her little pet, at my grandma's.) I was irritated with the Strawberry Shortcake redesign, so I started collecting the old dolls off eBay, too.

      Come Halloween time, I have to post a picture of me as Apple Dumpling. My grandma's neighbor girl was Strawberry Shortcake. The costumes were those old plastic sacks with creepy masks - we look pretty frightening!

    2. It's in one of two places. I'm keeping an eye out for it. :o)

  2. OH my gosh I remember this doll! never had one but i recall the name! J and I were just talking about how "we" want a doll for Christmas this year with a whole bunch of clothes so we can change outfits a bunch! Cute cute!! YOU MUST post that pic! awesome!

    1. I've seen it around. I'm keeping an eye out for it! Those horrible plastic masks...


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