Mandy and I were constant companions for several years. We played together, slept together and traveled together. I washed and combed her hair. I selected her outfit and dressed her each morning. And I put her in her nightie at night and tucked her into bed. I think we met when I was five years old and we were still talking when I was twelve. We talked about everything.
On my Mum’s advice, I kept Mandy and all her clothes. It felt silly when I was a teenager. “I’m too grown up to have a doll.” I protested. The box of Mandy and her things felt like a burden when I reached university. “Keep her safe.” advised my Mum. She was right.
I’m so glad I have Mandy. She, like my other treasured mementos, sparks joy. She triggers many memories both good and sad. I remember happy adventures together on airplanes and in hotels. I also remember sad moments when only Mandy could console me. The rituals of our daily routine helped ease pain.
Mandy is a My Friend doll from Fisher-Price. She’s the original doll in the series (#210) with the pink rosebuds on her fabric torso. Later models had yellow rosebuds. My Friend Mandy was followed by My Friend Becky, My Friend Jenny, My Friend Mikey and My Friend Nicky. Each doll came with an outfit and a dozen different looks were sold separately. There’s a robust collectors market for the dolls and outfits on Ebay, Etsy and doll collector sites.
My Mandy has the sporty look for hiking.
And a more professional look for business meetings.
And a home-made apron for housekeeping.
My Nana made this apron for Mandy and an identical little girl sized apron for me.
At a time when many families made their own clothes, Fisher-Price facilitated homemade additions to the My Friend dolls’ wardrobes. Most pre-made outfit packages included a pattern for an additional garment or accessory. Fisher-Price also collaborated with McCall’s to publish sewing patterns for My Friend size doll clothes. The pattern is McCall’s 9167, if you’re looking for a second hand one. A book of patterns, Four Seasons Fashions for My Friend Dolls, was also published.
Mandy and I were lucky that my Nana was a skilled seamstress. She made these outfits.
I have two lingering questions.
- Does Mandy remember my baby doll?
- Do any of my friends also have a treasured My Friends doll?