Monday 8 February 2021

A child of the sixties


It was my birthday a few days ago, a strange one under the current restrictions, but quite fun nevertheless. It is only a couple of years until I turn sixty (my goodness, seeing that in print is odd!) so I thought this could be the perfect year to indulge my inner six year old girl by purchasing a doll from my childhood in the sixties to share with my little granddaughter, who also loves her dolls. My childhood was very traditionally filled with dollies, several precious soft toys and a big Chiltern Hugmee teddy bear, who sat on the end of my bed for many years (I also recall a box of toy cars including a Batmobile... my Dad's nod to the son he always wanted but never had I think!) I still have the softees, now rather floppity and threadbare and my Big Ted bear of course, but sadly my collection of dollies disappeared over time.

One of the dolls I particularly remember was Chatty Cathy, by Mattel. She was a rather glamorous blonde doll who wore a pink candy striped dress and smart black shoes. She spoke in short sentences when I pulled a cord on her back - that is until the day her words became more and more garbled, then completely indiscernible! Chatty Cathy was a precious Christmas gift from my Gran, sadly no longer with us... oh how I wish I had kept that special dolly to share with my own granddaughter!

The other doll I never forgot, was a large walking talking doll with short hair and a more robust, no nonsense appeal but after so many years apart, I couldn't remember her name. After a spot of frantic 'Googling' and more than fifty years later, I finally located her, or to be more accurate, her exact lookilikey. My Patti Pitta Pat 'The Electric Walking Doll', was waiting for me to claim her on Ebay! Such moments should always be born of impulse, so I threw adult caution and middle aged commonsense to the four winds and snapped her up before some other nostalgic child of the sixties did. By some miracle of sound, simple engineering, a couple of hefty D batteries and the good care of her previous owners, my Patti was soon toddling dutifully across the workroom carpet, arms outstretched, while I grinned broadly, brimful of nostalgia, much to the confusion of my husband. I can't wait to introduce Patti to my granddaughter on our next 'childcare bubble' day!

Lockdown birthday was an odd experience. Instead of the usual lounge full of family eating cake, I had time to take a private trip down Memory Lane, walk my dogs in the deep dark woods where the bauble tree grows and eat a cosy steak dinner with my husband and daughter. I met my mother in the pouring rain for a birthday walk a day earlier and received lovely messages, either in person or virtually, from my family throughout the day, so all in all, it turned out to be a not bad birthday, just a different one.

I very much hope that by next year, birthdays will be legally shared with loved ones once more but as a one-off, I don't mind telling you, this year's birthday turned out to be pretty good after all!


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