Mimi grew up in Co Wicklow in the 1960s. She received a Sindy doll as a 7th birthday present from her parents. For the following few years on birthdays in September, at Christmas, on getting her BCG vaccinations*, and during a spell in the children’s hospital to have her tonsils removed, she received further Sindy items, which were her main imaginative play items in childhood. Sindy was modern, and different from Mimi’s other toys and clothes, in that they weren’t hand-me-downs from cousins, resized to fit. Sindy’s clothing, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and leisure sets were so different to anything at the time that Mimi could even have imagined existed, and led to her interest in fashion, (starting with designing, knitting and crocheting clothing for her Sindy), interiors, and discovering the world in her adult career as an air hostess with Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national airline.
Mimi says that she was also the proud owner of a wooden tennis racquet, a bouncing ball, a wooden hockey stick, a plastic hoop, Chinese elastic jumps, a wood handled skipping rope, hard plastic clackers, leather roller-skates, a big baby doll, a plush donkey from Spain, a compendium of board games, a yearly (Christmas) annual, a metal scooter, and a bike with a basket to help her mum with the ‘messages’, shopping in her village at the butchers, grocers, bakery, chemist shop, or delivering items to be repaired to the cobblers, collecting and returning books to the library, posting letters and parcels from the post office, or bringing a homemade apple or rhubarb pie, or a bottle of Lucozade around to a neighbours house when someone was ill.
Mimi, like lots of her friends, also did a lot of baby ‘minding’ from around 8 years of age. This mostly involved wheeling babies out and about in their prams for fresh air, and payment never factored.
*Sindy, Paul and Patch:
**BCG vaccinations and Dorothy Stopford Price: https://w.wiki/8txj
McAllister Collection. Donated to the Museum of Childhood Ireland in 2020.