Flatsy Dolls and Other Toys of Our Youth

img_2297At Christmas dinner this year, we somehow got on the conversation of toys from our childhoods — those things we loved to play with when we were eight or nine. My mom, who grew up in the ‘50s, said she loved playing with a baton. My dad mentioned playing with “fort” type characters and setting them up to fight each other. My sister-in-law, who grew up in the Philippines in the ’70s, said that electronic games were a big hit when she was a kid. My brother was a big Legos fan, and also had an elaborate train set (set up with my parents) that sat on top of a ping-pong table. (My parents and my brother made hills and valleys and trees and bridges and tunnels for it – then we’d stand in the den watch the thing go.)


I, however, had Flatsy dolls. I had lots of other fun toys, too, but Flatsies definitely stand out in my memory – probably because you can’t find them any more. (I heard they were only made until about 1973.) We had them in two sizes – big (about the size of an adult palm) or small (about 2 inches high). They were rubbery, like Gumby, and you could change their clothes, which all had that sort of Mod ‘60s look. I guess they’d be like what is today a Polly Pocket, but for some reason they were flat! We collected lots of them, in many colors, and had clothes for each one. Some of their names were “Trixie” and “Candy,” as I recall. (Although I don’t remember if we named them that or if that’s the name that was given to them.) When we were eight or nine, Ann Marie and I would play for hours with these dolls. We’d bounce them around the couch and the floor and make up elaborate soap-opera-type dramas that only an eight-year-old can concoct.


Interestingly, my mom kept a few (in the photo above). Maybe I’ll frame them. I wish I had their clothes, though!


What toys do you remember playing with most when you were eight or nine? Do you still have any of them?



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11 thoughts on “Flatsy Dolls and Other Toys of Our Youth

  1. Wow, I don’t even remember hearing about Flatsies – maybe because I had boys and they were more into Star Wars stuff.

    My comment is not about the toys I played with (though those would fall into the dolls-and-clothes girly category) but instead is about the very last toy I asked for.

    For some reason when I was about 11 years old I got it in my mind that I wanted a pogo stick! Don’t know where I’d seen one or why I wanted it so bad, but it was the one thing that I remember wanting SOOOO bad. My Mom thought it would have been too dangerous, so it didn’t appear under the Christmas tree. But about 15 years later when I was pregnant with our first son, my Mom thought it would be fun to get me that pogo stick. She didn’t do it but told me she had thought long and hard about it. Did they somehow become safer in the intervening years? Would it have been safer for a 7 months pregnant woman to use? Or would it have just been funnier! Never did get that toy and I think I blew my last chance at it.

    Hmmm – I think our grandkids are going to get a pogo stick!!

  2. Helene, that’s a great story! And I think your grandkids are going to have to wrestle that pogo stick away from Crazy Hoppin’-Down-the-Sidewalk Grandma, too!!! I can just see it now …

  3. Hi, Grace! Hmmm … no, I don’t remember Fashion Plates. Early ’80s? Sounds like a paper-doll thing. …

  4. Gosh, how come we didn’t have Flatsies in the Midwest, those look like they’d have been hours of fun!

    I loved my spirograph, I think I had two sets of them, wore the first one out (really, I think I lost all the little round, disc thingies) and my lite brite.

    I know my Mom kept that lite brite for many years after I was grown, it was probably sold at a yard sale or given to Goodwill.

    Gee, there seemed to have been a pattern, small parts to fun toys….bet my parents loved it when I left a piece lying on the floor and they stepped on it in their bare feet 😉

    I don’t think my brother or I even wondered of an electronic game, let alone play one; or if they were even in existance.

  5. Darlene, yes, we played with those same things! Spirograph and Lite-N-Brite were big hits in our house. I can just imagine our parents with reams and reams of paper with those Spirograph designs on them!!! I mean, how many planet-ring-type designs can you possibly hang on a fridge??? Thanks for the memory! : )

  6. Hot Wheels! I was (OK, I still am) a big fan of “Smokey and The Bandit” and my favorite Hot Wheel was the black Trans-Am just like the Bandit’s. Looking back, it was a really boring toy as it didn’t do anything but roll and with those plastic wheels it didn’t even do that well but back then I didn’t even care. Oh, I loved the Star Wars action figures too. I remember when the toys actually shot little projectiles that you lost behind the sofa or swallowed. Ah, the good old days…

  7. http://www.inthe80s.com/toys/fashionplates.shtml

    Here are Fashion Plates. You picked a top and bottom, like a blouse and a skirt and they were these raised plates you put together in the compartment. Put a paper over it, take this crayon and rub over it to make a drawing of the outfit. Then you replace the outfit plates with other plates that have all these raised fabric patterns on them, like plaid and polka dots and then then you rub the crayon over the paper to get the fabric texture and then color it!

  8. Thanks, Grace, for that link! That’s a fun spot to visit. I clicked around in the “inthe80s” part, then in the “inthe70s” part — both fun to visit. Your Fashion Plates sound like lots of fun — I would’ve loved those when I was a kid! While you were making lovely fashions with your multicolored pencils, Darlene and I were just making ballpoint-blue-pen circles with the Spirograph, apparently! ha, ha …

  9. Pingback: FLATSIES AND OTHER TOYS OF YOUR YOUTH « Mizwrite’s Blog

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