Blame It On The Honey Hill Bunch.

From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a writer. Writing was a natural progression for me, from abc’s and learning to read. I never chose to be a writer, or thought about it consciously; it just was. It was like, I am, therefore I write.

By age six, I was making up stories and writing them down or acting them out with dolls such as the ones below.

The Honey Hill Bunch

I can’t believe I’ve kept these dolls all these years. I just turned 43 (on the birthday that I happen to share with Ernest Hemingway) and I started collecting these dolls at ages nine and ten. Many winter saucer and sledding afternoons were forsaken to shovel the neighbors’ driveways and walkways, saving up for the next doll.

When I found them this morning in an old wicker trunk filled with some of my (unedited) writing and poetry, I was transported back in time. Plus, they made me laugh. What a long, strange trip it’s been, from then to now. I would have to say they are one of my most prized possessions.

The hairstyles are a little smushed and the clothing is missing, having become hand-me-downs to other dolls over the years, like kids in a real family. However, overall, the dolls remain in good shape.

Cliffhanger.

Now that I think about it, I gave the littlest doll a haircut.

There are things that have remained constant throughout my life: I love to write, I love to read, and I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The Honey Hill Bunch is another. I’m so glad that, through all the life changes and moves in between, the dolls are still with me.

I tell myself, so what if you’re a writer on Query Road, plying your trade for free, unable to hook an agent to date but enjoying every word? Now I know who to blame — it was the dolls, I tell you! Blame it on the Honey Hill Bunch! Blame it on the adventures they took me upon!

I just found the time capsule — oops, I mean, site — below, and it gave me goosebumps!  

Click here: Mattel’s Honey Hill Bunch 

Much like Steph’s goosebumps from similar time travel episodes:

Click here: BEST. FIND. EVER. « In Other Words 

And, I just realized that there are three Honey Hill Bunch dolls I didn’t have! I better start my list for Santa ASAP.

Oh, the stories these dolls could tell …

“We’re all neighborhood friends,

so we really stick together. See.

We can even hold hands! We meet in

our Clubhouse to plan fun things to

do … C’mon, there’s room for you!”

(From the back of the Honey Hill Bunch box. What’s not to love?)

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53 Responses

  1. LOL!! Too cute! I don’t remember these girls at all! I wonder if we had them in Canada. I never actually played with dolls though. My sisters had paper dolls and later on people gave them Cabbage Patch Kids, but as for me, all I ever wanted was books. I wasn’t good at playing by myself or with others!!

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying this trip down memory lane. And thanks for the link! 🙂

  2. Wait – now that I went on the site, they do look vaguely familiar…I’m not sure! We may have had them, too…

  3. Hi Em,

    That must have been so neat finding those dolls after so many years. They are so darn cute! I can literally see the happiness on your face. Your posts always make me feel joyful. Thank you for that. 🙂

    This post also made me think of my own toys that I used to set stories to when I was a kid. You’ve just inspired me to write my own post about them. I think I will tomorrow. For now, it’s back to Novel Working Time.

    Btw- from another peanut butter lover-ever have peanut butter/pickle sandwiches? Don’t laugh- they are to die for! (sliced dill are the best)

    take care,
    Tasha

  4. Hey Steph!

    These dolls are little things, more like figures than what I’d call doll-dolls.

    Made me smile reading “playing with dolls”. It’s more like the dolls were the actors and actresses for the stories I made up in my head.

    As for reading, I too was a bookworm, always with a book in my hand, reading everywhere I went. : ) I still am, really, although I don’t have as much time as I once did.

    Books remain one of my all time favorite things in life.

    Em

  5. Hi Tasha. : )

    It WAS pretty cool, finding those dolls. I was outside giggling as I posed them in a scene to take photographs for the blog. It was exactly what I would’ve done as a child, as a new adventure unfolded. : )

    Hooray! I can’t wait to read your post on your toys. : )

    I also hope your writing is going well!

    The pickle and pb sandwich sounds interesting! I will definitely try it out.

    I grew up with a grandmother who got us kids hooked on banana sandwiches — white bread, Hellman’s mayo and sliced banana — and I still love them.

    Em : )

  6. I did a search on these dolls (a fond memory of mine) and came across your blog. Thanks for sharing.
    I used to love the Honeyhill club.. The clubhouse was awesome!

  7. Hello to a fellow Honey Hill Buncher! : )

    It’s a fond memory for me, too. I *loved* those dolls. I received one for Christmas at nine or so, and I actually remember reading the jingle on the back of the box.

    They’re pretty cute dolls and would probably fare well even in 2009. So funny all these years later, to have a link with other Honey Hill fans.

    You were so lucky to have the clubhouse!

    Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment. : ) I hope your holidays were wonderful,

    Em

  8. Hello there.
    Your post made me grin with pride and understanding. Normally, I refrain from commenting on blogs; however, I just had to say hello to you because you are such a kindred spirit. I too LOVE the Honey Hill Bunch dolls, and I too am a writer. These dolls were inspirational in so many ways. Like you, I wrote stories from the first moment I could talk. I wrote them even before I could read–my mom transcribed them for me. Isn’t that funny. Imagine my sweet mom taking dictation from a two-year-old child. I owe so much to the Honey Hill Bunch girls. They became the actors for my tales. I loved them because they were children and because they were all so different–representing diverse cultural backgrounds and interests. Recently, I found my dolls (Slugger was my alter ego), and I am constructing a diorama / shadowbox art piece in which to display the–sort of a tribute to the Honey Hill Bunch girls. Anyway, I found your blog when I was researching their history. Thanks for posting this. It is so good to know that someone else out there benefited from these lovely girls. Happy writing!
    Kelly

  9. Thank you, Kelly, for your comment and for visiting my blog!

    It made my day. : )

    I’m sorry I didn’t answer sooner, but I’ve had some pressing deadlines and have been editing night and day.

    It made me smile to think I wasn’t the only one who had the dolls acting out stories. I, too, liked the Honey Hill Bunch because they were children. I was never a Barbie fan for that reason, unless you counted Skipper.

    And you’re a writer, too. : )

    Good luck with all your writing endeavors. And thank you so much for leaving a comment, when you normally don’t. I loved it. : )

    Em

  10. I too owned the honey hill bunch and their club house. They were some of my favorite dolls. I don’t know what happened to them over the years, but I think I still have lil kid’s dog and slugger’s bat lying around somewhere in my jewelry box. I am in the process now of trying to find some again ..they are some of my most precious memories from childhood.

  11. What is it with Honey Hills and writers? Someone (not me) should conduct a correlation study. Anyway, I was never a girly-girl and not too much a fan of the dolls back in the formative years. Dolls sat around in ridiculous clothes; the high point of their day was eating green goop and pooping it out again. The Honey Hills, on the other hand, were burning up the road in the Ricketty Rig. They got locked in the mall overnight and set up a water slide in the coin fountain. They were masters of disguise, ever outwitting adults who wanted to put L’il Kid in an orphanage. I.Q. devised a machine that COULD TURN ANY DRINK INTO CHERRY KOOL-AID! The Bunch laughed in the face of lima beans and packed up the clubhouse and moved to California when they had a fight with their best friend. They NEVER had to wear lime-green cullottes with red-yellow-blue rickrack trim. They are my favorite toys ever and they have the dirt and grime of countless adventures. All hail the Honey Hills. (Except Sweetlee. Sweetlee really got on my nerves.)

  12. Thank you, Amy, and thank you, BrownEyedRedheadGirl, for stopping by and for your comments. : )

    When I look at my stats, I’m continuously surprised at just how many people are actually googling the Honey Hill Bunch dolls. Who knew! There wasn’t even an internet when the dolls first came out, and yet, so many people have a soft spot for the dolls and are looking them up on the internet.

    And yes, many seem to be writers! Very interesting.

    Em

  13. I’m here to join the fan fare – After all of these years, I still hear the theme song in my head. “I’ve got a hunch, it’s the Honey Hill Bunch. The Honey Hill Bunch and the Rickety Rig!” Last week I dug through my parents house, after a night celebrating my 40th birthday, and found mine. I can’t believe the gingerbread and dog attachments are still around. And I’m even more thrilled to find so many people have the same warm memories of creating adventures for our velcro friends.

    PS> For the survey’s sake, I’m not another writer, but I am an artist.

  14. Welcome to the Honey Hill party, Jackie!

    I know! — I couldn’t believe I still had the frog and dog attachments, myself. However, I have a theory: I think I used to put the attachments aside, so the dolls could better hold hands. That’s also why they’re so clean.

    Thank you for reading, stopping by and commenting. : )

    Since you’ve joined the discussion, I think we have to expand “writers” who had the Honey Hill Bunch, to ARTISTS, to encompass us all.

    Just last week I clicked the link in the post that leads to the H. H. Bunch’s doll page, and went to the webpage’s home and the list of dolls through the years, from the twenties or thirties and on, and saw more blasts from the past — the Droopy doll, and Liddle Kiddles gave me instant recognition — and Holly Hobby, which my little sister loved.

    Em

  15. My grandmother bought me the first doll, Darlin, on a trip to New Jersey when I was four years old. I had a few others too. My cousin and I talk about them all the time. I kept my dolls in great condition. I wish I saved all my dolls. These dolls were the best.

  16. Hi Kelly!

    Thank you for stopping by, for reading and for your comment. : )

    These dolls *were* the best. I wish I’d collected the whole lot of them! Lots of fond memories, whenever I take them out.

    Never thought all these years later, they’d be a point of uniting strangers. Love that. It’s wonderful to meet another person who loves the dolls like I do. : )

    Hope you have a great Holiday Season. Keep safe and warm!

    Em

  17. I had the whole collection. ANd I loved them! I love them still! I no longer have the accessories or their original clothes. At some point in my childhood, I made costumes for the whole set, turning them into the Christmas characters. And now, years later, I still have them, packed away in the Advent box. Every year my two daughters love unpacking the Advent box, and the HoneyHill Bunch are among the first things they play with. In fact, I just spent a few minutes helping my 6 year old daughter put the clothes and head coverings back on them. Ah, memories.

  18. I thought I’d answered this; sorry for taking so long!

    That sounds so sweet, that the dolls are in the Advent box! Awwww! It must be wonderful memories each Christmas. : )

    I still find it funny, all these years later, and before there was an internet, how so many of us had and remember these dolls so fondly, and are discussing them now, online, as grown-ups!

    Each day I’m surprised by how many hits I get with the search term “Honey Hill Bunch dolls”.

    Nice to meet another fan, and thank you so much for visiting, and for your comment. : )

    Em

  19. I just found mine the other day. I have Sweetlee and Lil Kid. They still have their clothes and “toys” with them. I did not know who many were made and would love to find them. But I am thrilled with the two I have.

    Glad to see others enjoyed them as much as I did…still do. 🙂

  20. Hi Debs.

    Thanks for stopping by, and for reading. : )

    It’s wild when you think about the fact that there was no internet when many of us rec’d these dolls, and now, here we are talking about them online.

    I loved them, too. Wish they’d make a comeback.

    Em

  21. I’m pretty sure mine are still around somewhere, too! Found your blog just for the fact I was “Googling” “Honey Hill Bunch”! I had Darlin’, Lil’ Kid and Sweetlie. Wish I could find the jingle-remember it but not all the words. Just the “I’ve got a hunch-it’s the Honey Hill Bunch!”

    Glad I’m not the only one who still remembers these!

  22. Dang! I don’t remember the whole jingle either. : )

    Thanks for stopping by the blog, and thanks for commenting!

    Makes me smile, how much we all loved these dolls, and then connecting through this post all these years later.

    I wish they’d issue the dolls again.

    Em

  23. I too am a writer with fond memories of these little dolls. Barbies were too obsessed with clothes and looks for me and as a homely bookish little girl, she just never appealed. The HHB were dolls I could buy with my piddly allowance, and I concocted all sorts of amazing adventures just like Brown-eyed-red-haired-girl. My Dad built this amazing 11 room dollhouse for them and they put on awesome talent shows lipsyncing to the Dumbditties LPs to raise their own funds for their “orphanage” were grownups were conspicuous in their absence. When I grew too old for them, our maid’s little girl got them and the dollhouse she loved so much!

  24. I’m so glad I found your blog! I was doing a search on Honeyhill Bunch, was just thinking about them. They were my favorites from my childhood, along with my Cindy doll (a non Barbie) and my Barbie dream house (the enormous one with two stories). I got HHB at about nine or ten (I’m 40 now) and renamed them with people’s names. They were all buddies. They also inspired me to write stories based on the family drama I created for them. I do miss these dolls and wish I’d kept both them and my stories.

  25. I FOUND THEM! Going through old boxes I found my friends wrapped in paper. No worse for wear but brought an immediate smile and rumble of a giggle. They were my cherished friends growing up. Thanks!

  26. Hooray! They were my cherished friends, too! : )

    Em

  27. My mom has them. She got it off of eBay. We make lot of adventures. One time, we made a story about them having a sleepover, which turns out there’s a ghost in their clubhouse.
    Also, we made a story about IQ making a transporter. I will make a story about IQ making a time machine. We might make one about…them going on a hunt. For Lil’ Kid, who was kidnapped. Our first story was about them, their clubhouse, the Rickety Rig, and the Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Palour.
    I love them…so does my mom.

  28. Thanks so much for reading and for your comment. : )

    I know I’ve said it already, but it continues to amaze me how many people love(d) these dolls, and still do, all these years later!

    I wish they’d reissue them!

    Em

  29. OMG! Was just chatting to my Mum about the HHB & came across your site…I too have fond memories of them, unfortunately I don’t have them anymore, I don’t know what happened too them…probably ended up with one of my neices. My Mum bought me a heap of them for Christmas when I was about 8 or 9. I loved them…I’m now nearly 42 & still have gr8 memories of them, didn’t realise others new about them too! I’m now going to ebay to do a search 🙂 Merry Christmas to you!!

  30. I hope your holidays were wonderful, Karen! : )

    As always, I can’t believe how many people loved these dolls!

    Em

  31. Today I’m making a story about the “Orange Cart Tornament,” you know, the cart that said oranges? Lil’ Kid was the first! 🙂
    Then, some guy named “Black demon” POSSESSED the Honey Hill Bunch. 😦 Except IQ. So IQ has to save them all.

  32. I know this post is ancient, but I happened by on a websearch, and your story could have been mine (down to the haircut)! The Honey Hill Bunch were my favorites, and oh the stories they could tell. Sadly, I don’t have my old friends anymore – I hope someday to find “replacements” somewhere. Thanks for bringing back that fond reminder of the past. 🙂

  33. Oh I have them all…. STILL… in a box at my mum and dad’s (I’m an aussie, ever so slightly younger than you according to your post date)… I too used to write stories about my honey hill bunch and recently found them in all their bright texta glory in ragged covered exercise books! I’m just a little confused as I found on another site that I.Q. was supposed to be a girl! My sister and I both assigned I.Q. a male!! What good living neighbourhood only has two boy children? Oh and I had their club house too… and not sure if you can remember ‘The Sunshine Family’ but they were the ‘parents’ of Darlin’ and Lil’Kid in my games and they lived in their wagon with a baby sister… they were gypsies 😀

  34. I love them.
    They made a machine for Miss Brockmeyer.
    I.Q. made a new flavor of ice cream.
    They raised funds, at late night, in a mall.
    When Solo and Lil’ Kid went to I.Q.’s lab, the gang went into a time warp.
    The Bunch found out that their tree was alive.
    They got tied up in their tire swing.
    They came up with a wacky plan to save Li’ Kid.
    They’re the best.

  35. Aww, so glad to bring a warm blast from the past your way.

    I remain amazed at how many hits this post gets daily — how many people loved these dolls! : )

    Thanks, Jamie, for your comment and for stopping by.

    Em

  36. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jo! : )

    How cool, to find those old stories.

    And OMG, the Sunshine Family! I had those too, now that I think about it! Haven’t thought about those dolls in decades.

    Too funny!

    Em

  37. LOL!

    Another HHB lover amongst us! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Danielle. It’s crazy how many of us loved these dolls! Even crazier, all these years later, discussing them online!

    Em

  38. i threw the honey hills out the window last month LOL good dog is rescued! 😀

  39. What stories did you make with them and found, Em?

  40. I can’t remember, exactly what stories. When I was little, I had a collection of little dolls and animal figures and I was always using them for stories during my free or play time. : )

    Em

  41. Em, did I.Q. make any machines in your stories? Like a time machine…if so, please tell what times did they go back and forward to?

  42. : ) nope! No time machines that I can remember.

    Em

  43. Have you ever heard of She-Ra, leftywritey? I want a Perfuma doll. (:

  44. No! But you’d be surprised the old toys you can find online. I found Mattel Zoolery — a necklace I had when I was five!

  45. I have a few Honey Hill Bunches somewhere.

  46. Their tree without its leaves scares the hell out of me. (sorry for the h word)

  47. I too had these dolls in the 1970s and played with them much! Many a happy hour I spent making up stories with them. I loved Spunky best and still had her, or so I thought. I think I found her in a drawer only 2-3 years ago, but – in a stressed state – couldn’t find her this morning 😦

    It’s a delight to hear of another gal in her 40’s who enjoyed these as much as I did. I lost all but Spunky. I might have to buy some on eBay for comfort. I had Spunky, Lil Kid (your trimmed one), Solo (dark skin, with guitar), Hayseed, Slugger, and Darlin.

  48. Wow, 16jonquils, you had a lot more than me! And it is lovely to meet you and everyone else who enjoyed these dolls.

    Just had mine out again the other day. : )

  49. Spunky was a boy!! SURELY!!! I had every one that was available in Australia – they were Spunky, Solo, Darlin’, Slugger, Sweetlee, IQ and Lil’ Kid.

  50. I know it’s been 5 years since the original story was posted but I too remember playing with the Honey Hill Bunch. I’m 44. It’s taken me some time to find them again on the Internet (mostly because I couldn’t remember their name). They were all the rage in my elementary school in Port Alberni, BC, Canada – I think most of us had only one or two dolls and we’d play together with them. I had a blonde doll and it’s long since disappeared.

  51. Me and my brother Matthew just made a story about the dolls going to space. They arrived on an imposter planet, that looked just like B Street – even their tire swing had the initials H.H. on it! Aliens (played by those Monster High dolls) lived on it, and chased the Bunch, the aliens’ weakness was water so they died in the White Shallow Sea. More aliens arrived, and then the Bunch defeated them in a style similar to games like Galaga or Touhou. The HHB arrived on Earth again.

    Now, I have a website about the Honeys (what my mom and Matthew call the dolls) and I have plans to write to Mattel to bring them back, and update them so they’re like 10 years old.

    What story shall I make next? (the stories I make up usually involve IQ and the rest of the gang testing out the latest invention she just made)

    BTW, I made that IQ time machine story today! I mentioned that in my 1st post back in 2010!

  52. My mother has an incomplete clubhouse…no tree leaves. The labels are missing. No grass mat. And who’s Miss Brockmeyer? The HHB think she’s mean. I make stories with the dolls. I’m brewing one up in my head right now where the Bunch construct a rocket ship and travel through time…I also played with them when I was little. Now me and my daughter play with them. My stories when I was little were about I.Q. getting an A+ on her tests, and Solo going on tour and singing classic rock songs like music by the Beatles and Rolling Stones and Monkees. Bye!

  53. I know I’ll forever love those dolls. I was just looking at them again, yesterday! ❤

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