If you were a child in the 1980s, you lived through one of the most defining toy fads of all time: Cabbage Patch Kids. It became the must-have toy for children at that time. At the peak of their popularity in the early 80s, parents would go to stores in mobs, often getting into physical fights over these dolls, all hoping to get one for their children.
From what I remember, each doll was supposed to be unique and came with his or her own birth certificate. If you sent the papers in and registered your doll, you could also change the given name to something you wanted, and you would receive official adoption papers back from Babyland General certifying that you were a parent! It elevated doll-play to new levels by making us feel like real parents. It was the first time children could get dolls with birth certificates, different birthdays, names, hair and eye color of their own choosing.
I’m lucky that my mom also had a big affinity for these dolls, because in those Cabbage Patch Kid years of the early 80s, somehow my brother ended up with four and I with seven. And it’s not because we were spoiled kids and we asked our parents for them; I believe that my mom enjoyed having them around the house as much as I did as a child. I really treasured each of my dolls. It may have been the blossoming Libra in me with that innate propensity for fairness even as a young child, but I would rotate my dolls each night in their little shoebox bassinets, and they would each take turns sleeping with me. I would like to think that I took really good care of them, because while other kids’ CPKs would get filthy and worn from being dragged around and played with, mine still remain in pretty good condition.
And yes, this means that I still have all 11 of my brother’s and my Cabbage Patch Kids, sitting in a CPK playpen in my old closet at my parents’ house. I can still remember each of their names, and the order that we got them.
Today, I have a CPK named Timothy, who I found in 2004 at a department store. As soon as I saw him on the shelf, I had to have him right away because he reminded me so much of The BF. Also living in our house now is a boy CPK from my brother’s old collection, whose name is Corey Hart. Yes — named after that Corey Hart, of “Sunglasses at Night” fame — back when I was able to easily convince my younger brother to do such things just with a simple suggestion. I remember that moment when the decision was made to change his name, and completely in my brother’s defense, it was all my idea.