Priscilla in the desert

Cabbage Patch Kids.

CPK.  Preemies.  Cornsilk.  Splashin’ kids.  They tormented our parents, confused our grandparents and were the obsessions of most little girls and some boys during the mid-80’s.  Real birth certificates, the smell of baby powder, signed butt cheeks, parties to celebrate their birthdays and yarn hair…

I had two “firsts”.  Anecdotes to follow.

But first…

Top names of today’s inquiry:

Petunia Tracey


Myrtle Stephanie

Dunbar Freedman

Linda Geneva

Gwydonline Muffet*

Catherine Odalia

Johanna Leda

Meghan Maybelle

*denotes name of an imaginary CPK of a source wrongfully deprived of Xavier Alexander’s presence during his childhood.

**denotes doubt of actual name given by Xavier Alexander.

Top Quotes:

I had my mom make a cake on her 1st birthday.

In about fourth grade- 1990- we had to do a St. Patrick’s Day project, mine was apparently about leprechauns. I sewed a leprechaun costume for Petunia Tracey, and brought her school with me. I also think there was a speech involved.

I’m very curious what product it was made out of, part of the body is made from a bean like material AND it STILL smells like baby powder 25 years later.

I was given “Bobby” in kindergarten while I was having my tonsils taken out. We had matching PJ’s!

I still have her. My 2 year old daughter sleeps with her every night.

I remember my mom saying Petunia was smuggled in from Canada (she fell off the back of a truck) because all of the stores in the area and beyond were sold out!

It was Phyllis. My mom named her after a relative.

Anecdote #1:

Post Tuesday night Straw Hut Pizza dinner my sister and I gave out the best squeals, causing my driving father to stop the car.  In the window of a shop in the strip mall were none other than CABBAGE PATCH KIDS!!!!!   My dad thought we were lying.  My mom was on the search but hadn’t had success.  The stores were out.  Local news was full of stories of frustrated parents.  How could it be that they had neglected to know of the hot finds in this little store, buried in a shopping center in the Valley?  We made him pull over.  Looking straight into the eyes of our new CPKs (one blonde, one brunette), these sisters were hooked.  We were young enough to be pleased with their homemade quality, at least for awhile we treated them like Xavier Robert’s originals.  Maybe my older sister was slightly uncomfortable with the crafted substitutes but at five, I was just happy to have my very own PRISCILLA LEE.

Anecdote #2:

My mom got a call at work.  Serious stuff.  She grabbed her purse and keys, told her secretary (it was the 80’s, administrative assistants didn’t exist then) she’d be back in an hour and headed out in her Buick to the nearest Sears.  You see, she’ had received THE CALL.  The Call being someone at Sears notifying her that her name had come up on the waiting list from several months prior to this event.  She had 45 minutes to claim her dolls or the next person would be called.  We got our new CPK’s at Christmas, perhaps not exactly the description we had written to Santa but we were happy (“Red hair/blue eyes, Brown hair/green eyes”).  Elated, actually.  The old, “new” Cabbage Patch impostors were not put away.  We kind of cherished them with reverence, although with our friends we were more apt to play with the actual CPK’s.

Side note:

I must mention that my sister and I shared a room during the time of the  Great Cabbage Patch Era.  I remember the window in the room having colored, cut glass (will verify with sister if this is actually correct).  We would stay up late, usually my sister would tell me stories, sometimes ghost stories.  One night she looked out the window, her eyes aglow with fierce acute perception.  “Did you see that”?  I saw nothing but didn’t want to admit it.  I nodded.  “You see those Cabbage Patch Kids?” in the Potter’s***” backyard?”.  I nodded, this time with even more fervently.  She convinced me that the neighbors were growing Cabbage Patch Kids in their garden.  I believed.  I REALLY wanted to see them, too.  I could almost  see them through the rippled midnight glass of 11th street.

***Name changed to protect the innocent neighbors who knew nothing of this tall tale.

P.S.  My sister also won a Cabbage Patch Doll, but that’s a story for another day.

3 Responses to “Priscilla in the desert”
  1. k.c. says:

    I remember being VERY irritated with the names the Cabbage Patches were given on their birth certificates. I loathed “old lady” names like Gilda (my sister’s) and Myrtle. I wanted a “glamorous” name for mine, and I chose Liesl b/c my high school aged aunt had a friend named that and I thought she was very pretty. If it hadn’t been that I’m sure it’d have been some very cliche 80s name like Crystal or Tiffany, lol.

  2. I can remember clearly my desperate want for a Cabbage Patch Kids doll back in 1983. I was really too old to play with dolls, but I got swept up in the craziness of the time. I remember my mom calling around to lots of stores and going to several. We finally found a Toys R Us that had a wait list. I don’t remember what number we were, but it seemed to take weeks and weeks for mine to come in. What was unfortunate tho was that once your number was called, you had no choice in picking which doll you wanted. They just handed you one. Perhaps because I was a bit too old to play with dolls or because I hadn’t gotten to pick mine out personally, I never really played with my Cabbage Patch Kids doll.
    But I still have fond memory’s of that time, like so many others, there was no escaping the cabbage patch craze!

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