Fads, they come and they go as quickly as the summer breeze. Every decade sprouts a variety of fads that grab the attention of the public for awhile, and then fade away. The 1980’s in particular brings to mind the noisy Boom box that belted out tunes at home, in the park, and wherever else it could be carried. The youth was mesmerized by break dancing.
How about those jelly shoes that were plastic and flexible, and came in many colours? Above all, they were relatively inexpensive! Wearing fancy leg warmers was the trend everywhere. Then there were the outfits that had prominent shoulder pads, especially admired on TV characters in soaps like Dallas and Dynasty, the intriguing world of the rich.
It was common to see someone with a Rubik’s cube trying desperately to move the colourful squares around in a short time, while Trivial Pursuit was THE party game to play. It teased your grey cells and made people very competitive.
Little children meanwhile were caught up in Smurf mania, adoring the blue elflike Papa Smurf, or hugging Care bears, and Strawberry Shortcake. However, what seemed to be the most popular toy fad of the 80’s was the Cabbage Patch Kid doll.
Christmas 1983 brought a new frenzy into the shopping market with this classic children’s toy. The Cabbage Patch Kid doll had come out in 1978, but it became popular in the 1980’s. I am not one for fads, so I was not going to get my daughter a cabbage patch doll just because everyone had one. “Why the craze?” I asked, and I was encouraged to go and take a look at one in a store.
Now that was very difficult to do, because the minute these dolls arrived, they flew off the shelves. I finally got a chance to see these chubby faced dolls. Each one came with adoption papers, including a name, and a date of birth. The demand outstripped the supply. There were shocking fights in the stores.
They were selling the dolls on a first come-first serve basis. I made up my mind, that even if it meant facing an unhappy child on Christmas day, I was not going to get involved in any outrageous behaviour over a mere doll. I had my standards, and no daughter of mine was going to succumb to peer pressure.
I read somewhere that a postman from Kansas City went all the way to London to get his daughter one! They were expensive, these pudgy faced dolls, and I was not going to fall victim to Coleco’s mass production, even though every Cabbage Patch Kid doll was different, down to the head, eyes, hair colour, and clothing. The birth certificate was unique too, in that each doll had an unusual first and middle name.
I am happy to say that I did not give in to the fad that year. However, when Christmas 1984 rolled along, I faced the same dilemma. There were waiting lists for the Cabbage Patch kids because they were still popular. Perhaps I would be lucky this time around.
Eventually I did find one, much to my daughter’s delight. Her name was Cleo Cassandra. That was too ugly a name for my girl, so she christened her Patricia Marie. That doll received a lot of attention. In fact she was dressed in my daughter’s infant clothes.
That was not all. As Patricia Marie’s first birthday came along, I was asked to make her a birthday cake. I recall making a Microwave cake that was the fad at that time, lighting a candle and singing Happy Birthday to a Cabbage Patch doll. Our daughter received a gift of a record with the Cabbage Patch music on it, so we ended up singing the songs over and over again.
In a Cabbage Patch garden all in a row.
Magic cabbages live and grow.
With Bunnybee crystals and love and joy
They turn into a Cabbage Patch girl and boy.
Cabbage Patch kids, growing in the garden
Cabbage Patch kids growing in the sun.
And the most amazing thing about a Cabbage Patch Kid
Is that each one grows to be a special one.
Despite the hype surrounding the Cabbage Patch Kid dolls, I do believe that I was able to instill in our girl an understanding of life and love and waiting for things, that are better appreciated over the passage of time.
In her very first public speaking assignment in Grade 2, our daughter gave a beautiful speech about her Cabbage Patch doll, and the lessons she had learned along the way. Fads or no fads, our offspring had grown to be a special child.
But what happened to precious Patricia Marie, you might ask? She sits “forgotten” in our home, sometimes played with when the grandchildren visit! Fads do delight one initially, and then disappear as the focus shifts to something new and popular.