Tuesday, 28 June 2011

My Cabbage Patch Dolls (1)

When I was in Primary School (in the mid-90s) Cabbage Patch Dolls, which had been popular in the 80s, came back into fashion. Five of my school friends and I all had our own Cabbage Patch Dolls which we'd acquired from different sources. Some were the new imported ones, some were the South African variety - slightly cheaper and different in design, but with the legitimate label and signature. Some were inherited from mothers or sisters. Between us we all had at least a CP Kid (the older kind with fully-covering woollen hair) or a CP Baby (the smaller kind with a tuft of fake hair) or both. We played with these dolls fervently, as though they were our own children; taking them to the make-shift "park" (in our garden,) where the wash-line and a coat-hanger made a useful fufi-slide), sending them to school, holding birthday parties for them (complete with presents and miniature snacks), and making costumes and choreographing dances for their ballet concerts. We didn't seem to care that most girls our age had given up on dolls long ago. These dolls were our lives and we thrived on them.

It's a pity that in the 90s, taking photographs was a harder task. and it is these days. It was the pre-digital camera decade, and photographs of the dolls and their escapades are rare. How I'd love some pictures of all those ballet costumes we made.

Over a decade later, I still have my dolls. They sit prettily on a shelf in my bedroom observing me as I read, study, compose essays and struggle over Greek or Latin conjugations. This is something of a tribute to them and the role they played in my childhood life.

Meet Allysan 
(pronounced like "Alison")

Allysan's birthday is on 21 November 1997. She was my first Cabbage Patch doll and there is an interesting story behind how I came to get her. I was in Grade 4 and I had just got braces to push back my "buck teeth". I was one of those unfortunate kids who also had to wear a "headgear" at night. At the same time, my mum found Allysan in a toy shop. She is a South African made Cabbage Patch doll and came complete with her own set of braces (also a headgear). Why she needed it for her one tooth is beyond me, but that, coupled with the fact that she was far cheaper than the imported variety meant that my mum couldn't resist buying her for me.

Unlike the imported ones, mine did not come with a name. I chose Alison, as it was the second of two names my parents had considered for me. When I was born, they decided I looked more like a "Sonja", and Alison was cast aside. The unusual spelling came later, and will be explained in a later post.

Allysan had a number of close friends (my friends dolls who were also CP kids): Brianne (one of the new imported kind) was her best friend and lived just down the road. The others were Gabby and Rosie (80s style CPKs) and Anita (a South African one like her). She also had a cousin named Arabella, my sister's doll. My mother also has two South African CPKs called Hannah and Theo (the latter being one of the few boys).

Allysan went to Sunshine Patch Preschool and was in Mrs Honey's class. Her favourite animal was a pig (don't try to figure out a 9 year-olds logic in assigning a favourite animal for her doll) and her favourite colour yellow. Every night she would sleep with her favourite toy - Owly (a knitted owl I had made in school about the same time that I got her.)

Allysan has performed in various ballet concerts, as well as Christmas and Easter plays (often written by me). When I reached highschool and stopped playing with dolls, she has continued to be present in the annual Nativity Scene which I set up at Christmas. She has played numerous rolls including that of Mary and of one of the Magi. Since all but one of the dolls owned by my sister, mother and I are girls, and all but one of the roles in the nativity scene belong to men - the poor girls are frequently given men's roles for the scene. Thankfully they accept this gracefully.

Ally and Theo as Mary and Joseph (2005)
Ally as Mary (2006)

That's all I've got to share for now. In the next instalment you will meet Lilly, my Cabbage Patch Baby.

1 comment:

Lilly said...

Squeee! I love it!