As Editor of The Cabbage Connection for the past ten years, Ann Wilhite has collected testimonies of the strong bond between Cabbage Patch Kids and their owners. Has her article sparked a memory? Email us with your Cabbage Patch stories at

I can't recall any toy being as popular. I remember standing in the freezing cold at one a.m. to be third in line to be handed a Cabbage Patch Kid at random. I remember a front-page newspaper article when a little girl had her Kid stolen at Sears. I remember fist fights over Cabbage Patch Kids and ladies stealing them out of other's carts. I was in 9th grade when I got my first Kid. I was "too old" for dolls and never played with them, but was very happy to have them around me. I spent all of my allowance, birthday, and baby-sitting money on them. I even took one to the movies.

In 1983 I was twenty-four years old. But there was something that drew me to Cabbage Patch Kids. I'm sure all the hype was part of it, you know, wanting something everybody else had or was trying to get. It's like you were really somebody if you had one. My sister and I searched store after store trying to get one for each of us. I didn't actually get one until February, 1984. But I still have her.

A cousin of mine worked at Woolworth's and called my mom to tell her when the dolls would be coming in. Grandpa decided he wanted to go along and see what the craze was all about. The line was long at five in the morning, but since he was a senior citizen they let him in as soon as the store opened. They only allowed five people in at a time, and you could only get two per person. Grandpa picked out two black dolls, a boy and girl. No sooner had he put them in the cart than this lady snatched up the black girl. Well, Grandpa hit her in the arm with his cane and demanded she put the doll back. She said no and he kindly offered to hit her again. She let go of the doll. I remember waking up on Christmas Day in 1983 and finding two boxes labeled ‘Open Me Now.' I opened them to find two of the cutest Kids in the world, Arlo Troy and Lissa Bessie. Grandpa Victor said, "I almost died for those ugly kids." But deep down inside he loved them. He would hold them and say, "Oh, look how damn cute you are."

"I was five. I loved TV morning sitcoms! I saw the cute Cabbage Patch Kids and had to have some. They made me feel like I was Mommy and they said they loved me and I responded in return. The other toys sucked! And that's why other "toys'" have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Cabbage Patch Kids came to be the heart and soul of my childhood. They made my childhood one I can never forget. When I was alone at night and during storms and I woke in the dark, my Cabbage Patch Kids were there to tell me it was okay. They heard my childhood secrets and never told anyone. When I was sad they make me smile and when I was happy they made me laugh.

Let's face it, childhood is a confusing time – heck, so is adulthood. Regardless of what life gave you as a child, there is one thing you could say: You were a mommy! You were wanted, loved, and important, and no one could take that away from you.

Cabbage Patch Kids bring us back to a time when life was much simpler, when it was you and your Cabbage Patch Kid against the world. Almost like you were finally someone when you got your first kid. Maybe it's because you were "adopting" them and they depended on you to take care of them. It made you feel so important. Giving these kids names and birth dates gave them identities.

I asked my parents every day for a Cabbage Patch Kid just because they were really hard to get. So I knew I could guilt trip my parents into it by just saying, "This is really hard to get, this kid just got it, her mom found it at this store, they only had two left, if you could have gotten over there…" So I just begged her every day until I knew she'd be able to get one.

Adam Luther is the head of the welcoming committee here in our patch of over 350 Kids. Adam helps everyone out, goes on picnics, babysits, just about anything. He "sleeps" in my own bedroom and not in the nursery. My Kids are very real and special to me. Most of them have their own distinct personalities and preferences. I have one allergic to cats and another one is allergic to peanut butter. Some are bossy and some are shy; they've each evolved over time. Don't think me nuts – just young at heart.

We had a little network going of about ten ladies, and we were out every morning looking for Kids. My husband always helped. I remember one morning I had just fed my calves, cleaned the stalls and was weighing the hay when my husband called. He had gone to Penney's to get a battery, and they were just putting some Cabbage Patch Kids out on the shelf. He said, "Drop what you are doing and get here now." Needless to say, I was a mess and didn't smell real good either – probably had cow shit on my boots. I told my neighbor George to lock the house and barn.

When I got to Penney's there was a long line. The lady behind me was very well dressed and smelled very good; her hair looked like she was just out of the beauty shop. Her doctor husband didn't know she was collecting Cabbage Patch Kids. In fact, she kept them in the trunk of her Cadillac – but that is a whole ‘nother story.

I never took my Colecos out of the box and had about 100 when I stopped buying them. Most of my collection consisted of the original soft sculpture kids ­ I bought every edition that came out. My goal was to have one from each edition, and if it was a set I wanted the set. My husband was very understanding and did not complain as I spent thousands of dollars. I started selling some of my collection in the mid 1990s. It is fun and I still get to meet so many nice people.

When I was ten I felt proud to carry Kids around – they have a look about them that makes you want to take care of them. Now at 27 I have a renewed obsession with the Cabbage Patch Kids. I want to relive that warm feeling. I want to surround myself with feelings of home, childhood memories of playing with my friends, and the sweet innocence I'd like to once have again.

My brother Ronnie died in a head-on collision in December, 2001. He was a good kid and worked really hard at his job as an auto mechanic. I have been extremely depressed, and a couple of weeks ago saw a doll on eBay that reminded me of Ronnie as a little boy. It was a MIB Coleco #8 head mold with glasses, tan loops, and blue eyes. When my brother was little he had a wandering eye, and after corrective surgery have he always had to wear glasses. So this little Cabbage Patch Kid reminded me so much of him. I won him and immediately in my mind started calling him Ronnie. Today would have been Ronnie's 22nd birthday, and lo and behold the baby got here today!!!! I was so happy I ripped into the box. I was holding him on the couch, sniffed him, and said to my brother Andrew, "This baby smells like garage motor oil." I ran to the shipping carton and it said "Loto Auto" from somewhere out of Tacoma, Washington. Both my brother and I started crying. Someone, somewhere had kept this MIB doll from 1985 in an auto garage. It was meant to be that I have my little Ronnie.

I play with my dolls, sit with them, dress them and buy things for them just like when I was little. It keeps me sane. The only advice from me is to gather up all that courage you have to be yourself, and when you feel bad or embarrassed, go find another Cabbage Patch Kid to bring home! The rest of my life is shorter than the life I've had so far. It's time to PLAY!

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Ann Wilhite edits and publishes The Cabbage Connection, a monthly newsletter for Cabbage Patch Kid collectors. She also contributed to Patricia Smith's Modern Collector's Dolls (Collector Books) and the Encyclopedia of Cabbage Patch Kids (Schiffer Books). She teaches history at Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska, and has published articles in various history and musical journals, most recently in the New Grove Dictionary of Music. A long-time collector of Cabbage Patch Kids, Wilhite enjoys them for their whimsical and distinctive personalities.

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