Monday 13 July 2015

Me vs Doll Craft

Once upon a time there was a mother who didn’t want to wait in line to get her daughter a Cabbage Patch doll. It was the 80’s and the peak of the Cabbage Patch doll hysteria. As a mother now I get it, but at the time, this refusal was the most inhumane thing a parent could do to a child.

For those of you not familiar with this point in time, it was similar to the stage in history where normally sane people showed ludicrous desire for the oddly disturbing Tickle Me Elmo. People were stupid for these things. They spent absurd amounts of money to own this toy. This toy that frightened my child, as well it should have (and no, I didn't buy one...someone else I knew did, and that was crazy). Nothing in nature laughs like that.

I digress.

Cabbage patch dolls. These things were pretty creepy if you really look at them. Immovable plastic faces, weird puckers for joints, butt stamps. But none were more creepy than mine.

My well meaning mother, who refused to cave to the vegetable-doll marketing machine, decided to go another route. She would make me a bloody Cabbage Patch doll. Like a boss.

What actually happened was that instead of being taken to a toy store to pick out the promised doll, Young Jamie was taken to a craft store.  Young Jamie didn’t understand why she was in a craft store. Craft stores did not have the doll adoption centres. Craft stores had crayons and paper.

Craft stores also had bins of heads.

Instead of getting to pick out my brand new baby Cabbage Patch doll, I got to pick out a disembodied head out of a tub of what I can only assume were off-brand Cabbage Patch doll heads (Kale Field Kids?). Not quite the same as the original.

As a child, picking out a head from a bucket is somewhat sinister. But the fun didn’t stop there….we also got hands. Arm-less, body-less hands. The FUN just kept on going!
You can't see it well, but there is a bald spot on the right of
her head, and she only has about a third of her bangs.  

Now credit where credit is due, my mother can sew. She took these amputated doll bits and turned them into a very serviceable doll, albeit one who’s head was obviously not originally attached to it’s body. Think Frankenstein.

I played with it, dressed it up, and I even had a soother for it.

Enter my dad. He was concerned that I would lose the soother. Frankly he was probably right to think this. And so, in a wave of handy-man brilliance, he attached the soother to a ribbon, and safety pinned the ribbon to the doll’s shoulder.

Now, as any good father knows, safety pins are a misnomer, and in no way actually safe.  The solution? Clamp the safety pin closed with enough force to virtually weld the metal together. That fucker is NEVER coming open and stabbing a child, so help me.

And it didn’t. It also didn’t keep me from losing the soother. The ribbon and soother separated themselves from the safety pin quickly enough, and became lost in the ether of kid toys laying around the house. The safety pin, however, has remained steadfastly welded into the shoulder of the doll for what I can only assume will be the rest of time.

I've always wanted elf shoes
permanently affixed to my feet!
Over the years, this well loved, yet slightly resented, doll lost much of its hair. Its weird little hands stretched out the fabric they were attached to, giving the doll multiple elbows. It had yellow elf booties, no real feet, and either one or two knees depending on how you counted. But the part that really gave the doll that special something was the attention paid to it by our cat.

Only 4 fingers on this hand. And something
about the length of this arm just
isn't right.
For whatever reason, our cat liked to eat plastic. Barbie feet were regularly chewed off, and their fingers were mangled. But this doll suffered the most. The cat, Kimba, tried to eat its face, and consumed one of the doll’s fingers, leaving a gaping hole in the hand.

The doll now appeared to have been attacked by a lion. Ironically Kimba was named after the TV show Kimba the White Lion, so I guess she lived up to her namesake.

After all this time I still have the doll. I’m sure it originally had a name, but I now refer to the doll as Frankenpatch. It’s the most appropriate name that’s ever been given to anything ever.


  1. Yes, I remember the crazy, mayhem, and people being injured. My aunt stood in line for hours, and finally ripped one out of another lady's arms to get my cousin one. My cousin then spent summer vacation desperately trying to convince me that they were "the best toy ever. and only $80.00" Yeah, like I was going to spend my hard earned chore money on a Doll!

  2. I think the Tickle Me Elmo craze hit the same bandwidth of crazy. What's with people and creepy doll design?