The Ghost Toys of Christmas Past

So, my online friend and fellow blogger, Melanie, wrote a really funny post about having to find a particular toy for her daughter for Christmas. Zhu Zhu pets?

I know that my mother is just waiting in the wings to laugh her butt off at me when I go through this v. same thing some Christmas soon. She is still bitter about the whole Cabbage Patch Kid shortage in the early 80s. Girls in Georgia, before Roberts sold out to Mattel or whomever, called these “Adoption Dolls.” They were sold in high-end toy shops, and they were ridiculously expensive. Never mind that my sister and I, living in GA, already had original, signed Xavier Roberts dolls. Two each, no less. That’s right, Annie Mouse and Sport Model were too good for just one $100 dollar craft doll each. Oh, no! We had to have the plastic ones too. Boy, those cabbage patch girls really didn’t smell very good. And I never loved the plastic mass-produced ones nearly as much. I know it is wrong to say that you love one of your children more than the others, and this is true in the adoption doll world, too. But I loved Minerva Vivian and Betsy Eunice, and even knock-off adoption doll, Stephanie Lynn (named her myself), much more than. . . hmm. . . what was her name again? Maybe Lisa will remember. Update: Just went and found her papers in my hope chest, along with all the girls. Ginger Minnie. That was her name.

Ginger Minnie, Cabbage Patch Kid

Ginger Minnie, Cabbage Patch Kid

Cecil, being Cecil, thought that he could get away with the knock-off Adoption Doll. And sure enough, I loved blond, green-eyed Stephanie.

Stephanie Lynn, the knock off

Stephanie Lynn, the knock off

Lisa’s blond, blue-eyed knockoff was Samantha. Minerva, a real Xavier Roberts, was big-boned, red-headed, freckled and green-eyed. Not the prettiest doll on the block, but my first real one, and I loved her.

My first real Xavier Roberts doll.

My first real Xavier Roberts doll.


Then there was Betsy Eunice – black-haired, green-eyed, and well-proportioned, just like Scarlett O’Hara in plush doll form!
My second, dark-haired beauty

My second, dark-haired beauty

And then there was Lisa’s Tiffany.

Oh, Tiffany. . . bless her heart.

I must dig Tiffany out of hiding. Lisa, where is Tiffany? We need to post a picture of Tiffany, particularly of Tiffany’s very strange legs. Preferably a picture of Tiffany naked. This is the most bow-legged adoption doll in creation. They also neglected, at Babyland General, to give Tiffany a waist. So, sad. All of the other adoption dolls, and their mothers, whispered about Tiffany behind their hands when she was carried into a room.

And then we made picket signs out of poster board, sticks from outside, and scotch tape, and proceeded to set up a “Mom and Dad, Please Quit Smoking” picket line in my parents’ bedroom, each adoption doll holding a sign. I can tell you that if that didn’t convince my parents to quit smoking, nothing will convince a parent to quit smoking except for their own decision to quit. We were quite the Carrie Nations. We also used to try to charge my Mom’s side of the family for cussing. Most four-letter words were ten cents. The big ones were a quarter. We loved it when my Uncle Charlie and Cousin Finley got together, because we were assured of a windfall when they came to town. I will never forget that one time, Finley came in and said, “Hell, Charlie, just give the damn kid a fuckin’ twenty!”

Anyway, as of this year, my kids want absolutely everything in sight, but they have not narrowed down their wants to one particular, hard-to-find item. Knock on wood. If you have kids, is there a particular must-have item this year? What special things are you getting your kids? And what special must-have items did you get as a kid? Do you have any funny stories of your parents or yourself staking out K-mart of Richway for that perfect toy?

Oh, and p.s.

You don't want to know what else I found in this hope chest i've had since middle school.

You don't want to know what else I found in this hope chest i've had since middle school.

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32 comments

  • Oh, I just laughed my ass off! I will dig poor Tiffany out and take a pic of her for you. Bless her heart. Holy crap I wonder where she is.

    Speaking of our cussin’ family, I also remember how when Grandma and Aunt Dot lived across the hall from each other at Thrippence, everyone would be playing bridge in one apt (smoking, drinking, and did I say smoking?) and I would be at the other apt watching TV and then they would all come to that apt. because they needed to fish the vodka out of one of their toilets and they’d smoke that apt up and I’d have to cross the hall again! Good times, good times.

  • The must have crap-tastic items of my youth were the Snow White Talking Magic Mirror (for me) and Castle Greyskull (my bro Keith). A thrill to receive and a disappointment once you realize it was total junk not to long afterward.

    Of course my girls would give a limb for an American Girl doll ($100 ea) this holiday/birthday. I have 2 sets of grandparents ready to give it to them but i’m telling them NO since in THEORY the products are marketed for ages 8+ since there are book series that go with them. I’d like them to enjoy the stories with the dolls vs. just wanting to own all the accessories.. I secretly covet the accessories myself…..

  • Holy crap, lisa. I forgot aunt dot kept the backup vodka in the back of the toilet! Seriously, you have all weekend off. You MUST FIND TIFFANY.
    “Teeffany! This is Ay-em-ber!”

    Sadly, Lauren, I remember Castle Greyskull, but not this mirror thing.

    Lauren, I would also like to hold out on American Girl dolls until Tills can read. My mom gets her a Madame Alexander for every birthday and Christmas, though – She gives them directly to me, and then i stockpile them.

  • I had a red haired, green eyed cabbage patch doll too. I never really played with dolls or Barbies. But I remember desperately wanting an Xavier Roberts doll and being very specific about the hair/eye combo. I too got her for Christmas. I think I was 9. Her name was Charity Cynthia and our Malamut Bandit mauled her to death when I was in 8th grade.

    Carmella has it too easy. She has 4 American Girl Dolls and I haven’t bought a single one. Luckily, she has 2 grandmothers that indulge her. Thank goodness this year she wants a mountain bike and I escape a trip at the American Girl Doll store yet again. Which is good cause I find dolls really creepy.

  • Ah, you just reminded me that I have the china doll that still creeps me out. It’s in that chest in the picture. Might have to post about that, too!

    Charity Cynthia is funny! Kinda slutty name for a doll, iMO.

  • We only had the knock-off variety at our house. Aunt Judy even made one (Elizabeth Ann), whose girly bits turned out suspiciously like boy-ly bits. I remember when you could get one for $50 if you opened a bank account at on of the banks (Heritage Bank? Decatur Federal?). My parents were appalled.

    Annika covets the American Girl dolls but doesn’t really dig the dolls.

  • I am jealous you even had Cabbage Patch knock-offs. I desperately wanted a Cabbage Patch Doll and never got one or one that even attempted to be one. I also coveted all things Barbie, of course, and this year for Christmas Piper wants a Barbie camper van. I can’t believe how cheap they look – can’t they be made of something other than plastic for what you pay? Like diamonds or something? I did have a remote control corvette for Barbie, but I didn’t get a house or mansion. Clearly my mom didn’t care much for me.

  • P.S. Santa will probably bring the camper van, but it should be noted that the most popular “toy” in our house right now is a piece of styrofoam that came in my sewing machine box.

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