Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cabbage Patch Kid.


In 1984, my mother moved us to Nova Scotia from Ontario. We were dirt poor, ate A LOT of bland home made stew, peanut butter and oatmeal. It was a lonely time for all of us, despite having moved near some relatives. Life had been shifting and changing for me since I was 6 and my mom and dad separated. We lived with mom, then we lived with dad and a new step mom and her kids, and just as we settled in there, we were back with mom... and then away from everything we knew to the east coast.

So, it's 1984. It's Christmas. I'm 9, my brother is 7, my sister is 5... and the big toy that year is the Cabbage Patch kid. We begged.
One day on the news, there was a newscast about a big oil tanker sinking. My mother told us that ALL the Cabbage Patch Kids were on that boat, and they sank. I held out for Santa. On Christmas morning, Our hopes were dashed. Our entire Christmas was saved by a care package that came from our step mother. I had seen it in the closet, although my mom didnt' know. That was also the year I figured out the Santa myth.

I'm sure the day after our mom told us about the boat, we went to school and told the few friends we had made about the big boat. No one ever argued with me about it. It was a small town. They probably understood where we were in life.

Now as an adult, I understand why she told the lie. We were SAD poor.

By the time Christmas 1985 rolled around, we were back in Ontario. And mom was working, and there was a new step-dad in the picture. A new new school, a new lot of friends. This year, though... there were 3 conspictuous boxes under the tree. A Cabbage Patch for each of us! My brother got a little light brown haired boy. My little sister got a blonde girl. I got a brunette boy with brunette eyes. In a 2 piece brown cord suit.

My mom pulled me aside after and said she hoped it was ok that I got the boy, because she thought my little sister would really want the girl. I was just so happy, I didn't care that it wasn't a girl. I liked him. Right down to his silly name on the adoption papers. Lionel Jessie. I sent out his registration papers ASAP.

I slept with him. I talked to him. I snuck him in my bag to school on days that were hard and I needed a friend. Another change of schools, and another move, another change of schools... life was always in upheaval - but I always had that doll. He didn't get packed in a box, he rode in the car with me on our moves.

I slept with that doll till I was 18.

when I was 18, I moved out of the house. With a boy. Who I barely knew. But when you think you're in love, especially at 18, you just KNOW you are. It didn't take long for me to figure out this was not the boy for me... I left the apartment, to come back 3 days later and get my things. He had had a party.
And ruined so many of my things. Some of my collectors dolls, clothing, things were broken.

And that's when I saw the doll. My Lionel Jessie. The one thing in my life that had ever been consistent. A doll that my mother worked so hard to get (from what I know, that year all the dolls were stocked on the shelves backward, and the associate handed them to you and you got what you got, there was such a demand for them.) That doll that I had actually talked to when there was no body else, that doll that knew all my secrets. I didn't care that I was "so old" at 18. That doll occasionally still got smuggled to school in my backpack on days were I was weak, or scared, or upset. ( I always had a plan if I had to make excuses, but during that time of my life I was going to yet again another school, and could count my good friends on one hand.)

This boy had ripped off the dolls head. He pulled out the fluff. And laughed. He laughed and was so hurtful. He knew the doll was important to me, beyond what the doll was physically. He knew exactly what he was doing when he targeted it. That moment confirmed how crazy he was. I was angry with him for not being what he said he was. I was angry at myself that I left my precious doll behind.

It's 18 years later. I'm going to be 36 this year. I'm surfing around a page on Facebook, and there he is. Lionel Jessie. The loopy, brown haired boy with brown eyes. In a diaper and nothing else. And he's used, and for sale. But I'm whelmed with the want for him.

The lady and I made a deal, and I've "adopted" the fellow. And then I wept. I cried like a baby, in front of my monitor at nearly 11pm at night last night.

I wish I had a nicely wrapped synopsis of this one, folks. I wish I knew what triggered it, I wish I knew what it meant. I guess it just sort of feels full circle. Life, after all these years, finally feels steady, stable, and kind. Is that what this means? Is that why this doll has found me now?

I dunno. I just wanted to share.

Lori.

4 comments:

Monica said...

sometimes it's just so difficult to explain, and even more difficult to understand, what moves us to do things, what moves us to want or need. In times like that, i try to remember to trust the universe...

Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

That was incredibly touching. It kind of reminds me of my sister's coffee cup story (I'll tell ya about it one day - or check the blog).

Thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

you made me cry reading this!!!
I remember Lionel Jesse!! I and remember being so confused when my favorite cousin moved away and moved back and moved away again...I can only imagine what it was like for you to be such a little girl and to have your life be in upheavel so often. I am so happy for you that you have found happiness and contentment in your life now!! I love you!!!
Alana

Jenn spak said...

Wonderful post Lori. i think each of us have had those moments when it would have been nice to have a friend hidden away in a pack. I'm not sure why we don't still as adults.
Nice touch have good ol' cyndi helping out with the mood!