I was a kid of the 80s. Ra-ra skirts, vinyl and cassette tapes, Fame and the A-Team on TV, Barry Bissell’s Take 40 Australia on the radio…the music was awesome and the fashion was questionable. It was a great time to grow up.
The toys I played with were firm favourites – Strawberry Shortcake, Fashion Plates, Smurfs, Fisher Price classics, LEGO and my own little sewing machine to name a few.
Dolls never interested me. I loved watching Jem on TV but never longed for the doll. My ballerina Sindy doll was taken out for a twirl only on the odd occasion. For me, it was all about teddy bears.
That was until this red haired girl l arrived in my life:
Meet Cecilia April. With the Cabbage Patch Kid craze sweeping the world my Grandma and Aunty T decided to buy me a Cabbage Patch Kid for Christmas in 1985. Grandma and Aunty T were fantastic gift givers – putting lots of thought into what us kids would like and always coming up trumps with the coolest gifts.
Legend goes that my Grandma and Aunty T opened every Cabbage Patch Kid box and viewed every birth certificate in the Aherns toy department looking for the right doll. Not just one that looked good but one that had the perfect name to match.
Side note: years later I realised I had inherited this crazy gene after spending a good 15 minutes looking at rows of the same teddy bear at Harrods in London. I wanted to make sure I chose one with the best expression. Handy Hubby thought they all looked the same, stepped away slowly to leave me to my crazy ways and went downstairs to the food hall.
I was over the moon to “adopt” Cecilia April. She was my child. I took her everywhere. Mum even baked a cake and we had a party to celebrate her 1st birthday. Cue embarrassment in 3…2…1… (and be sure to appreciate my Mum’s vinyl tablecloth on our kitchen table):
The following Christmas I got a huge surprise when I opened my gift from Grandma and Aunty T:
Enter Dudley Broderick. I clearly remember my eldest sister saying “Oh God, not another one”. Grandma and Aunty T pulled the same stunt at Aherns again to find the perfect doll and name. I loved that they put so much effort and love into choosing him.
I was one lucky girl. I loved my “kids”.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I stopped playing with Cecilia and Dudley. At least they had each other to keep company whilst I went on with the business of growing up.
Today Cecilia and Dudley live at my parents’ house. They don’t get out much but did dress up and appear as surprise guests at my wedding. It was my Dad’s “hilarious” way to embarrass me in front of family and friends. He told everyone I already had two children and presented them to Handy Hubby who was equally amused and mortified.
Cecilia and Dudley had a good night. They even got to sit at the bridal table. You have to admit, they’ve aged incredibly well.
My nieces played dress ups with them when they were younger but today, my own tornadoes only give them the occasional glance. Cecilia and Dudley don’t enchant them as much as they did me. At least I have my wonderful memories of these gifts and the love that was put into giving them.
I’d love to see your gift memories photos. If you want to play along on Instagram, I’ll be using the hashtag #mygiftmemories. There’s plenty more 1980s gold to share!
Did you have a Cabbage Patch Kid?
What is your favourite gift memory from your childhood?