Virginia Davis, Doll Reader
People dream of magic, and they tell stories of magical things, and every child believes in magic.
But in Georgia, just over Yonah Mountain, there lies a valley that really is a magical place. Here the Koosas climb the trees, and the Bunny Bees sip nectar from magical plants, and the Furskins live in the hills, and there grows a huge cabbage patch that is dusted each night by the bunny bees with a special magic dust.
Xavier Roberts grew up in this valley, and heard stories of how babies came into the world by being found under a cabbage leaf, or dropped into the cabbage patch by “Colonel Stork.”
The young Roberts always knew he was destined for something special and wonderful because he was born on Halloween and that is a magical time.
When Xavier became a young man he designed rag doll, and had the ladies that lived in the valley make the dolls for him. He went to all the yard sales and bought all the baby clothes, he could find, and dressed his dolls.
Then he loaded the dolls into boxes; donned his ten gallon cowboy hat and his best jeans, and placed the boxes of dolls in the back of his yellow Volkswagen Beetle and went to flea markets and craft shows trying to sell these dolls that he called “Little People.”
The dolls were very “homely” with a face only a real mother could love. They had the pull of someone trying to give away cuddly free kittens or a playful pup. Every kid was saying, “Awwww…can I take one home?”
In 1978, Xavier bought a Doctor’s Clinic that has been on the square in Cleveland, Georgia since the 1930s. There he planted his “Magical Tree” where babies growing in the shade of the tree, were pulled from a mother cabbage when she went into labor and given a shot of “imagicillian” after she had dilated seven leaves apart. The clinic had a nursery for the newborns, a school, and a gift shop.
Xavier decided the Little People shouldn’t be sold as if they had no feelings. He set up the adoption process where the new parent named their baby, signed the adoption papers, and raised their hands and swore to take good care of their baby.
In the early 1980s the toy Company “Coleco” approached Xavier about making a small, mass produced version of the Little People and calling them “Cabbage Patch Kids.” The kids would have adoption papers, but they would have vinyl heads and just like the Little People…no two would be exactly alike. Later the License would pass to Mattel; and others. QVC had a field day with them and introduced the kids to countries all around the world.
Cabbage patch Kids put the magical valley of White County Georgia on the map and became the most widely sold toy in history. The Christmas of 1983, was all about the kids. Trucks were reported hijacked on their way to Toys R’ Us and there were stories of people holding the dolls ransom. People paid hundreds for a doll whose suggested retail price was only $20.
The kids received the industries top Toy of The Year awards.
Then came the collectors of the original kids and their vinyl counterparts. It was just after the Vietnam War and the world was ready to believe in a fantasy.
Xavier started making personal appearances at adoption centers and at “Babyland” as he now called the Clinic in Cleveland. He would hand sign the dolls and immediately their value skyrocketed.
Events were held at “Babyland” such as the lighting of the Christmas tree and the Easter Egg Hunts. Soon busloads of bemused spectators were coming to “Babyland” to take a part in the magic. Over 250,000 people a year witnessed the birth of a Cabbage Patch kid. So far the patch has produced over 125 million kids.
Several years ago, as the economy grew weaker, Xavier closed all the adoption centers and brought the original kids home to roost in the magical valley where they were born.
In May of 2010, Xavier Roberts had his first signing party in seven years. Xavier, no longer a boy, but a middle age man with white hair and a white beard still sporting his ten gallon hat, welcomed his fans to a new “Babyland General Hospital.”
There is a new edition of the original kids called “the Skyland Edition.”
The new hospital is located about three miles from the old hospital on 650 acres and is a three story southern mansion. It has 67 Greek style columns and a 200,000 sq ft wraparound porch, tile floors, a maternity ward, a father’s waiting room and motion activated animatronics.
The greatest new invention is a sonogram that scans the mother cabbage and tells if new kid is a boy or a girl. It turns pink for a girl and blue for a boy.
The new hospital will employ many of the local residents of White County and help their economy, because Xavier wants give back to the magic valley where his dream came to fruition.
This magic land is only about ninety minutes from Atlanta, Ga. where pandas await at the zoo. Atlanta has the nation’s largest aquarium, and American Girl has a store in the North side of the city. The Babyland hospital is located only twenty miles from an enchanting Alpine German town called “Helen” that looks like it was dropped right out of a fairytale.
So if you have children or you are a doll enthusiast …it should be a great summer vacation destination.
(Koosas, Furskin Bears, and Bunny Bees are plush creatures created by Xavier Roberts)