Elder Daughter had flown in from Washington for the occasion; we had spent the day with her and the Mistress of Sarcasm, gallivanting about North Georgia. We had wandered the faux-Alpine streets of Helen, taking our luncheon by the banks of the languid Chattahoochee River and contending with a battalion of flies who wished to share our chicken wings. The girls had never been there, and it was the first time SWMBO and I had visited without being surrounded by a mob of inebriated Online Journalists. We had a fine time anyway.
|Helen, Georgia - the finest faux-Alpine Resort in the Southland.|
No, it wasn’t a sudden bout of food poisoning or sunstroke. No palpitations, flatulence, catarrh, chilblains, or scrofula. Because this was not just any hospital. This was BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia... home of the Cabbage Patch Kids.
BabyLand General sits in the midst of a full square mile of open land, reminding one not so much of a hospital as of an antebellum plantation house. The facility is immense - fully 70,000 square feet - the lobby alone being the size of your average Knights of Columbus hall.
|The lobby at BabyLand General.|
It’s widely known that BabyLand General is the brainchild of one Xavier Roberts, a former art student who wandered off the reservation, so to speak, becoming enmeshed in the dark world of genetic manipulation. His twisted experiments in reproductive biology - experiments that gave rise to the Little People, progenitors of the Cabbage Patch Kids - violated every miscegenation law from the Jim Crow days in ways never previously imagined.
As one of the nurses at BabyLand General explained it, Bunnybees (a bizarre insectoid-mammalian hybrid) scatter “magical crystals” (Bunnybee spooge) over the cabbage patch, resulting in an even more bizarre genetic mashup of Bunnybee and cabbage. Amazingly, this interspecies
In the lobby of BabyLand General one can view display cases containing some of Xavier Roberts’s earliest experimental results. Some are, apparently, stuffed and mounted; others reside in banks of formaldehyde-filled jars, floating like so many medical school fetal cadavers.
|A stuffed and mounted Little Person.|
Proceed past the lobby and there are more rooms: incubators, nurseries, recovery rooms. There’s a classroom where, presumably, little Cabbage Patch Kids are taught the sinister secrets of their personal biology. And there is even a catering hall and restaurant, where fans of the Little People can host weddings, first communion celebrations, quinceañeras, and bar mitzvahs. Cabbage dishes - borscht, stuffed cabbage, cole slaw, and the like - are prominently featured on the menu.
|What the hell are they feeding these kids, anyway?|
I noticed that the nurse-midwife had adequate provisions of hot water at her side during the birthing procedure. When I asked her about it later, she assured me that it was only there “to make cabbage soup.” Gaaaah.
Mother Cabbage, of course, is physically unsuited to care for her numerous offspring - more, even, than the Octomom! - given that she is incapable of locomotion. And thus the little Cabbage Patch Kids must be given up for adoption as soon as is practicable. It’s a regrettable situation, but one that has enriched Xavier Roberts immensely, for he collects a considerable fee for handling each adoption. When the Kids were at the peak of their popularity back in 1983, Roberts’s income was higher than the GDP of one (and possibly two) of the G7 countries.
|“Pick me! Pick me!” After a few years at BabyLand General, the Haitian sugar cane fields start to look like an attractive alternative.|
|Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, cabbage to cabbage: the Cabbage Patch Kids cemetery.|
It must be confessed that both Elder Daughter and the Mistress of Sarcasm thoroughly enjoyed their visit to BabyLand General. Seeing the Cabbage Patch Kids (and those Bunnybees) in their native habitat was a wonderful exercise in nostalgia. I am sure they will treasure the memories of that day forever.