Crazy Obsession: Don't Call My Cabbage Patch a D-O-L-L


5,000 Cabbage Patch Kids and Counting

But when her father offered the couple a farm two hours south in Leonardstown, Md., they jumped at the chance to find room for their growing collection.

She said she thought, "Now, I could actually build a place for my kids," and the amusement park was born.

As for Joe Prosey, he got hooked in the 1980s one day when he was at a waterskiing event and saw a miniature sample of a wet suit hanging on a shop wall. "I thought, that'll fit a Cabbage Patch Kid."

The following weekend, he dressed Kevin the wetsuit and took him waterskiing -- even though has he got strange looks from others.

Soon, Joe Prosey was writing a column in a collectors' newsletter using Kevin's voice. "He was a real kid doing real stuff," he said. "There was such response, a woman phoned us and asked, could I do it again?"

Then, as they met more Cabbage Patch parents, the Proseys sent gifts back and forth -- eventually arranging play dates at their dream playground.

Now the couple displays and sells Cabbage Patch originals. Those from the 70s and 80s can sell for as much as $25,000 to $35,000 a piece.

"Xavier Robert told us, "If you want to prosper at this thing, you have to live the fantasy day in and day out," said Joe Prosey. "The collectors will love you."

Experts say there is a fine line between collecting and hoarding, which a serious psychological disorder.

"With hoarding, we look at three main behaviors: one, acquiring too many possessions; second, having great difficulty discarding something; and three difficulty organizing," said Julie Pike, a clinical psychologist from the Anxiety Disorder Treatment Center in Durham, N.C. "But there is a lot of overlap."

Pike has been featured on TLC's reality show, "Hoarding: Buried Alive," and spoke with last year.

Collectors are usually well-organized and know exactly where each item is and what they have. They are also proud, not ashamed, of their possessions, she said.

"But if collectors get in a place where they are spending so much money that they can't pay their mortgage, that's a problem," Pike said. "Or if they are spending so much time at it that they can't go to their job or leave their house."

Pat Prosey insists she loves her "fantasy world" and the couple has always had "a roof over our heads, food in our mouths and clothes on our back."

"You can walk out of every day life and there is no harm done, no foul play and have a good time," she said. "People pay $2 million for a painting -- is that crazy? I love my Cabbage Patches like another person loves a Rembrandt or a shiny new car."

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