One of Catherine Brouillette’s earliest memories of Strawberry Shortcake — the doll, not the dessert — was finding herself stuck headfirst in the zippered end of her character-themed sleeping bag.
It was a berry, berry precarious situation that she doesn’t remember how she escaped. But Catherine does recall everyone commenting on how her childhood bedroom “smelled like fruit.”
For those of you who didn’t experience girlhood in the 1970s and ’80s, Strawberry Shortcake was an American Greetings card cartoon turned into a scented-doll and merchandise line. Her friends and pets all had fruit or dessert-themed names.
As a child, Catherine had the rag dolls, plastic figurines, pajamas, records, lunchbox and drinking glasses. Then, like a scene out of Pixar’s “Toy Story,” the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls came along and Strawberry Shortcake found herself slumped across the yard sale table.
“Years later, I was kicking myself for selling those dolls,” she says. “I wish I had them back.”
Bit by the nostalgia bug in her college years, Catherine started buying back her childhood; today, she may have one of the largest Strawberry Shortcake collections in the world. In 2013, she acquired a 30-year collection that decorated a berry-themed bed and breakfast in Pennsylvania. You might think of it as the merger of two Strawberry Shortcake museums.
Every summer, Catherine hosts a small gathering of fellow Strawberry Shortcake collectors at her home to try to sell some excess toy inventory, but also to bond with kindred spirits over strawberry cupcakes.
“I’ve made a lot of friends in this hobby over the years,” she says. “Right now, we’re the only Strawberry Shortcake gathering going on anywhere.”
This profile appeared as part of a larger article in the September 2023 issue of New Hampshire Magazine highlighting some of the fascinating collectors and passionate collectors in the state.
To learn more about the other Granite State Super Collectors, click here.