What I Collect
What’s not to love about the ticklish baking icon children and adults adoringly call the Doughboy?
One Lycoming County resident says absolutely nothing. In fact, she can’t get enough of the Pillsbury icon.
For the past 12 years, she’s been building her collection of Pillsbury Doughboy collectibles. On display in Debra Shattuck’s kitchen are more than 150 items, including clocks, figurines, canisters and plush, squeezable characters, all lovingly placed where she can enjoy them each day.
It all started at a Walmart years ago when Shattuck was picking up the ingredients to make a sweet treat.
“Pillsbury had a promotion on their biscuits or cinnamon rolls,” she said. “If you purchased the tube, you got the Doughboy with it.”
The soft plastic character was the cheapest in her collection but would begin a long love affair with the little guy. Next, she bought her most expensive item, a Pillsbury Doughboy canister set released by her favorite collectibles company, Danbury Mint, which Shattuck said she would never put flour or sugar in. In fact, she doesn’t use any of the items for their intended purposes, except for the clocks or her friendly reminders to “keep positive” that she scribes on her Doughboy chalkboard.
“He’s just so happy,” she said. “How could you look at him and not think happy thoughts?”
On a particularly gloomy day, Shattuck said she used her Doughboy chalkboard to send herself a message.
Printed next to the bubbly, smiling character, she told herself, “You are what you think,” and an arrow pointing to the word “positive.”
“It makes me happy,” she said about the atmosphere the Doughboy brings to her kitchen. Shattuck, a native of Louisiana, spends a lot of time in her kitchen.
“My husband’s got to have his rice and gravy every night. I make a lot of southern meals.”
Shattuck said there is a steady stream of items being delivered from the Danbury Mint.
When something new is being produced, the company notifies her of the latest collectible.
And more than likely, Shattuck said she will order it.
Although Shattuck said she can’t pick one that is her favorite – “they’re all my favorite!” – there is one Doughboy that came to her at just the right time.
It was the year of the “Forgotten Storm.”
Hurricane Rita wreaked havoc on Shattuck’s Louisiana town about three weeks after Hurricane Katrina caused massive destruction.
“We had to evacuate,” Shattuck said.
“It was just me and my cat and they took me to a shelter. There was a lady handing out toys for the kids and when I saw a Pillsbury Doughboy I knew I just had to have it. I asked her if I could please have it. He was sent to me. He made me happy.”
To remember the details of the day, the words “9/23/05 Cajun Dome” are written on the tag of the plush Doughboy.
Another of Shattuck’s favorite stories involves her then 10-year-old granddaughter, who she said will inherit the Doughboy collection one day.
“My husband was hanging me a shelf for my Doughboys,” Shattuck said. “I should have known better. The shelf collapsed.
My granddaughter must have seen the look on my face because she said, ‘It’s OK, we can superglue them back together.’
She sat at a table all day piecing everything back together.”
That, Shattuck said, is why her granddaughter will inherit it.
“I thought it was so sweet that she wanted me to feel better and now, six years later, she’s still helping,” she said.
On a recent visit, her granddaughter helped put some of the Doughboys in order and helped set up the collection.
A shadow-box containing at least 25 miniature Doughboys was out of order because Shattuck said she couldn’t read the small labels, such as “Autumn Fun,” “Bon Appetite” and “Merry Christmas,” so her granddaughter took the time to place them in the correct homes.
Shattuck is happy that most of her friends now know about her love of the Doughboy.
Her neighbor, Miss Sandy, has a son who also collects the character.
Because he had two of a collector’s glass celebrating the Doughboy’s 30th birthday, she snuck one to Shattuck.
And one of her husband’s employees couldn’t pass up a pair of Pillsbury Doughboy pants when he was out shopping.
Shattuck said she has started to look on eBay, where she is finding some favorites, as well.
Dish towels, pot holders and a tea kettle all are on display underneath a print of one of the first Doughboy commercials.
Now she is patiently awaiting a Pillsbury Doughboy lazy Susan that she plans to use as a centerpiece on her kitchen table.
She is signed up to receive an item from Danbury’s cupcake collection each month that she plans to display on the lazy Susan.
And as long as the items keep coming, Shattuck said she’ll keep smiling.
“How could you look at him and not just smile back?”