"I'd Walk A Mile For a Wacky"
My first memory
of Wacky Packages begins in 1973. Late spring to be exact.
I was in the 4th grade, and school would
soon be out for summer. I began noticing these funny little stickers
appearing on notebooks and folders throughout the classrooms, and talk of
Wacky Packages in the halls. I thought the gags were hilarious, and the
peel-and-stick factor was too tempting for any 9-year-old to resist. I had
to find some for myself.
Alas, it was not
to be. By the time school was over, I still hadn’t found them. Our
store didn’t carry Wacky Packs, and I had no access to any other stores.
While visiting a friend across town that summer, his older brother came in
wearing a jean jacket covered in wackys. They were the 1st series cloth
stickers, and I followed him around trying to read the titles as he walked
from room to room. The Mrs. Klean on his sleeve is still stuck in my mind
In late summer, after a family
trip to my aunt’s house, we stopped at a little store on the way home. It
was there that I finally found Wacky Packages for sale. I convinced my dad
to buy me some, and walked out as the proud owner of two packs of wackys.
We continued on
to a Jerry’s Restaurant
across the street, and naturally I brought my new stickers in with me. They
were beautiful and I couldn’t believe that I had finally found them. This is
where I discovered there was a checklist. Hmmm…3rd
series? How in the heck am I going to get all these stickers? And what
about the 1st
and 2nd series? Where will I ever find those? I was truly hooked.
The school year
started back up, and more and more kids were showing off their wackys on
their notebooks and book covers. I asked where they got them, but they were
all from little "mom and pop" stores across town that I'd never heard of.
And my mom wasn't going to drive me all over the place looking for stickers.
If she took me shopping, it was for clothes or shoes or groceries, and no
October of '73,
our corner store began selling wacky packages. Now, you have to understand
that we lived in the suburbs, and our “corner store” was about a mile from my
house. The store was called “Jumbo’s” and was owned by a guy named (can you
guess?) Jumbo. He was a large man of at least 400 pounds and seemed kind of
mean and scary to us kids back then. Once in a while, he'd waddle out and
tell us to "buy something or get out." But usually he just lounged in the back
room watching television, while a neighborhood mom or teenager ran the
I was very
excited when I saw the wackys, and immediately laid down all of my 50 cents to buy
ten whole packs. The cashier informed me that I’d have to pay sales tax, and
ten packs would cost me 53 cents. Ouch, that hurt! I could only afford nine
packs that way! Then she let me in on a little secret. If a purchase was
under 10 cents, there was no sales tax at all. So she sold me the packs one
at a time, and I walked out with ten receipts and lots of wackys.
I opened them as
soon as I got outside the door. Nutlee’s Quit was cool, with the creepy hand
sticking out. Mustard Charge, hah, I stuck it in my
empty wallet in case I wanted
to “charge” my next purchase.
Land-o-Quakes…hubba-hubba, that indian girl
was a fox. Much cuter than the girl on the real package. Wow, this
was the 4th series
already. I had to get on the ball! But now I had a source. And armed with
a new checklist, all I needed was cash.