Wacky Packages Memories

"I'd Walk A Mile For a Wacky"

Part 1

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 neighborhood 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 today.
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 luck there.
Finally, around 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 counter part-time.
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.

Part 2 >>

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