Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Memories Make The Memorabilia

A few weeks ago my friends over at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway asked me to share my memories of Dusty Rhodes and his Jim Crockett Promotions-era memorabilia. Knowing that he is my all-time favorite wrestler and that I had the honor of meeting him a number of times, they knew that I would have some interesting stories. I'd say it's hard to find any piece of memorabilia in any collection that doesn't have some sort of story attached to it.

Maybe it's how you obtained it. You suddenly came upon it in a store without even knowing it was in existence. Perhaps it's who bought it for you. A long departed loved one? A friend who has come and gone from your life? Even still, it could simply be where you were at that time of your life. Very often an item will have extra significance to a collector if it's a treasure from their childhood. Or maybe it was a special gift from the person who ended up becoming your significant other.

My parents were always very toy-savvy. They knew what was new in stores and what wasn't. When my mom noticed the Hasbro WWF Earthquake figure on the shelves during a 1992 shopping trip, she decided to surprise me with it. After school that day, as I innocently held a "Royal Rumble" with my Hasbro and Galoob figures, my mom began to loudly read some of the new "names" from the back of the card and asked my opinions on them. Although it intrigued me, it apparently wasn't enough to tear me away from the Rumble at hand. When my dad arrived home later that afternoon, they let me have my new "Natural Disaster." You can imagine who came out victorious in the Rumble that day.

The first pay-per-view that I attended was the 1995 SummerSlam. Although many regard it as a low point in WWF history due to the era in which it took place, many of us who were there are biased. The WWF really did take over the town at the time with a lot of promotions and activity. I even met the two then-World Champions, Diesel and Alundra Blayze, the day before. Though we bought the program at the event, my dad really wanted me to have one of the promotional posters for the show. Later in the evening, returning from a restroom break, my dad surprised me with a laminated version of the poster that had to have been for sale.

But what about firsts? Where it all began. For me, the very first item in my collection was a Hulk Hogan's Rock N' Wrestling Coloring Book. I don't have many memories of watching the cartoon as a child for the same reason that I don't have many early memories of weekend morning wrestling. We always did family activities on weekends, so for wrestling I have much clearer early memories of Prime Time Wrestling and Saturday Night's Main Event. Nonetheless, you'd think that I would have known not to color Andre the Giant's hair green. Kids!

And for my first meeting/autograph? Sgt. Slaughter. Monroeville, Pennsylvania. 1988. I've discussed it here before, but any chance that I get to show off my stylish '80s duds is something that I jump at. Nearly thirty years later and "Sarge" is still one of the nicest guys that you would ever want to meet. The great "secret" of our first meeting? I was there more because of his association with G.I. Joe than the fact that he was a pro wrestler. But there I was, red pants and all, first in line for the legendary meeting...

Well, that was a fun little run through just a small sample of my wrestling and memorabilia memories. I hope that this inspires you to go back and think about what each figure, magazine, and autograph really means to you. It's often a value much more important than money.

No comments: