|As close as I'll get...at least for now
It was 1988. I was 14 (almost 15) years old. I had been watching wrestling about 4 years at that point. Not only did I watch all the shows, I read all the magazines. I still have a huge collection of the "Apter" mags as well as WWF magazine.
In addition to my collection of magazines, I was also obsessed with the WWF LJN figures, as you can see in the photo and on My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube in my Confessions of a Hulkamaniac post. I think by the time I was done collecting I had close to 40 of the figures. (They weren't dolls)
Anyway, back to my point. King Kong Bundy who I think by this point was either done with the WWF or very close to being done with the company was making a stop near my hometown. I grew up in a small town outside of St. Louis. Bundy was going to be at the grand opening a Central Hardware store in Festus, Missouri. It was only about 25 minutes from my parents house and I asked my dad to take me.
So that Sunday afternoon we got in the car and headed to the store. I had my LJN King Kong Bundy card in hand, hoping to get the big guy's autograph. I remember be excited and nervous, for this would be my first up close and personal encounter with a wrestler.
When we arrived at the hardware store, I was upset to see a line that extended to the back of the store. Lots of fans had Bundymania and wanted to see him too. Bundy was posing for a Polaroid picture with each adoring fan. I remember thinking the line was way too long to wait (although now days I've waited in much longer lines for much lesser superstars.)
I stood near the front of the crowd where the photographer was snapping the pics. Bundy was so big, but seemed so nice. He'd put his arm around the shoulder of the fan sitting next him. Shake their hand. Chit chat with them. I still regret not waiting in that line for this opportunity. Thinking back, I remember not wanting to inconvenience my dad by waiting so long. But dad never once complained or said anything. He even tried to convince me to stay, but I stood firm that we should leave. The stupid things teenagers do, right?
Hopefully, one day I'll have the opportunity again. I'm hoping Bundy comes to a reunion or an event near where I live now in Illinois. This time, I'll wait in that long line and be happy to do it.