January 18, 2019

5 Things I Want From the 1988 Sears Christmas Wish Book

Well, Christmas is coming up quick, and this big Appalachian snowfall has me stuck inside for the day, so I thought it would be a fun time to open up an old Sears Christmas Wish Book and relives some great old memories from the past.  Much like I did in the post, Making My Wish List from the 1986 Sears Wish Book, I’m going to go through and pick out all the cool things I wanted.  But this time, I’m going back in time to 1988 with that year’s edition of the Wish Book.

I was 10 years old in 1988, so it was right at that perfect time of still being into toys, but at the same time, starting to have an eye towards some gifts that were a little more “grown up”.  The 1988 edition of the Wish Book was loaded with so much cool stuff, I don’t think I’m going to be able to cover them all this time out, so I’ll probably stop at five things for now, and then pick up again later.  Let’s get to it!

GI Joe Bath Set

G.I. Joe Locker Bag Kit

Oh my goodness!  If you’ve got to start a personal grooming habit as a young man, what better way to do it than with G.I. Joe?!?  This kit has everything a 10 year old young man would need too.  G.I. Joe approved toothbrush and tooth paste (ADA be damned), mini soap with it’s own case to keep it from getting all slimy, a brush and comb for whatever stylish ‘do you are sporting, and a cup to go along with that tooth care set.  To top it all off, there is a small pocket size pack of tissue to take with you wherever you go, and a cool ass locker bag to store it all in.  You would be the envy of your fellow gym mates if you walked into a locker room with that bag slung over your shoulder.  And on top of all of that, how cool would it be to see this puppy hanging up in your bathroom at home.  It would almost make coming in from playing outside to get cleaned up enjoyable.  Almost.

 

Rock Tumbler

Rock Tumbler

This rock tumbler is still my holy grail of never gotten Christmas gifts.  I circled this thing in every Wish Book from as far back as I can remember all the way up through the early nineties.  Never once did I find it waiting for me under the tree at Christmas.  I had all these dreams about using it to start a profitable business making gem stone jewelry and price gouging the other kids at school.  Just yesterday I was out doing a little Christmas shopping and had to make a stop at Hobby Lobby.  I’m browsing the aisles and minding my own business, when I turn a corner and BAM!  There’s a display full of Rock Tumblers!  I couldn’t believe my luck.  After all these years I could finally have one for my very own.  But then I saw the price tag.  $119.99.  Are they serious?  How is anyone supposed to turn a profit on cheap gem stone jewelry with over head like that.  Not this old boy, no sir.  I’ll just have to continue to circle this thing in every catalog I come across hoping one day to be gifted one.

If you want to go just a tad bit deeper into my want for a rock tumbler, go check out the piece I did a long time ago on Things I DIDN’T Have as a Kid.

 

Slot Car Track

Slot-less Slot Car Race Track

Now here we go!  I am an old slot car fiend from way back, and this track just looks awesome.  Now I know it doesn’t have all the cool twists, turns, loops, and the other bells and whistles that various other slot car tracks have, but it has one feature that one ups all of those.  Do you see any actual slots on this tack?  Nope, not a single one.  That’s because you have to steer these cars yourself.  There’s no slot to guide you own your way or to keep you from slamming into your opponent.  You have to have the skill to avoid, or ram, your opponent yourself.  That makes this track set so awesome.  I can totally see myself mimicking “The Intimidator” Dale Earnhardt and “rattling some cages’ to put other racers in the wall….or cheap plastic guard rail as the case may be here.

Slot Car Track

Now while I never did get an awesome slot-less track, I DID actually get the slot car track above.  It was a pretty bad ass track in it’s own right though.  I thought the lap counter was just the coolest feature I had seen on a track before.  You could set it to however many laps you wanted to run (up to 50 I think), and then the first car to clock that many laps would have a little winner’s flag pop up on their timer.  I’m pretty sure I got the track for Christmas ’88, so there is a very good chance it was ordered from this very catalog.

 

LEGO

LEGO Sets

LEGO was really my cup of tea throughout my whole childhood.  Heck, my kids still play with all my old LEGO’s even today.  Luckily, it was one of the toys my Mom kept for all those years.  Some of the pieces still in my childhood collection come from that Hospital pictured at the top of the page.  It was a pretty cool set as it gave you a building to add to your LEGO city.

But while that was cool, it’s the bottom two sets that really get my motor running.  First of all, that Truck Stop is just dripping with manliness.  If you had this set as a kid, you probably grew chest hair before all you’re friends who didn’t have it.  With two rigs and a big rig wrecker, you were ready for some heavy hauling.  And when the hours got too long, you could pull into the truck stop itself for a hot cup of Joe.  Life couldn’t be much sweeter.  Since my Dad drove some big trucks like these, this thing was on my list for a couple of years.  I had to make do with creating my own versions though.  Since I never had it, it’s going on my list again.

To finish it off, there is the super speedway.  My old man picked me up the small version of this one at some point.  It had only one base plate though instead of two, and only two race cars instead of the four pictured here. My small set was super fun, so I can only imagine how much fun this mammoth set would have been.

If you’re like me and love old LEGO’s and LEGO sets, you should check out my complete scan of the 1987 LEGO Shop at Home Catalog.  There is so much fun and goodness dripping from those pages, even today.

 

Nintendo Games

Nintendo Games

How could any self-respecting kid not just circle the entire page?  Do you see the selection of games just ready for the taking?  And this is only one of a two page spread! (I’m saving the other page for the next list!) Even though a kid can’t restrain themselves, as an adult, I can.  That, and I don’t have the space or time right now to write about every game on the page, so I just circled a select few.

A couple of my absolute favorite games are on this page in Castlevania 2:  Simon’s Quest and Pro Wrestling!  I had gotten Pro Wrestling the night I got my Nintendo, and I saved my allowance for what felt like forever and bought Simon’s Quest.  So to narrow this list down a little further, let’s just go with the rest.  There’s RC Pro Am, Rad Racer, Ghosts and Goblins, and the legendary Legend of Zelda.  Those are some hall of fame titles right there.  And I’m sure every game on the page has it’s hardcore fans, making this a page with probably more circles than any other in the whole catalog.  Back in this time period, if you were a kid whose parents had any means whatsoever, you generally found a new Nintendo game under your tree.  I know I was fortunate enough to find one most years, and any of these games I had circled would have entertained me for the rest of Christmas break.


Well we’re gonna leave it right there for this time out, and I’ll pick up on this topic again real soon.  In the mean time, you can go back to the 1986 Wish Book and see all the cool stuff I would put on my list from that one.

About The Retro Rambler 180 Articles
I'm the Retro Rambler, and this is my online home where I relive all the stuff that made my childhood cool. I've never really grown up, and don't really want to either. Enjoy your stay here, and come back often to see the latest memories we're posting. Drop me a comment when something strikes you and we'll chat about it. Retro Ramblings....your childhood lives here.