One of the most memorable moments of my early childhood was the Masters of the Universe sticker album set from Panini. For mere pocket change, little boys around the world could race to their local store and buy a pack of stickers in the hopes of finding the stickers they needed to complete their album.
The thrill of the hunt consumed us as we randomly picked out which packs could hold the few stickers we desperately needed. Trading stickers in school were all the rage during recess, and that one kid that had the stickers you needed suddenly became your new best friend.
I was living in Puerto Rico at the time and I still remember going into this pharmacy time and time again with pocket money I scrounged up, ready to shell out for more stickers. There was even an offer that you could trade in your empty sticker packs for a prize! I’m not sure if this was available everywhere, but I remember getting a little toy robot that could shoot out sparks! In a pre-Transformers world, that little guy was the most amazing thing I ever saw.
Fast forward to the end of the fad. My sticker album was almost complete, with the exception of one sticker. That one sticker stood in the way of completing that album and my childhood destiny. Pack after pack lead to more and more disappointments as I was greeted with doubles after doubles. In time I gave up.
Then one day, while at the pharmacy that started it all, my mom was speaking to one of the pharmacists in the back. I have no idea how the conversation went this way, but she asked me which was the sticker I was missing. I told her the number and the old lady behind the counter disappeared for a brief moment, then came back with the much needed sticker in hand.
I had it! And it was the most excitement I felt in a long, long time. My album was complete! I had them all.
Since the Masters of the Universe album, I had a few other Panini sticker sets. Voltron, Transformers, and probably a couple more I can’t remember. But the Masters of the Universe one was special to me. Maybe because it was my first one, or maybe it was because I had the most emotional investment put into it, but that He-Man album is one of the most beloved childhood memories I have.