May 7, 2010
Attack of the Beenie Babies
IconATTACK OF THE BEANIE BABIES By Cheryl Gochnauer When I went garage saling last week, I was amazed to see all the marked-downBeanie Babies. I'm old enough to remember when Beanies sparked mania acrossour cities, and it's a little sad to see them tossed haphazardly incardboard crates on strangers' driveways. Those who know me well are grinning as they read that last line. Theyremember how hard I fought my Beanie addiction - right up until Pugsley wonme over. But I'm getting ahead of the story. . . . Let's flash back a few years, and re-live "Attack of the Beanie Babies", aHomebodies column I wrote in 1997:I refuse to give in to every whim that presents itself. I didn't adopt aCabbage Patch doll; refused to blow a fuse over Buzz Lightyear; managed toignore Tickle Me Elmo. Amused, I watched as fellow moms collected all 101 Dalmatians and overdosedon Happy Meals in order to get every Teeny Beanie. Those littlepebble-stuffed animals seemed harmless enough. But then Beanie Babies took on a life of their own. My friends -- grownwomen, mind you -- were going bonkers for Beanies. One lady waited in linefor three hours to purchase four (the limit). Another ran up long distancebills, calling out-of-town Hallmarks for leads on the elusive critters. Teachers passed out Beanie Baby rosters and kids logged onto the Beanie BabyWebsite, with full-color photos and stats on each innocent-looking entry. Everywhere, from grocery store to hardware shop, I noticed mountains ofbeanbag dolls, all (in my novice eyes) as cute as could be. "What's thedeal?" I asked my daughter, Karen. "There's all kinds of Beanie Babiesaround." "Those aren't the REAL Beanies, Mom. See, the real ones have a little redheart with a poem." "These have poems. And names, too," I persisted. "They're all right, I guess," Karen sidetracked, but I knew she wasn'tconvinced. It really didn't matter to me, anyhow. I thought the whole thing wasstupid, and so I shrugged it off and got on with my life. Karen's birthday was in two weeks, and I was feeling the pressure of findingsomething a nine-year-old would like. Too old for toys; too young to besatisfied with new clothes. The only thing she had shown an interest in was those Beanie Babies herfriends all had. All right. I'll get her a bunch of Beanies. Little did I know. I should have been shopping for Beanies eight monthsago. We were in the midst of a Beanie drought. Babies on the Beanie blackmarket were bringing 10 times their face value. A Hallmark clerk laughed in my face, saying yes, they did get a shipment ofBeanies in last week. All 120 were gone in 10 minutes. What is there, some kind of Beanie Underground? Rumor said a shop downtown had a stash, but the owner only sold to "private"customers. Maybe by dropping a name, I'd have some luck. Forget it! My head was splitting with the injustice of it all. Then I started getting calls from the Beanie hotline. Addicts phoned inleads. It was as surreal as Elvis sightings. "There's a handful at the Odessa Outlet Mall!" "A lady in Warsaw has one for $20. I'd take it." "My cousin had some doubles. Let me check with her." I resisted as long as I could, but then...I'm sorry...I get a littleemotional here. I gave in. I became a Beanie Weenie. Memory clicked and I remembered a source who could get me a couple ofBeanies in time for Karen's birthday. Ironically, this same lady hadoffered each of my girls a free Beanie Baby a few months earlier. I hadlaughed at her then; now, I was scrambling for her phone number. The Beanies were no longer free, but she had connections on the Internet.She could pull a few strings...and shamelessly, I let her. Karen's' reaction to Pugsley and Blizzard was worth it all. And that Pugsley...he's SO cute! I've got to get a grip.(Comments? Email , or visit her website at . Her book, So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom, isavailable at your favorite bookstore. Copyright 2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on

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