This is the first Packers superfan story I’ve done in awhile. I decided early on that I was going to make this a rather exclusive club. If anyone deserves to be the next inductee, it’s Glen Christensen. Glen, who lives in Grapevine Texas, has put together the most amazing collection of Packers memorabilia and collectibles you’re like to see anywhere outside of the Packers Hall of Fame.
How about a life size Bart Starr replica statue? A bench from the Packers sideline in the 1960’s? An action photo of Curly Lambeau from 1921? He has them all and much, much more. You can view many of them at his new website, UltimatePackerCollection.com.
Here is Glen’s story:
When did you first become a Packers fan and what is the background story behind it?
I was born in Green Bayat St.VincentsHospitaland grew up just blocks from Lambeau Field where my Grandparents had a neighborhood store on 9th Street. I literally have been a fan my entire life. My Green and Gold blood comes from my mom and dad. My mom was the first majorette with the Green Bay Packer Lumberjack Band from 1940-1944. She was hired by Curley Lambeau and Wilner Burke after seeing her twirl at halftime at aGreen BayEastHigh School game. My Dad sold cars for Don Hutson and he had a lot of great stories to tell about that as well. It seems my dad had an uncanny likeness to Hutson so Don would send him out to the lot some times to fool prospective customers that they were meeting the great Don Hutson. My Dad also worked as an artist for Romo display and was involved in the “G” decal design for the helmets. Growing up I remember having brown paper packages in my Dads cabinets that were full of the helmet “G’s” …… I also remember decorating my bikes with them, folders, etc. Oh how I wish I had those original, vintage helmet decals today!
What are some of your earliest memories of the Green Bay Packers?
I remember as a young boy sitting on the cold curb outside my Grandparents store listening to the games on Sundays. I’d sit out there regardless of the weather. I’d go into my grandpas store and grab an Orange Crush and the game would be playing loudly on a radio. Then back out to the curb. I could tell if the Packers were doing well just by the cheers of the crowds and the car horns blaring after the games they won. I remember standing by the cyclone fences surrounding the practice fields getting a clear view of my childhood hero Bart Starr and of course Vince Lombardi.
How did your Packer fandom evolve into your obsession with collecting all things Packers?
Well my mom gave me all of her early 1940’s memorabilia from the Lumberjack Band which included programs, satin field passes, original photos of City Stadium games, and her batons that she used on the field. From there, I decided to display them on my wall and began adding items that I had in the attic from my childhood which included helmets, pennants, electric football game (Packers vsChicago) , etc. I was on my way to collecting vintage memorabilia for the greatest professional team in history. I don’t really collect just anything Packers-Im not into the trinkets, tshirts, photos,etc. Im more into the substantial items that are more museum quality. My Packer museum gives me a place that can take me “home” whenever I want. I can sit in my Packer rooms and literally relive so many great memories.
Do you remember the first Packers collectible you bought for yourself?
Yes, I bought a 1960’s square base bobblehead. It’s just a simple 1963 square base Packer nodder. Of course back then they didn’t have a different one for every player. I now own nearly 50 of them.
Is there one item that you would say was the catalyst for building such an extensive collection?
Yes, and its an item I don’t own. When I was growing up I always would stare at a football on my brother’s dresser. I knew it was important cause it had his birthdate on it along with a signature. He also had a team signed football that occasionally I would “borrow” and go play catch with a friend in the basement. As I got a little older I learned that the “Vince Lombardi” signature that I smudged was kind of important….. As for the other ball it was a ball from Don Hutson that he brought to the hospital for my brothers birth on April 20, 1950 and was signed Don Hutson. My Brother was forced to sell both balls and at the time I had no money to buy them. I always wished I could of kept them.
What is the most unusual strangest or oddball Packers item you own?
Hmmm-well most of the visitors I have to the collection cannot believe that I have one of the rooms carpeted with the actual endzone from Super Bowl XVL. I actually have the P from “Packers.” It weighs like 400 pounds for the piece.
What? Tell me some more about that.
The endzone turf is cool. I sat in the endzone for the Super Bowl here in Dallas and during the game I started wondering what they do with that turf. I knew it wasn’t the regular turf from the stadium as I’d been on the field earlier in the week. So the day after the Super Bowl I was on the phone with the turf installation people. They told me that the NFL had contracted with a company to buy both endzones and gave me their name . I called them and found out that their intent was to cut up the entire endzone into either 1″x1″or 4″x4″ pieces and mount them on plaques as souvenirs. The 4″ piece sold for roughly 99 bucks. When I told the guy I wanted 10yd x 10 yd piece he flipped. I told him I had to have the “P”. So, the endzones were actually transported to a secure warehouse in Fort Worth to be cut up. I was fortunate enough to get the piece I wanted and it’s a really cool part of my locker room. The roll still had all the ground rubber granules in it so it was extremely heavy and took 3 men to carry it into my locker room.
What are the top items on your current “must have” list?
What does your wife have to say about your collecting?
I am extremely fortunate to have the full support of my better half. We have been married 32 years so she realizes how much the Packers mean to me and to our entire family. We met atMenomonee FallsNorthHigh Schooland have been together ever since! Though we live inTexasour entire family is from Wisconsin-now numbering over 100 strong down here 1120 miles from Lambeau.
Any other collectors in the family?
My son Tom is extremely active in collecting as well. He has been going to Green Bay with me since he was 5 yrs old searching for Packer relics . Someday it’ll be his responsibility to keep these memories safe and alive. Tons Texas license plate reads CHEEZHD and my plate reads PACKRS1. We are die hard Packer fans. Tom and I have been stockholders since 1997 and we bought more in 2011 along with shares for my wife, daughters, grand daughters and my in laws!
Have you met many Packers players? Have any been to your shrine? Any interesting stories there?
I have met many, many Packer players over the years-especially most of the Glory Years players. I haven’t had any of them to the “Shrine” –mainly because we are inTexas. Donald Driver lives about 15 minutes from my home so I hope to get him over some time.
I know you’ve gotten some recognition from the media. What are some specifics and how did that feel?
I’ve had my collection appear in quite a few magazines including Southwest Airlines inflight magazine, Gridiron Sports Collectibles, Tough Stuff, Sports Collectors Digest, Packers Inside 1260 magazine, Packer Report, FHM magazine where my room was voted as one of the top 20 places in the country to watch gameday!!! In addition to magazines and internet articles I’ve appeared on Leatherheads Radio. My favorite time was during the Super Bowl here inDallaswhen we had about a dozen TV stations visit the room. No one from the Wisconsin stations could believe that this collection was down in Texas! What more could I ask for!!!???
What would you consider your favorite Packers moment?
My favorite Packer moment was watching the Packers win Super Bowl XLV here inDallas. I was lucky enough to go with my son Tom who was too young at the time I traveled alone toNew Orleansto see the Pack win Super Bowl XXXI. I will also never forget taking my son Tom to his first Lambeau Field game when he was 6. He walked in holding onto my jersey with his eyes closed all the way to our seat. I couldn’t understand why he was doing this so I asked and he said “Dad, when I open my eyes I want to remember what it looks like my whole life”. I knew right there I had raised him the right way to love the Packers and realize how special it is to go to Lambeau Field.
You recently became a Packers season ticket holder living inTexas. Are you able to make it to some games?
Getting our season seats last year was just incredible! We got the notice about the same time we figured outGreen Baywas coming toDallasto the Super Bowl so it was really, really exciting. We go to about 5 games a year-and all of the playoff games of course! We expect to be sitting there this year for the NFC Championship!
Which current Packer player would you most want to sit down to dinner with?
Without a doubt Aaron Rodgers. I think he a class act and since he seems to avoid the public it would make for a rare opportunity to talk with him one on one.
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.