As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the difficulties my friends and I had in getting started in this hobby was finding someplace to buy our books and modules. My friend Dan found the Moldvay/Cook basic and expert sets during a family trip somewhere out of the area. We knew there were other products available, but we weren't sure what they were or where we could find them. That is, until the day the Sears wish catalog arrived in the mail. I know that doesn't mean much to any younger readers, but the arrival of the wish catalog was always a big deal. It came out in the fall and was filled with Christmas gift ideas. This particular year it was also filled with D&D books. There were several things to choose from, but I was most intrigued with the Advanced D&D books. I thought they were part of the same game we had been playing, just more, well, .... advanced. I wasn't about to wait until Christmas, so I checked my finances and realized I had enough for one book. We had books on character creation and DM advice in the basic and expert set, so what I decided what we could really use was more monsters. (Because you can never have enough.) So I ordered the AD&D 1st edition Monster Manual. When it arrived we put it to use instantly. Sure, the stats looked a little funny compared to the ones in our D&D boxed sets, and there seemed to be a few more alignments than we were used to, but we didn't let that stop us. We bashed the two rule sets together with a blunt instrument and went about our merry way. It wasn't until I later bought the Player's Manual that we realized we had two different sets of game rules on our hands.
Sadly, I don't still have my first purchase. Poor storage choices and some theft have accounted for almost all my original gaming collection.