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When I was a kid, my grandmother hated me.

Okay, she didn’t hate me, but it’s a well known family fact that she loved my sister more. This is not disputable, as she not only treated her better than me when we visited (everyone except my mother saw this), she flat out told me when I was older and asked her that, yes, she Joy was her favorite grandchild and she didn’t care who knew.

As you can imagine, grandma’s house wasn’t my favorite place to go. The only reason I liked going to her house was pap, because he was cool. He had dirty girl pictures in his workshop, and he never bothered to cover them up, he simply told me not to look at them — he even pointed each one out, so I would know where they were and not look. He was awesome.

99.9% of the time, when we visited, I was fortunate enough not to hang out at her house too long, anyway. While it was always the first stop when my mom visited her family in Pennsylvania, my father would say his hellos and then run me over to my Uncle Leslie’s and Aunt Fame’s. They always treated me good (to this day), and I don’t love any of my relatives more than them.

Unfortunately, though, there were times I was stuck at grandma’s with nowhere to go. Most of those times I spent watching TV while Joy and grandma did their thing. It didn’t bother me too much (that I can remember) because they were always doing sucky girl things, and Pittsburgh had a rock solid TV station that showed stellar movies (like Freaks). But sometimes, when they went shopping, I was forced to go along.

On one of these trips, we went to Hills (IIRC). Hills is (was? It may be gone by now) basically K-Mart. Naturally, we headed to the toy section. While Joy and grandma checked out the latest dolls, I wandered over to the toy car section and found a primo set of matchbox cars. There must have been a hundred in this package. Okay, it was probably more like 15, but you get it. I took it off the shelf, found my way back to Joy and grandma and asked grandma if she’d buy it for me. She, of course, told me no because the price was too dear. Apparently, the doll (or whatever) in the cart for Joy wasn’t too dear.

Disappointed, but probably used to it, I followed them as they shopped around the store. I neglected to put the car set back, as I walked around behind them looking at all the cars I’d never, ever own. (Insert violens here.) You know how when you are a kid, you can get so focused on a toy you want that the rest of the world slips away? Well, yeah, I got so completely caught up with the cars I slipped into child zombie mode, shuffling my feet, eyes glued to the prize in my hand, miraculously keeping pace with Joy and grandma in front of me.

It wasn’t until we were in the car on the way home that it dawned on me…I was still looking at the car super pack AND WE WERE NO LONGER IN THE STORE!

Now two things happened at that moment: I got nervous because I knew grandma didn’t pay for them and grandma realized something was up.

“Stewie, why are you so quiet back there? Joy, why is he so quiet?”

Joy turned around and looked at the cars in my hand.

“GRANDMA HE STILL HAS THOSE CARS AND YOU DIDN’T PAY FOR THEM! HE STOLE THEM! HE STOLE THEM!”

Grandma whipped her hand back, grabbed the package from my hand AND THREW IT OUT THE WINDOW.

“You just wait until I tell mommy what you did,” Joy said, smirking, then turned back around.

On the bright side, when the rest of the family found out, I didn’t get in trouble. And either Leslie or my mom questioned why she would throw the package out the window since I had already left the store with them.

And to think my mother always wondered why I hated going to grandmas.

  • Holy shit! She threw the cars out the window? That’s fucking awesome. Well, not for you as a kid, but that’s an incredibly awesome story!

    I agree about being so focused on toys as a kid. I remember being incredibly upset because I couldn’t get a Luke Skywalker action figure with his Cloud City get-up and removable hand (you know, from Return of the Jedi after Vader cuts it off). I just couldn’t convince my Mom of how hard to find and needed this toy was. YOU COULD TAKE OFF HIS HAND! I still don’t have it and I’ve sold off 98% of my Star Wars toys.

  • Snooze

    I can imagine your shock realizing you had shoplifted. I don’t get adults who act like that though. How unfair to a kid.

  • Ace

    I loved the Hills toy section when it opened at the mall back home. Kicked the crap out of Nichols, K-Mart, etc.

  • No, James, no it wasn’t cool for me at all. But thanks for the compliment! 🙁
    And don’t you wish you had kept those toys. You’d be a MILLIONAIRE!

    Snooze, looking back, I imagine it didn’t bother me as much as it could have becuase my aunt and uncle were so incredibly cool. I always looked forward to seeing them. I still do.

    Ace, true dat. I don’t remember much about Hills, but I remember loving their toy section.