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NLogan's Christmas at Grandma's House

By: NLogan


I was very young when my parents divorced. My dad left the house and went to an apartment. We stayed with mom at the house for a few years and then moved from apartment to apartment. My dad rented the house for awhile then eventually reclaimed it and lives there to this day. During the time he lived away from home one of his first apartments was in a bad neighborhood. Because of the divorce we visited my dad every other weekend and my parents traded off holidays. In 1982 it was my mom's turn for Christmas so we spent Christmas Eve with my dad at his apartment. It was a frugal affair with no Christmas tree in his small brick apartment, one of four in a four-plex. But there were stockings and presents. I don't remember how my parents explained to my twin brother and I that for some reason we had stockings filled already on Christmas Eve and presents and then we would repeat the process with mom the following day on Christmas. But we didn't care we were with our hero my dad and we had presents.

That year I got a 1937 Bugatti (1982 issue). My brother got a 1935 Cadillac (1982 issue).




I got a Firebird Funny Car with pop up chassis (1982 issue). My brother got a Corvette Funny Car with pop up chassis (1982 issue).



We got a six pack of vehicles (1982 issue) and another one of fire, rescue, and emergency vehicles (1981 issue).





We got a generic gift set of vehicles from Motor Force.



All to play on a Hot Wheels Service Center Sto&Go playset (1979 issue) from my dad. You would raise up your car on the elevator then roll it down the ramp where it would ring the bell at the service station before going into the foam rollers of the car wash. My Firebird funny car and my brother's Corvette funny car were too long to negotiate the turns.



We also had a Hot Wheels U.S.A. city Starter Set 2 (1981 issue) that you could collect and build modular cities and rearrange different ways by clicking together the street sections. We never did get any other sets to add to it but it didn't matter. We usually arranged it to be one long road. Setting up our cars at the bank we would slam down the button and a little lever arm would kick start our cars racing down the block. Each of the buildings' garage doors opened and the shorter cars could fit inside. You could also change the traffic light by sliding a lever. It didn't connect to the Service Center Sto&Go playset so we just set it nearby and would jump the curb so to speak to go into town.




Divorce is a hard thing on kids with parents playing for the kid's affections and using the kids to get back at the former spouse. If anything I learned that no matter what my parents loved me. That time spent together was precious and that those feelings of love can be remembered by seeing or picking up childhood objects and remembering the circumstances and feelings when they were received. Maybe that is why I am so nostalgic. Because it is not just a toy, it is a reminder of my parents' sacrifice and devotion to two little boys who couldn't possibly understand what was happening and needed desperately something to cling to to make them happy. Those items are more than the plastic or metal, and paint they are constructed of. They jump start feelings and memories that are easy to forget in our adulthood. That's why they are precious... what they represent, not what they are. Neither of my parents could afford the presents they got me. My dad was a postal carrier and my mom a secretary. Now that I am an adult I wonder just how much debt they went into for those smiles on Christmas morning.



A few days after that Christmas my dad was convinced to move next Christmas to a safer place. The epiphany probably came to him as he was chasing a thief down the alleyway that had just broken into his Camaro and stolen his stereo. That 1982 Z28 Camaro 305 was his pride and joy, possibly an emancipation trophy from the divorce showing that he was cool, single and on the prowl again. To me it was as close as could be to K.I.T.T. from the T.V. show Knight Rider. Now it wasn't a customized 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with artificial intelligence but to me my dad was cooler than David Hasslehoff any day of the week.



My dad would take us out spinning donuts in the snow in his Camaro.



Next year was dad's year for Christmas. Instead of staying at his apartment ever since the last year on my dad's weekends we had been going to grandma's house bringing our clothes with us in a hard sided Samsonite suitcase, light blue. We spent several Christmases and Christmas Eves there. Our Hot Wheels migrated with us and stayed at grandma's house for us to play with there. I have many memories of scooting them around the floor of the living room or racing around grandma's rug.



Below is the current image of grandma's house on Google. Back then it was green. Entering into that house it was like going back in time. It was built in the 1940s but was perpetually stuck somewhere in the 1950s with a very Christmas Story house vibe to it. It was located just off Cleveland and Browning Avenues. It had a large apple tree in the front, gardens, a tool shed, and a carport accessible by the alleyway at the rear of the property.



One year we made a snow crocodile in the yard. Grandma came out and took Polaroid pictures of it.



Maybe because she couldn't see it very well because of the lighting that day sometime later she traced the outline in pen on the photo so she could see our handiwork.



Grandma lived alone. Grandpa stayed a few blocks away at the shop, sadly they were separated but he came over for dinner when we were there for the weekend. Dinner was usually spaghetti and meatballs, and roast and mashed potatoes on Sunday.

Sometimes grandpa would take us a few blocks from grandma's house to go sledding at Liberty Park nearby. Here we are with a flexible flyer. We also used truck tire inner tubes.



We bravely made our way to the top of the hill, to the precipice of "Doom Drop, Pallbearer's Peak, Dismemberment Gorge, Lookout Hill, Mount Maim and Suicide Slope" as the sledding hill could be known. Over 100 feet of heart pounding plummeting near free fall. That is me coming down face first with my brother waiting for his turn behind me.



Mount maim was not for the weak hearted or as we liked to say, "Not for grandmas or girl scouts" (there were plenty of brave girls there also) as it had large trees to crash into at the bottom. That is me coming in for a landing.



Of course we built a jump. I am just out of frame in this one, coming in hot sideways headed for the jump  with my brother in the background backwards. Clearly the photo was meant to be timed with me going off the jump. But since this one wasn't a Polaroid there was no way of knowing if you got the shot or not until the film was developed.



We would head back to grandma's house, tired, soggy, and happy; and warm up with some hot cocoa. Grandpa made us a homemade sled one year. You can read about it in one of my former Retro Christmas articles by following this link.

http://www.retro-daze.org/site/article/id/327

The inside of grandma's house was small, the front door opened into the living room where we stayed on a green couch that folded out into a bed. There was a braided oval rug (folded over to play Crossbows and Catapults in this picture) on the floor.



This is me and my brother playing nativity in grandma's kitchen. With towels, bath robes, and a paper beard.



My brother was a wise man giving a gift of gold that was actually a Christmas door hanger with bells. Not to be outdone I was a shepherd that had a gold necklace to give to the Christ child that is actually a cereal prize box secret message decoder that was gold in color so was good enough. In the picture is grandma's lead lined refrigerator. Just to the right of the stove hanging on the wall was a old style crank rotary phone.



I remember sitting on grandma's lap watching reruns of I Dream of Jeanie, Bewitched, Gilligan's Island, Batman, and Star Trek on her tiny little 5 inch screen black and white portable television/AM FM radio that she kept in the kitchen, while we waited for my dad to get off of work and come over. Grandma wasn't much for television and that was the only one she had. She probably only turned it on when we came over.





Many times in that kitchen Grandma cooked us fried bologna sandwiches served with Franco-American spaghetti for lunch with a glass of chocolate milk made from Hershey's syrup. Cutting the bologna around the edges towards the center so when they fried they didn't form a big bubble and cooked evenly (no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for me and my brother as we are allergic to peanuts).



You may remember Franco-American a branch of Campbell's Soup, they also invented Uh Oh! SpaghettiOs!



Grandma used to buy us Hershey's Syrup to make our chocolate milk with. She always bought the can. She would open it like an oil can with a can opener making two little triangle holes in the top, one to pour it out of, and the other for air so it would flow evenly when poured. She would then put it back into the fridge with plastic wrap over the top secured with a rubber band.




In the early 1980s there was a series of Hershey's Syrup advertisements and commercials that featured Peter Billingsley (who played Ralphie on A Christmas Story) as Messy Marvin. Messy Marvin was a kid like us who would always make messes of everything. However because of Hershey's new no-mess bottle even Ralphie, er I mean Messy Marvin could make a glass of chocolate milk without getting it all over the place. I like to think that he was so upset about the whole Ovaltine decoder ring fiasco in the movie that he ended up switching sides and brand loyalty to Hershey's. Either way we convinced grandma to start buying the bottle. One extra perk that the commercials never mentioned was that when you had squeezed out the very last drop from the bottle but were still desperately wanting some chocolate milk. Grandma showed us that you could pour a little milk halfway into the bottle, shake it like crazy, then squirt out chocolate milk into your glass. Then top off the glass with milk and no stirring of any kind was necessary. Thanks grandma.






For treats grandma had a steady supply of cookies. Grandma bought a brand called Monster Chomps. Each cookie had a bite taken out of it, supposedly by the monsters. Grandma would tell us that if we didn't hurry and clean up our toys, feed her parakeet Snowy and her cockatiel Gaby, or come to dinner, etc. that by the time we did what she asked the monsters that lived inside the bags of cookies would start eating them leaving less treats for us. We hustled but Gaby was mean and would nip your fingers while you tried to change her paper at the bottom of her cage or water. Grandma was the only one that remained unscathed. Snowy was cool and would sit on your shoulder. Regardless of how fast we hustled grandma would say it wasn't fast enough because the monsters always had a bite out of every cookie on our plate that we were given. There were several flavors available and I liked them all, but chocolate chip and iced chocolate were probably my favorites. We asked grandma to get rid of the monsters so they wouldn't take bites of our cookies. We complained about monster germs to no avail. Grandma declared that living alone was lonely with just birds and monsters to keep her company, and they helped her when we weren't there. A few bitten cookies were a small price to pay in her opinion.






Grandma would also buy us ice cream. We loved chocolate, but maybe grandma got tired of it. Or maybe just to give other people in the family a chance at a different flavor, she would always buy Neapolitan ice cream with chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla in one container to choose from. My brother and I of course chose chocolate. My dad would scoop cross-ways and get all three.



After the kitchen was grandma's bedroom and bathroom. Grandma's tub was a clawfoot tub with a rubber plug on a chain for a drain stopper.



One of the coolest things about the house was that there was a trap door leading into the cellar from her bedroom. You had to move aside grandma's portable washing machine (her dryer was a clothesline in the backyard) to pull up the trap door to the basement. To me it was a secret passage with steps leading down. Down in the cellar there were racks of food storage and canned fruits from her garden, boxes of holiday decorations, and a little table with her Singer sewing machine and her sewing stuff. On the crumbly brick wall evidence of my dad's teenage years persisted with a painted skull and crossbones and the words, "The Dungeon". Apparently he hung out down there. It was like this but with concrete steps.



Grandma's Christmas tree was made of aluminum from the 1950s with glass ornaments. This isn't my grandma but it is a fair representation of what her tree looked like. This lady also had an oval rug, must have been a fad in the 50s and 60s.



Here is what her ornaments looked like.



She had a color wheel that you positioned to shine on the tree and it would reflect the colors back off of every aluminum needle twinkling back at you in red, blue, green, and gold.



Grandma always had a bowl of spiced gumdrops and ribbon candy. She also usually had a tin of Christmas butter cookies.







Grandma had three nativity sets that I remember. The first nativity scene was from around the 1960s purchased at Sears made in Italy with ceramic figures, a wooden stable and manger with moss on the roof. I played with it endlessly around Christmas time. So much so that grandma gave it to me and replaced it with a fancier white porcelain ceramic one visible in the background of this picture.



If you are wondering about the pistols we are unwrapping, those beauties are the loudest, coolest cap guns ever made. Coibel replica guns Tank Commander pistol an Italian design for WWII made of metal! Definitely a thing of the retro past as they were far too realistic.

Grandma's other nativity scene was a small plastic one also from the 1960s.



The windows at grandma's house had blinds that were the roll up tube style with a little loop on a cord that you always see in Tom and Jerry cartoons when their eyelids get rolled up.



I remember watching the colors change as the big glass bulbs of the Christmas lights in red, blue, and green glowed dully in the frosted over windows as I lay snuggled up in the covers on the fold out bed with my brother.



I remember being in bed and hearing grandma talking in her room. We knew that it was just me and my brother in the front room and we thought it was only grandma in the rest of the house. We couldn't figure out who she was talking to. We whispered a few jokes about Captain's log star date 1984 and that she must be Coo-coo for Coco Puffs. We snuck out of bed and crept like ninjas through the kitchen to her bedroom door. We could see her inside on her knees by the bed praying out loud and instantly regretted making fun of her. We started to creep back and stopped when we realized what she was saying. She was praying to God to watch over us. We sat there in the dark and listened with only the faint glow of the Christmas lights illuminating the scene. She prayed for our safety and that we would do well in school. She prayed that the divorce would not be hard on us. She prayed for my mother and my father. She prayed many things that my brother and I keep to ourselves. Sometimes she would stop talking and we would think we had been discovered or that she fell asleep, but she was listening for a response. She was having a conversation with God. As we slid back into the covers we could feel our grandmother's love for us like a warm blanket, a tangible thing that was all over the house. Grandma was a great lady and taught us many things about faith and love. This is my Grandma on Christmas wearing a Santa hat.



That is my grandpa's cool trilby hat in the foreground. It always reminded me of Inspector Clouseau's hat in the animated intro to the movies Return of the Pink Panther, Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, and Trail of the Pink Panther.



I lived in the golden age of video games. I remember the heyday of arcades and seeing coin-op machines everywhere: pizza parlors, convenience stores, rollerskating rinks, movie theaters, laundries, malls, and grocery stores, and of course arcades. One break-away star was Pac-Man. From 1980 on he dominated the scene until Ms. Pac Man took over in 1982.



The country was swept up in Pac-mania. I can no better explain it to you than my mom could have explained Beatlemania and the hysteria that swept her generation. But it was real.

Some form of Pac-Man was present in every arcade growing up in the 80s. By 1987 you could choose from Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, Super Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man, Professor Pac-Man, Jr. Pac-Man, Pac-Land, and Pac-Mania in the arcade!



I had a Pac-Man lunchbox.



I ate Pac-Man cereal and pasta, not together. Eww, gross.




I had Pac-Man cards.





I played Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man board games.







I watched the Pac-Man cartoon.



I even had Pac-Man pajamas.




In 1984 for Christmas my dad got my brother and I got our very own home gaming console, an Atari 2600. We opened it at grandma's house. Now Atari 2600 had been out since 1977 but at a $199.99 asking price back then it had taken awhile for us to get one, probably on clearance. Plus in 1984 I was only 7 years old so I may not have even appreciated it before then. The Atari came with joysticks with one button to shoot, jump, or whatever, and that was all we needed.



My dad also got us a little 12 inch RCA Solid State (no picture tubes) black and white television. I remember the little U on the dial to change to UHF.



We hastily plugged it in in grandma's bedroom and sat on her bed while dad fidgeted with the cables. While we waited we looked at the game boxes that we also got as presents.

The Atari came with a cartridge and our attention was immediately drawn to an old arcade favorite,

PAC-MAN!



On the cartridge itself it looked like Pac-Man was eating strawberry PEZ. Finally my dad had it set up and we put it in. The excitement was palpable. We plugged it in and turned it on.



It looked absolutely nothing like the arcade game. Instead of dots you ate dashes. The secret passages were on the top of the board instead of the sides. There was no fruit instead there was a power pellet. The ghosts flickered across the screen. Even the sound effects were different. The differences were because of the hardware space and memory limitations of the cartridges of the time. Compare it to the game screen of the arcade version below. It didn't matter to us. We were playing video games in the comfort of our own home (well grandma's) without having to plunk in quarters for every game.




That Christmas we also received other classics like:

COMBAT!



Combat which was a versus game for two players pitted against each other with tanks, bi-planes, and fighter jets. The graphics were terrible but the game was fun just the same with some serious competition and last minute upsets with my dad and brother. Grandma didn't like it that much. She had lived through WWII and Grandpa was in the European theater of the war. She didn't care much for tanks and things.



JOUST




Where you rode on a flying ostrich (or crane if you were 2 player). You flapped your way into the sky or ran across the bottom. You battled henchmen flying on buzzards and killed them and collected their eggs before they hatched and spawned new enemies. There was also a flying pterodactyl that I thought was a dragon that would attack if you took too long to clear the board. The floor gave way eventually and you could be pulled into the lava below by a giant hand if you were not careful. You could work together or against each other in what usually amounted to a vicious battle between players to kill each other immediately after spawning when you were most vulnerable. 




Fooled you, that was the arcade version above. We still had fun playing the Atari 2600 version. This game is credited with inventing static platforms with multiple regenerating enemies that get harder. So if you played Mario bros. you have this game to thank. It was another beat up on your buddy game that grandma looked down her nose at while not saying anything. We laughed uproariously as we attempted to out maneuver one another and only played as a team when it was required it to pass the level.




Galaxian



Galaxian another arcade classic was similar to Space Invaders or Galaga with alien insect looking ships dive bombing your spaceship.



Jungle Hunt



The arcade version was titled Jungle King and featured a Tarzan look alike in a leopard skin loincloth. The Burroughs estate sued and the name was quickly changed and the hero now an explorer was sporting a pith helmet instead of loin cloth. In the game you swung across vines. You dodged or stabbed crocodiles, tried to avoid running out of air, maneuvered around air bubbles that would drag you to the surface sometimes hitting crocs. Jumped over, dodged, or crouched under boulders of varying size. You hurdled cannibals with spears attempting to skewer you as you raced to save your girl from being lowered into the boiling cauldron and made into jungle stew.





MOON PATROL




Moon Patrol was a fun little game where you rolled across the lunar surface in your six wheeled space tank with vertical and horizontal laser cannons blasting away at alien ships, boulders, and anything else in your way as you jumped over craters and mines on your way to the next moon base.



E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial



Based on the hit movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial it was a terrible video game. You were E.T. and you had to run around collecting parts to make a phone to phone home and call the space ship to come pick you up. Government agents would take away the phone parts and scientists would capture E.T. to study him. Elliot would come give you a part once in awhile. The sucky part was that the boards were dominated by pits everywhere you went. If E.T. came even marginally close he would fall into the pit. You could raise your neck to levitate out but it cost energy. You could get energy back by eating Reese's Pieces. In the pit you found parts for the phone and a geranium that gave you an extra life. The problem was that you fell into the pits so often that you lost all of your energy quickly and became unable to escape the next one. It was nearly an impossible boring game. We ended up rarely playing it.



Ironically Pac-Man was the highest selling game for a home console that in turn directly contributed to the fall of arcades across the nation as gamers no longer had to leave the comforts of their homes with the success of home consoles. Pac-Man created then killed arcades. By 1982 Arcades were on the decline in favor of the rampant home gaming market. By the late 80s they had nearly disappeared. Even more ironically Pac-Man nearly killed Atari and home gaming systems in general along with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Because the games were of such poor quality versus their arcade counterpart for Pac-Man or poor concept and play-ability for E.T., Atari a giant and leader for home game consoles nearly went out of business. They overestimated the success of the games and produced thousands. Even more games produced than consoles to play them on. Gamers, dissatisfied, returned them to stores for refunds. Stores began buying less stock and trying to dump the stock they had. Thousands of unwanted games were buried in a landfill from Atari's distribution warehouse. Poor quality games were just one problem, the other was market over-saturation. Every different brand of system from Atari, Intellivision, or Coleco consoles to PCs like Commodore, Apple, etc.  had games that looked the same or ports of the same titles like Pac-Man. There was very little individuality, if you wanted to suffer through the home version of Pac-Man you could do it on a dozen different systems at home. By 1983 the video game market had crashed with stores limiting their shelf space for consoles and games, and many games going into discount bins or being thrown away. It wasn't until Nintendo came out later in 1985 and became extremely popular by 1987 that home video gaming made a comeback and soared to new heights. Pac-Man king and killer of Arcades, near killer of the home game systems did something else. It brought the price down low enough that my dad could afford one in 1984. My dad bought multiple game cartridges over the years from discount bins some as low as .50 cents down from their original $20 price tag. Such awesome classics from Pole Position II to Battlezone, Asteroids, Centipede, Missle Command, Breakout, and Haunted House. As a result by 1985 when people were discovering Nintendo we had about 50 Atari Games and eventually upgraded to a Atari 7800 that could still play the 2600 games but also had better graphics for new games in 1987. I wouldn't get a Nintendo until 1991 when I was in the 9th grade. But that is another story.

I will never forget that the genesis of my video gaming began at grandma's house. That year we each took turns playing, even dad and grandma had a go. Grandma didn't like the fighting games but thought Pac-Man was okay.



Here is a picture of grandma from another year, this time at my dad's house. I have many memories cemented into my psyche that happened with grandma or at grandma's house. Memories of summer, grocery stores, etc. It didn't matter the time of year, Grandma's lap was the best place to be if you had a skinned knee from falling down, for watching T.V., or just cuddling up while waiting for whatever was cooking in the oven. My grandma was taken from us when I was 11 years old. Now she can have her conversations with God in person. I will never forget feeling loved from the moment I came through her door until the end of the weekends and we were hugging goodbye. I cannot remember her ever being angry or cross. She was patience, understanding, and love. My memories of growing up and holidays at her house are precious to me.

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NLogan Posted on Dec 28, 2016 at 01:05 AM

Yeah that is a Monkian augmenting my brother's forces with his Cyclops. I had Lion-O assisting my side of the battle with a Minotaur.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Dec 24, 2016 at 09:16 PM

I want to hang out at Grandma's house! Secret cellars, chocolate milk, monster cookies and color wheel tree decorations? What fun times. Are those Thundercats figures next to you in the braided rug photo? Merry Christmas, buddy!

NLogan Posted on Dec 20, 2016 at 07:50 PM

@Vapor the aluminium was thin and flexible. I suppose it would be possible to cut oneself if you got the right angle but I don't remember it ever being a problem.

@Vkimo chocolate for the win!

@sock thanks! I didn't know they re-released it.

SockofFleagulls Posted on Dec 19, 2016 at 04:30 PM

Some great memories here. I too had the Hot Wheels Sto N Go playset and spent hours in my dirt driveway with it and my car collection. Was very glad Target brought an updated version back this year and HAD to buy one.

vkimo Posted on Dec 19, 2016 at 03:43 AM

I'm still reading this but I had to make a quick chime on the Neapolitan ice cream, that was a staple in our house, I personally never cared for it but would also scoop out the chocolate only side while my dad just plain devoured it

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 19, 2016 at 02:10 AM

How did people keep from cutting themselves on aluminum trees I wonder?

NLogan Posted on Dec 19, 2016 at 12:03 AM

@Mick Fried bologna is relatively rare around here (mountain west), at least my brother and I are the only ones I have ever met that ate them regularly. I was surprised when looking at specific Hot Wheels cars how many I recognized. We never believed at a young age that grandma could be making up the monsters. Because we knew she was just pulling the cookies straight out of the bag and not taking a bite of each one. It never occurred to us that they were manufactured that way. In our child's eye view it was ludicrous because no one would buy a partially eaten cookie. Plus on the package only one cookie was shown bitten. The pile of cookies was undamaged. We never read the text on the bag. We took the threat of bitten cookies seriously. I also prefer Franco-American because of grandma. It is incredible to me that some of my favorite things or little things I do around the house are rooted in the ways of grandma and my time spent there. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

@Vapor that is what is really about, isn't it. Making the best of the situation available. Those memories of the joyous holidays become more precious as time goes on and loved ones are no longer with us. I think the time at my grandma's is so ingrained because I only had slightly over a decade with her, but I remember so much. Foods she made me try and then I liked (we were picky). Picking food from her garden. Going to the store together, etc.

mickyarber Posted on Dec 18, 2016 at 04:56 PM

This is a really good nostalgia piece, and there was a lot to digest. Since there was a lot to digest, there is a lot to comment on, so bear with me while I hit some of the highlights:

- Hot Wheels always made great Christmas gifts, and you seemed to hit the jackpot with the specific ones you got! I had each and everyone of the cars featured in the 5 pack and 6 pack you show here, so I'm betting I got both of those packs at some point in life. I think I got more use out of the "Larry's Towing" white tow truck than any of the the other cars.

- My older brother was the one fortunate enough to have that sweet How Wheels Sto and Go Service Center play set. He was always a scrooge with it, and I never got to touch it really until he out grew toys and it sort of became a hand me down.

- All of your personal pictures in this article are great btw, but at the moment I was looking at the one of you setting up to play Catapults and Crossbows. It's cool you actually got to play the game. I had saved up allowance money at some point and bought it, but never once found anyone to play it with. I had to settle for setting it all up and playing the role of both players :(

- That picture of the fried bologna sandwich looks incredible. Growing up in the south I can tell you there is no more traditional lunch time food than a bologna sandwich. If it's fried, then it becomes a delicacy.

- I always preferred the Franco-American brand of canned pastas over Chef Boyardee. SpaghettiOs are the cadillac of canned pasta.

- I like the little tale of your Grandma saying that the monsters helped out around the place and a bite of cookie was a small price to pay for their help. My grandma would make up little tidbits like this all the time that would keep us grandkids discussing the possibility of it being real for days.

- The silver tree in that one picture is the spitting image of the one my grandmother used all the way up until she passed away in 2006! I love those old trees. To some, they may seem tacky, but to me and the memories I have of it at my grandmas tree, I say they are priceless.

- All my life, I can't recall a Christmas season when there wasn't a blue tin of those danish style butter cookies sitting on the counter. Even as I type this, there is a tin of them sitting on my own counter.

This was a really fun look back at some early 80's toys and such. Thanks a lot for bringing so much detail to it. I've really enjoyed it. It's been a great way to spend some time. Merry Christmas my friend.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 18, 2016 at 10:44 AM

Another epic NLogan Christmas article. This was a lot to digest but I managed to take it all in in one sitting.

I love the detail you go into here. I really get a bit of a sense of what your time at your Grandma's was really like during Christmas and beyond. Despite all the family separation, you seem to have made the best of it and overcame the rifts to have memorable and joyous holidays.

Thanks for sharing this with us my friend.

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