Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Grandmother, memories, Transformers & more

For those who don't know me (or aren't my Facebook friend), I lost my grandmother last week. 97 years old! I'm very grateful she had come to terms with her health and what lied ahead for her, and that I know she isn't suffering. She's finally been reunited with her son, my dad, who we lost to cancer in 1997.

Memories of my grandmother have kept a smile on my face over these last few days since she passed. My grandparents lived on the lake in Lake Wylie, SC. For many many years I had my birthday party at her house. Sitting on the picnic table on their side deck, my friends and I would eat hamburgers and hot dogs that my dad or grandfather would cool on the grill. We'd dig into birthday cake and then open presents. Apparently I had a very southern accent as a child. It was captured on video one birthday as I was really excited about my Dukes of Hazard themed birthday cake. To this day my wife still likes to imitate my accent.

I can still remember many of the birthday gifts I received from my friends. One of the earlier gifts I remember getting was the old styrofoam GI Joe Falcon glider. Because it had to be assembled, I didn't play with it at my grandmother's house. However once home and put together it didn't take long for it to become stuck on the roof of our home.

Another birthday gift that ended up on the room was a Nerf Boomerang. This was the exact same model and color I had too. I pretty sure that aforementioned home video again captured my southern drawl as I excitedly told my mom and dad what was inside the wrapping paper.

It seems back then that a lot of parents had the same idea of attaching an unwrapped Hot Wheels car or even a new GI Joe figure to the wrapped present, I remember getting many new toys such as these, but nothing specific. May have been one of those Burning' Key Cars too.

My grandmother never wanted to buy me something for my birthday, instead she would take me out for lunch and we'd go to the store so I could pick out my own gift. Being in Lake Wylie, we could be in Belmont, NC or Gastonia, NC with little ease. That's where she went to shop and what not back then anyways. I remember many lunches at the nearby Pizza Hut or at the Wendy's. Many of my gifts I chose came from a store called Rose's. Long before we had Target or even Walmart, there was Rose's. I would always make a bee line to the back of the store where the toy department was.

Trying to remember years can be tough, but I can remember specifically buying certain G1 Transformers so I'd place this particular time period around the mid 80's. I didn't have a camera, but I can still picture those toy aisles full of times in my mind as if it were yesterday.

Some of the Transformers I got to pick out included many of the Constructicons. She may have let me pick out the 5 that I didn't have as I had previously bought Bonecrusher at Universal Studios Hollywood of all places on a family vacation.


Now whether I got the die-cast or plastic version of the G1 Predacon, Razorclaw, I have no idea, but he was one of the few Predacons I had as a kid...all thanks to my grandmother. It seem to recall also looking at the Terrorcons, trying to make up my mind what to buy. I remember thinking that Razorclaw was much bigger than two Terrorcons my grandmother offered.


One of the last Transformers I remember picking out for my birthday before I kind of lost interest all together was the Throttlebot, Wideload. I remember the little rubber decoy toys being packaged with the Throttlebots and I remember losing a few of these said decoys in the lake!

Of course I have many more memories of my grandmother that aren't centered around toys, however Transformers just seem to be in a lot of my early memories! Once I was finally "done" with Transformer toys, the ones that escaped being sold at a yard sale ended up in a big box underneath my grandmother' bed. I remember having the big drawn out battles between the Constructicons and Grimlock and Swoop (never had the other Dinobots) on the floor of her living room. My grandfather had a few grandsons of his own that were about my age too. Turns out when they would come for a visit they would play with my Transformers. Imagine my distraught when I went back to get my old childhood toys from my grandmother's house, only to realize many of them were missing! I never found out what happened to them, but my money is on my grandfather's grandsons taking them.

Like a lot of us kids that grew up in the 80's, eventually my interest in action figures and transforming robots was taken over by the mighty Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). After doing a lot of convincing to my dad, I was able to take my NES with me to my grandmothers while my parents went on a kid free weekend away. It was during one of these weekends that I discovered the trick in the game Blaster Master, using the NES Adventage joytick's turbo allowing you to easily dispatch the bosses using your grenades.

I know some of these memories may seem a little superficial in the grand scheme of things, but these are just some of my memories that kept popping into my head over the last week. I'm going to miss her of course, but it's memories like this that keeps her "alive".


  1. Great post. Sorry for your loss.

  2. I think a lot of us toy obsessed adults can trace our addiction back to fond memories of loved ones and the toy memories associated with them from our youths. Sorry for your loss. Those memories are invaluable - cherish them!

  3. Sorry for your loss. One of my favorite things about reading people's blogs and writing my own is reading and reminiscing about the 70's, 80's, and my childhood. Transformers, GI Joe, and NES were all huge parts of my youth.

  4. Sorry to hear about your grandmother.

    Sometimes, it's easier to keep hold of these memories when you have an "anchor", in your case, the gifts your grandmother gave you and the lunches you had together.

  5. Hi, Colbey.

    I've read and reread your post and, of course, like the others, I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I lost my grandfather who was like a father to me this past year (along with a few other relatives) and it's so hard and makes for a long, agonizing transitional period.

    I would like to let you know, as well as your grandmother, that you, and SHE, inspire me and have given me something to smile about regarding the Constructicons, the NES, and you writing in such a way you've allowed me to recall and touch in on my childhood, which was also intimately tied to my grandparents.

    Great post, my friend.