During the 70's, I was living in Ohio and my family would travel out to Santa Barbara on a fairly regular basis to visit both sets of grandparents; we usually stayed with my mother's parents, Grandma and Grandpa. Although my brother and I loved our Grammie and Grandaddy, we especially enjoyed going to Grandma and Grandpa's, because they strongly embraced and encouraged the weirdness that makes a kid a kid.
For the entire cigarette smoke-filled six hour flight from Cleveland to Santa Barbara--plus layover--I anticipated the strong floral smell that assaulted my senses from the moment the plane door opened and I saw my grandparents waiting at the gate for us. We would all pack into the Chevy Nova, also cigarette smoke-filled, and began the long drive into town. The moment we arrived, my brother and I would pour out of the car and run immediately to the Buggly Tree.
|The Buggly Tree looked something like this.|
Grandpa called anything and everything that was a horrific looking rubber toy monster a buggly, and the actual Buggly Tree was a dead tree stump that was located on the back patio, and it was covered in bugglies. Rubber snakes, gorillas, devils, semi-melted Batmans, spaceage dinosaurs and about a dozen floppy bats were strewn about the dark gnarled branches, and to top off the whole bizarre display was a rather large Troll doll with the hair that stood straight up sitting at the top like a twisted Christmas tree star. The thing about the this particular Troll doll was that it was fairly large, completely sun scorched, and did not have the trademark happy smile, but an angry tooth-filled grin that made it horrific. I was honestly scared of the Troll and refused to look at if for very long, but I still loved the idea of the horrible monster guarding the bounty of creatures dwelling amongst the branches. My brother also refused to touch the evil Troll doll.
Every morning consisted of the routine of cartoons (Scooby Doo, Gumby) and roller derby, if it was Saturday, followed by breakfast and then out to the Buggly Tree to get a new monster to play with. Each year that we came out to visit, new critters awaited us, but the Troll remained the same until my Grandmother had decided that the Buggly Tree needed to go and one year it was gone. We still had bugglies stashed away in a container, just no beatup and dead tree to drape them from and definitely no angry Trolls to guard them. I really miss that tree.
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