Whenever Nagymama walked to the corner store to buy milk and eggs, she would always stop by the liquor store to buy a lotto ticket. Since my grandmother has always been a little bit of a handful, my mother always welcomed Nagymama’s trips to the corner because it gave her “a moment’s rest”.
Well, one day, that “moment” turned into over an hour. We started to get really worried; the store was no more than half a mile up the road, so Nagymama was usually there and back in about 30 minutes. My mom ran to scour the neighborhood.
Nagymama wasn’t at the corner store. She wasn’t at the liquor store. She wasn’t even at her usual spot at the local McDonald’s, eating hamburgers and petting little kids on the head with greasy fingers while their parents smiled uncomfortably. Nagymama was missing.
Little did we know that Grandma had gotten her lotto ticket as usual, but on her way back home, she started “shopping” for houses. For as long as I have been alive, Nagymama has wanted a “bi-level house”. She would even “case” the neighborhood to see if any bi-level houses were for sale, so “I vill know vhich house to buy vhen ve hit dah lotto.” If she had saved all the money that she spent over the years on lotto tickets, she could have probably bought six bi-levels!
So, on this particular day, she must have gone up to one of the neighbor’s houses and they called the cops. God, I could, just HEAR the phone conversation:
“Uh, hello, 911? There’s a crazy old lady wearing house slippers on my front lawn, peeking though my windows and writing something on a napkin. She probably belongs to someone. No, I checked, she’s not wearing a collar…”
The cops immediately answered the call and drove up to Nagymama, asking her is she was lost. Although she speaks Hungarian, Romanian, German, and Dutch, her hearing is really bad and her English is only “so-so.” She lied, “No, no, I am Mizz Mary Smith from New Brunswick!” They assumed she was disoriented and couldn’t remember where she lived, so they planned to put her in the car and drive her around the neighborhood until she recognized something.
Both cops got out of the car and tried to get her in the back. She clawed and kicked and scratched and screamed bloody murder. She screamed so loud that my mother was able to hear her from around the block. My mom sprinted towards the noise, screaming, “Anyu! Anyu!”
Of course at this point, there was such a commotion that all of the neighbors were outside to see the spectacle. This is yet another reason I didn’t have many friends in the neighborhood.
The cops finally saw my mom and backed off of grandma. “Officers, officers, dis is a mistake, dis is my modder!” While Nagymama then proceeded to take her papucs
off and smack my mom in the side of the arm.
“You’re trying to send me to the nuthouse!” she screamed, “You called them to take me away!”
If that was true, I might have had that phone number on speed dial.