The Easy-Bake Oven and the 100-Watt Light Bulb that Never Got a Chance to Burn My House Down

Tiffany Greysen, contributor


It’s that time of year again when it’s really cold outside, and because family is coming, you are forced to buy items from even the cold aisles of the grocery store. Strangers will let you hold doors for them and they won’t say thank you and you say, ”You’re welcome” in a way that lets them know they are not welcome.


You’ll be walking down the toy aisle and you’ll see it: the Easy-Bake Oven that takes you back to your worst Christmas ever.


(Dream sequence wavy lines)


For me, I was in the third grade and we were living in Truckee, CA. This was the year that my mom and stepdad would go Christmas shopping and hide the Christmas gifts in the back of my mom’s yellow VW Rabbit while she drove around and hotboxed thousands of cigarettes in the few short weeks prior to Christmas, leaving my new shirts, boy Levi’s, underwear, and socks to reek of cigarette smoke. When Christmas morning would come, my mom and stepdad would use the lit end of their cigarettes to remove the my clothing tags from my brand new stinky clothes.


It was about this time that I was becoming aware that my parents were just kind of trash-garbage. This was the second year in a row that I had asked for an Easy-Bake oven; this was the year that I decided to take things into my own hands and go to where the money was. I would ask the person in charge of my dad: my stepmom.


You might be surprised to learn that I did get that Easy-Bake Oven from my dad (stepmom), but that Christmas-morning-dream-come-true came to an abrupt halt when that Easy-Bake Oven was promptly swept out of my hands and, with tears in my eyes, was taken to the highest shelf in the garage because “it will burn the house down.”


I saw that Easy-Bake Oven box daily for the next three years. The reason I would see it almost every day was because one of my chores was to build a fire in a wood burning stove BEFORE my parents got home from work. Like with matches and paper and with real wood. My mom and my stepdad, who would leave burning cigarettes around the house, and who also left a 9-year old in charge of getting the household fire started, were worried that a 100-Watt light bulb would burn their house down.


This is why I don’t bake.

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