My mom worked on the assembly line at Mattel Toys when I was a kid. My aunt, Dora and my aunt Berta worked there also. This is back when Mattel toys were made in Hawthone, California, USA! I loved the stories my mother would tell about working at the famous toy company. My mom described the Hot Wheels department as rows of tiny cars with ladies on either side working the assembly line performing some function such as polishing the cars, plugging the spoiler in place, bagging the cars, heat sealing the car on the card, etc. I pictured Lucy and Ethel on the assembly line at the chocolate factory only with Hot Wheels cars!
Every Friday, my mom brought home some little gifts for me. Sometimes it would be a few Hot Wheels cars. She explained that Mattel had a company store on the premises and they sold these cars to employees for a quarter because the cars had little imperfections or were molded in the wrong color (for that model) or had missing labels, etc. I had a greatest collection of 1969 year cars in all kinds of funky colors like hot pink, turquoise and yellow gold. I had about a dozen Custom Volkswagen cars in every color of the rainbow! Hot Wheels cars had the most amazing "Specratraflame" colors and finishes. Real works of art!
On Sunday afternoon, my mom and I would go to my aunt and uncle’s house to visit and have dinner. I loved to go to my cousin Bruno’s house to play Hot Wheels. They had a big living room and we could spread out the Hot Wheels track set with the Power House, the corkscrew loops, the bank curves and watch the cars race. Bruno had some Hot Wheels cars that my mom had given him. We would lie on the floor watching the cars at eye level and play for hours! It was probably about 9:30 when my mom announced that it was time to go home. We begged for a just a few more minutes, my mom gave me the ‘look’ so finally I began to dismantle the track set and slowly put the pieces in the box. I started to collect up my cars and put them into the big Rally Wheel.
Well, Bruno started to pout and say he wanted to play more then he claimed that one of my cars was his. I said, “Bruno, I just brought that one over, my mom gave it to me a few days ago”. “No!” I tried to pry it out of his hands but he was squirming too much. We started to wrestle then Bruno’s dad shouted from the dining room to knock it off.
My mom heard the commotion and came over to reason with Bruno. “Brunito, we have to go home now, honey. Portate bien, and we’ll be back next week, okay?” He got up, started to stomp his feet and shake his little fists. Then, he kicked the Power House and knocked it over. Then he grabbed a couple of Hot Wheels cars, one in each hand. He started to cry and scream, “They're mine! They're mine!” All of the sudden, he threw the Hot Wheels and cars went flying. I don’t remember if any of the cars hit my mom but she was pissed off! She picked up an orange Hot Wheels track and swatted both of us across the butts. There’s nothing like the ‘whirring’ sound of a Hot Wheels track! Bruno screamed, jumped like a little squirrel and ran into the bedroom. Tearfully, I packed up the rest of the playset and my cars and my Power House. We said goodnight to my aunt, my uncle and my little cousin, Mimi and went home.
A few days later, my mom said she didn’t want any more fighting with Bruno about whose car was whose so she decided to paint my initials on the bottom of each of my cars. The only kind of paint she had was nail polish so to this day; I have Hot Wheels cars with the initials, OM, in iridescent pink polish.