When I was very small, probably 2 or 3 years old, I went to the grocery store with my mom, and when we got near the front of the line, I saw a display of these long strips of plastic, with about a dozen different-colored flat lollipops sticking out. I don't think they sell these anymore (this *was* 30 years ago, after all), so I've drawn what I'm talking about. Yeah, now you can all laugh your butts off at my lousy computer drawing skills.
Anyway, I started begging my mom for the lollipops. I wanted them soooooooo bad. But my mom kept saying no. We didn't have money to blow on stuff like that. I hadn't yet learned to shut up about what I wanted, so I kept asking, and my mom was just telling me to be quiet.
And then this guy who was in line in front of us asked my mom if it was okay with her if he bought the lollipops for me, and she said yes. And so this complete stranger bought me this whole plastic strip full of lollipops! It was like heaven! I almost couldn't believe it. It was the best thing ever.
That's one of my first memories. I'm sure that guy never had any idea that that little girl would still remember that day, and his kindness out of nowhere, 30 years later.
About 5 years later, when I was about 7 years old, I went on a grocery trip with my grandma, who is a notorious miser. We had only recently run away from my mom's second husband, Ernie, and so we were staying with Mom's parents temporarily, until Mom could save up money to get an apartment.
Anyway, I went with my grandma to the store, and I was really bored, so I hung out where the books were (I often did this at the grocery store). I got really interested in this one book about a young girl during the American Revolution. Her house was taken over by British soldiers, if I remember correctly. I think it was called Rebecca's War, or something else like that.
So I'd gotten all absorbed in this book while my grandma was shopping, but then my grandma came to get me when she was done. I don't know what possessed me, but I actually *asked* her if I could have the book. And I don't know what possessed *her*, either, but she bought it for me!
I kept that book for about 25 years, and only recently decided to get rid of it, because I knew I wouldn't read it again. It wasn't an especially good book ... I'd only kept it all that time for the sentimental value. It was pretty rare in my childhood that someone got me something unexpectedly like that -- I usually only got neat stuff on Christmas and on my birthday -- so the lollipops and that book were really special events.