On Van Nuys Blvd. between Vanowen and Kittridge there used to be a dime store called "Grants". The full name was W. T. Grants but no one ever used that. One of my favorite memories of Grant's is at Christmas when they filled the the basement level with toys. I can still remember walking down the wide staircase waiting to get my first glimpse of whatever new toy it was I was keen (How 50's of me) on.
The Wham-O Air Blaster my dad Al Wilson is holding and the tank in this picture were probably bought in that Grant's basement. I don't recall where my parents bought the aluminum Christmas tree but I can still remember lying in bed watching the color wheel lights on the hall ceiling as I went to sleep. We bought the aluminum tree when we moved to Van Nuys. My Parents loved Los Angeles and embraced all the good and questionable items of taste. I wish I still had the tree, the tank and the Air blaster.
Years later I worked at Butler Bros. at the corner of Van Nuys Blvd. and Kittridge, a few doors down from Grant's. By that time Grant's and other dime stores were beginning to fade to make way for the K-Marts of the world. Grant's had a lunch counter we would visit about once a week. Here I tasted my first tuna melt. To this day I remember it as the best one I have ever had. Like many things it is probably a function of memory. And it could be the basement full of toys was not as large as I remember. Thats fine, I was a kid and small eyes lead to big memories.