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Woman Lays Down a 30-Year Grudge

From 1974-1981 the actress Alison Arngrim played Nellie Oleson on the wildly popular show, Little House on the Prairie. Nellie, as everyone of a certain age will remember, was a horrible child who tortured the sweet Laura Ingalls in every episode. Alison is still acting, but Nellie Oleson is never too far in the background.

Alison was at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds a few years ago, signing autographs inside a tent with other former child stars. In the midst of a long day of meeting and greeting, a woman in her forties made it to the front of Alison's line. Alison looked up, smiled, and reached for something to sign. The woman had nothing to sign. She merely stood in front of the table and turned different shades of red and purple. She was shaking, closing her eyes, and swallowing as she tried to compose herself.

Allison and her husband grew increasingly uncomfortable, and were close to calling for security, when the angry woman broke the silence with three labored words: "I … forgive … you." And, just like that, she exhaled, turned, and exited the tent.

Alison says that this kind of thing happens fairly often. She had never met this woman. They had never exchanged a single word before meeting at the fair that day. But this angry stranger at the LA County Fair had carried a seething, consuming grudge against a character on a TV show that had not aired in 30 years. Nellie had never bullied her and never lived in her neighborhood. Nellie never even existed. But after 30 long years of carrying the burden of this hatred, she needed to lay it down and walk away.

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