On February 21st 1949 this is the ad that appeared on the back page of Life Magazine:
I was born that very day, Feb Twenty-One, Nineteen Forty Nine and I have to say: What a bill of goods the tobacco companies sold folks for all those years. And how my mother and aunt loved their ‘cigs’ and smoked them at the kitchen table morning and night, in closed cars on the way to our cousins’ houses, anywhere they could… Even when Mom broke her pelvis and was in the hospital, family members came and mocked the sign that said “No Smoking” and lit up anyway. I distinctly remember my cousin Billy, then in his mid 2os, fake-reading that sign. “Nosmo… Nosmo King,” he said, pretending to sound it out. “Must be a previous patient.”
We brought her home a week later and Aunt Grace put her in her own room, because it was six steps closer to the bathroom. (They were a pair those two sisters, together through thick and thin.) As soon as she was installed, the whole family showed up again, smoked them some more smokes and drank them some fiiine whisky, right in her room. Here she is now on that long ago night with my great ‘big sister’ Nan perched beside her on the bed .
Ah they were good times, tobacco-laden as they were. Miss you so much Mom on this my 67th birthday! And thanks, wherever you are, for giving me life (if not a lot of hair :-))