This is the World I Was Born In

On February 21st 1949 this is the ad that appeared on the back page of Life Magazine:

lucky strike ads

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 .

mom nan '67 mom broken hip

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 :-)) 

mom nan & me when I was two0001-1


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17 thoughts on “This is the World I Was Born In

  1. Happy birthday, Terry! Movin’ right along. At least we’re all goin’ at the same rate. I love that photo of Nan and you on Mom’s lap. You brought her such joy. Hap did a great thing, giving her you two.
    I found references to smokes in letters my mother wrote her twin brother when he was overseas in WW II. She asked if he needed a supply of “ciggies”, They were a generation that knew no better, or I should say were kept from knowing any better. Now it’s Exxon who knew about climate change all the way back to the 70s.
    I love you on your b-day!

    1. Ciggies that’s right! AND.. what a wise and trenchant reply Gwen ! Poor Hap our dad: he never got to know his two daughters but you are right. He left our mother with the one thing she always wanted: children. Love you and miss you!

    1. hey thanks! we didn’t do a thing – celebrating NECT weekend in a double billing with our little grand daughter but I had a lovely quiet time of talk and reflection with our son and our honorary son. David had to go out to a business dinner but he was back in time for Downton so that was good !

  2. My father said (about cigarettes): “They won’t do you any good.” I smoked Parliaments, thinking they were milder than others. I really didn’t like ciggies, but I smoked about l0 a week, trying to look cool (swell) at that time. Gave them up in l996, cold turkey, and never had another. But I miss them – only when Martinis are served.

    Have a happy birthday celebration next week!

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