Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Teenage Memories

The above image brought back so many memories of the beginning of my lifelong addiction to cigarettes.

I think I was 12 or 13 and had an older girlfriend who smoked and introduced me. The first time I tried it on my own was when I was babysitting for a neighbour. Don't think I finished it before I had to upchuck in their bathroom. Yet and stupidly, I was stubborn and continued to persevere until I mastered the art and it no longer made me sick. Back then, everyone smoked including my father.

He had a cigarette holder, smoked a non-filter cigarette and down so far it would burn his fingers before he would put it out. Yet, I managed to find his butts and with the help of the cigarette holder, smoke what was left by inserting the 1/3 of an inch leftover. As my mother cleaned the ashtrays and didn't smoke, she obviously didn't question why there were no butts left. Thank God.

One night I was sitting in my bedroom window on the second floor having a smoke around midnight when I flicked the butt out the window attempting to get it beyond the slanted roof below that covered the porch. Sadly the trajectory was too powerful so instead of falling on the lawn, it landed on the hood of the brand new 1957 white Chevrolet. I knew I couldn't let it stay there so rushed downstairs, past my Dad sitting at the kitchen table and outside. I managed to get there in time before it left a burn or mark. My Dad with a surprised look on his face, asked me what I was doing when I returned. I lied and told him that I had forgotten to put my bike in the shed. It was brand new and a gift from my beloved grandfather in Denmark. He accepted that lie.

I didn't have the money to buy smokes so I would save up my milk money for school, 35 cents in those days and enough to buy a package. Of course I couldn't bring them home for fear of discovery so I found a flagpole in a garden of a vacant home that had a little hollow at the bottom and that is where I hid them. It worked just fine unless it rained for a day or three and then when I went to retrieve them, they were brown and near disintegration. I recovered what I could and smoked it with my Dad's cigarette holder.

The picture reminds me of a Saturday when the family had been invited to visit some friends in Montreal for dinner and I pretended to me sick so I didn't have to go. The reason was that I wanted to join with my first boyfriend down by the lakeshore so we could sit and smoke. We did. Oh what joy on many levels.

I was eventually discovered when my Dad found a cigarette butt in the toilet that hadn't flushed properly. At that time I was 15 and working. He asked me directly if I smoked and I said yes. His response was, "You are working and earning your own money, so I will allow you to smoke." That was not what I had expected but profoundly relieved that I didn't have to sneak around or lie anymore. I had to in other areas but that was one less.

~ Tutte ~