Romancing a Cigarette, Part 1

Born in 1955, things were different then. However, I’ll have to jump ahead a few years to when I was more aware of what was going on.

Cigarette smoke was all around

It seemed everyone smoked! My parents smoked, grandparents smoked, my parents' friends smoked, teachers smoked, our doctors smoked, and lawyers smoked. People smoked in vehicles, in homes, restaurants, movie theaters, in hospitals, in offices, in school lounges, airplanes and in waiting rooms.

Candy cigarettes

I liked the candy ones and my grandpa liked the real ones. I remember when my parents had company. After they left, there would be cigarette butts left in the ashtrays. My brother and I would sneak one or two. We would take a match and go outside to smoke it. Once we figured out how to light the cigarette we would choke and cough. I remember my throat felt like somebody peeled it open. I didn’t like that. My brother hated it. No more. We still liked our candy cigarettes though. My favorites were L&M I liked the candy ones and my grandpa liked the real ones.

We didn't like the smell

My brother and I didn’t like the smell of cigarettes or cigar smoke. Pipe smoke smelled good though. My mom would tell me years later that we would beg her to stop smoking cigarettes because they stank. She said that not only did she burn the dresser tops when she laid the cigarettes down, but that we had bumped her cigarettes and got burned too.

Prayer and quitting smoking

In 1973 my oldest daughter was born. She wasn’t able to hold anything down. She was born with thrush. I believe I was in the hospital for 4 or 5 days. When I left, I couldn’t take my baby home with me, she was so sick. I got a call from the hospital, they asked if I wanted the last rites performed on my daughter, they didn’t think she would survive. I was hysterical. My mom took us to the hospital. She that if her granddaughter would be healed, she would quit smoking.

My mom and my daughter’s dad both smoked. My mom prayed that if her granddaughter would be healed, she would quit smoking. Needless to say, my daughter was able to drink out of a bottle and her thrush healed. Mom quit smoking, cold turkey. Sadly, it was another baby who got the last rights. Yet, years later I saw the baby’s mom and her baby girl was growing up and happy. My dad continued to smoke, as did my baby’s dad.

Here I was, 19 with two kids

Ten months later my son was born. My new baby boy had jaundice when he was born, thankfully he was healthy enough to go home with me. Here I was, 19 with two kids. I was in an abusive relationship and alcohol was a problem. He wasn’t supposed to drink. I even drank a couple of times too much. The house reeked of cigarette smoke. Then things changed. My husband wanted me to put the cigarette in my mouth, to light his cigarette. That made me so sick. He made me do this periodically.

I had gained weight with two babies. The doctor put me on a diet where I would cut back 250 calories for every 5 pounds I lost. I had to go off of it when I was at 500 calories a day. I went from 176 to 106 pounds. The cigarettes kept me dizzy and so nauseous that losing weight was easy. In 1975 we got a divorce.

Romancing a cigarette is a fitting statement and title

Cigarettes soothed me, helped me relax. It helped my weight stay down, even though I had gained some back. I could smoke everywhere, and it helped reduce the stress in my life. When people had a baby, I would get a cigar instead of bubble gum, because I would smoke them. I smoked a pipe at times too and liked the cherry tobacco. Some years later I tried marijuana. I passed out. A friend had me try it again, it never did anything for me. I was done.

I stuck to my cigarettes, even though they are liars!

Watch for Romancing a Cigarette, Part 2

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