I’m not a miss goody two shoes. Most of my life up until a couple of years ago has been spent pursuing the joys of the weed.
Both my parents smoked and in our household it was the norm for people to smoke in and around the house. My parents always insisted that they were now hooked and when they first started smoking they didn’t realise the detriment to their lives. Total rubbish, everyone knew smoking could cause lung cancer.
I clearly remember actively trying to get them to stop. Hiding their cigarettes from them was a popular method. This would only enrage them, they knew I had hidden them. A conclusion they reached having checked all the normal places they would put the packet.
Eventually I stopped trying to get them to stop. I clearly remember being dragged up on to the upper deck of the bus where smoking was permitted and having to sit in an atmosphere you could cut with a knife. Just so my parent could smoke. Strange, but in those days it wasn’t really frowned upon to drag your offspring upstairs to inhale your fumes.
All things conspired to me growing up to be a smoker myself. Only my parents didn’t realise just how young I was when I first started. I don’t clearly recall how old I was but can hazard a guess based on my friends and activities around that time. Probably about…eight years old. Young I know but I had friends who started to smoke at that age too.
I had a fortunate childhood. No poverty and lots of surrounding open countryside and fresh air around me. Don’t get me wrong we weren’t blessed with a fortune, just comfortably well off. Like most of the families in the area. A product of a working class family and grateful for having such a grounding in life. As a result I never take anything for granted.
As children we would meet up in the local countryside to enjoy the long days and play. I don’t recall who brought the first packet of fags but I do recall trying one and turning a funny shade of green as I proceeded to cough up a lung. On reflection, why did I persist? I could have just stopped there. I suppose I thought I looked grown up, mature just like every other deluded child who takes their first draw of the dreaded weed.
I coughed my way through the cigarette and from that moment on I was hooked. Not in the sense of addiction but the thrill of doing something adults do, something naughty. After that first go at it all six of us used to gather together our spending money to buy a pack of ten. Naively, we bought Consulate (one of the first menthol brands) believing that you could not detect them on your breath.
Shop keepers back then would serve children with cigarettes in the belief that they were being bought for the parents. It wasn’t unknown for a parent to ask a child to go to the shops to buy them a packet of cigarettes. So the shopkeepers never questioned who they were for. The fact that your parents smoked Players and you were in there buying Consulate, not in twenty’s but in ten’s never aroused suspicion. Lol. More like they turned a blind eye.
We would sometimes draw lots for who was going to the shops to buy the cigarettes. More often than not we would then decide that a particular member looked older than the rest of us that day and they should go. 😀 Hiding the packet for next time was always fun. This was a shared responsibility. Each of us taking turns. I always found somewhere outside to hide them, I just couldn’t run the risk of being caught. Under the bin outside was a favourite.
The ritual of congregating on the field and having a crafty cigarette went on for years and as I became bolder and older I would often pinch the odd cigarette from my parents. This went on in to my teens, when I became quite brazen and would pinch twenty sometimes as they bought by the 200’s. My best friend and I would smoke them outside in the garden when my parents weren’t around.
As I grew older I started to smoke in my room when my parents were out. The house always smelled of smoke anyway, so I figured that I would be able to get away with it. I even had an ashtray under my bed. 🙂 Can you believe I actually got away with this until I was seventeen, when I came clean and admitted that I smoked.
Well, what could my parents say? They both smoked. I recall my mum was none too happy but didn’t chastise me as I was now old enough to partake. But I never came clean about just how long I had been smoking not until years later. She never knew.