No Family Smoking




Smoking Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0

Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0


My parents sent me away to school for my last two high school  years since we’d moved so often.

Smoking was forbidden. Smoking was cool. Shy and awkward as I was, smoking gave me confidence as we rode to Boston on the train for Saturday leaves.

When I went home to Maine, I’d disappear into the woods behind our house, sit on a bed of pine needles under a tree, open a book, and light a cigarette. I never smoked in front of my parents. They must have smelled it, but they never said anything.

In college, I lived in the smelly downstairs smoker as I spent the evening plowing  through my homework with the other addicts.

Smoking was handy for blind dates that didn’t work. Near curfew, I’d light up a coffin nail as my date was deciding whether to lunge. After I stopped, I never figured out why any guy who didn’t smoke would date a girl who did. Still, a nonsmoker married me.

I didn’t give it up until I was 30, coughing and running a low-grade fever much of the time . “Chronic bronchitis,” my doctor said, “Every time you get this it will damage your lungs a little more and you will get it more easily the next time.”

I had four little children. Smoking would kill me. Addicted, I still sneaked into the bathroom with my pack of cigarettes.

But then I’d open the door to see my children seated in a semicircle before me.

“Mommy, you’re going to die,” they’d say.

That did it.

I’m so grateful to them.


4 responses

  1. I hid my smoking and my mother once told me that my coat smelled which I of course denied. Just imagine your small children telling you that. So good you stopped. I found it hard to stop, but succeeded as 23 year old in 1974

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