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Felix LeRoy Perry

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Member Since: Sep, 2004

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From Hoboken To Noboken

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I wrote this thinking back of how different things were when we were young, especially the stigmata over smoking, if an adult smoked back then it was almost accepted as drinking tea or coffee and for kids to follow suit when they became teens was also acceptable...

Three For A Dime


I find it’s sometimes hard to remember when smoking wasn’t the disgusting, hideous, social disease that it has become in today’s society. Looking back and brushing off some long forgotten nostalgia memories I believe I had my first experience with smoking when I was about eight or nine. It was down in the secret hideout (which was really only a small clearing with a few rocks to sit on) we neighborhood boys had in the woods behind our house. Someone had scavenged some loose tobacco from my Dad’s pipe tobacco pouch, someone else scrounged a few papers and between all of us we managed to roll a stogie of a cigarette that would have done a hobo proud. Unfortunately just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, through the cloud of foul smoke and the green faces of my friends and I coughing and hacking at the demon weed, I saw my older sister. Her evil grin let me know I was in deep ka ka, for of course she couldn’t wait to get home and squeal to our parents.

After a kick in the butt from my old man and a screaming bout from my Mom, not to mention the wooziness from the narcotic you would think that I would have learned my lesson but no…


The next day on our way to our hangout, I think it was John, my brother, who found gold or at least easy money to feed our new found hobby. As we walked he scooped up a discarded pop bottle along the path and the search was on for this new glass currency to feed the beast of our new addiction once someone had pointed out:

“You know that at the Yellow store you can buy tailor made cigs three for a dime?” someone mentioned and with that the hunt for more bottles was on again.


A small pop bottle would fetch a whopping 2 cents and a large bottle a nickel so it didn’t take us long to find enough empties to make our purchase of three cigs each which we were getting for our Dads of course if the owner asked. However back then if a three year old walked in and held up a dime and oohed or goo gooed the word smokes they would sell them to her.


Anyway now packing cigarettes and penny matches we were off to a new hiding spot and this time we would post a sentry. We all thought we were so “cool” at least in our own minds. It is true children tend to imitate the people they admire and back then everyone we admired…the soldiers who fought in WW III, the movie stars, the super heroes in the comic books, our teachers, priests even our own beloved parents, aunts and uncles smoked so was it any wonder we wanted to as well.


Well the years went by and I smoked more. By the time I reached Junior High school level, smoking, was the thing that almost half the students did and though we couldn’t smoke on the school ground a lamppost just outside the school driveway was the smoker’s corner. On a bright spring day I walked through the school doors smiling at the pure joy of being young, with cigarette between my lips and lighter posed to strike it as soon as I hit the lamp-post I felt only joy to be alive. My smile quickly faded though when there in front of parked in our old Ford Falcon was dear old Mom and Dad…I knew I was in trouble. The lecture was long and strong but my Dad was more pissed I think about being called into the see the principal about my fighting then he was over me smoking (but that’s another story). Anyway I endured in silence slouching down in the back seat as far as possible so my friends couldn’t see me in my humiliation.


I was grounded for a night but funny even to mothers back then smoking seemed an acceptable right of growing up for the next night as I was getting ready to go out she stopped me at the door and asked how much I smoked. When I told her maybe a pack a week, she shook her head and slipped me a buck (enough for a small pack back then). She smiled as she stood in the doorway and said I don’t like you smoking but if you are going to smoke I’d rather you didn’t lie about it and I don’t want you bumming. So began my legitimate life career of lung and heart criminal activity that I finally beat after almost thirty years I finally managed to quit the two pack a day habit in favor of wanting to live. Now I don’t preach but do encourage others to find a way to quit.


The End


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Reviewed by Sheila Roy 7/28/2009
This is great reading. You brought me back in time to your childhood. I started with 2 cigs a day when I was 17. I quit the day of my back surgery - exactly a year ago today - July 29, 2008. I had one that morn before going in and never picked up one again. I like being able to breathe first thing in the morning, without coughing! And I don't miss burning my arm or leg with a wayward ash. Saving money, too. I enjoyed this story. Strange that I should click on it today of all days. Hugs,
Reviewed by Sanja Dayslink 4/22/2008
This sure does bring back memories. I am still a smoker, but with that being said I am not a heavy smoker or smoke for the habit of it. I can truly say I smoke for the enjoyment. I smoke maybe 4 or 5 cigarettes a day - don't need one as soon as I get up - don't need one right after I eat, don't need one with liquor or after sex. I just sit back and relax at work or in the evening and have a puff or two. Thanks for the memory lane trip.

Much luv,
Sanja xox
Reviewed by * * 5/27/2007
Well, I was 17 when I tried my first and only cigarette, it was at our smoker's corner under a lamp post too!...My friend told me to inhale deep,so I did...thought I was going to die! It was a KOOL Menthol, nothing COOL about it, never ever had the urge to do it again! I'm the only non-smoker in my whole family...So awesome that you quit Fee, glad you'll be hanging around a little longer...and I mean that...:-)
Reviewed by LadyJtalks LadyJzTalkZone 5/23/2007
Way cool story. I've been smoke free over a month and a half now thanks to that new stuff chantix. it really has taken the urge out in a good way for me. When I started smoking you could buy none filters for I think 35 and the probably 45 or 50 for filters but I was lucky to be able to get them for free mostly. but that's another story..great news for you. It can't hurt us and it has to help. lady j
Reviewed by Karen Cino 5/23/2007
This brings back memories. When I first started smoking it cost me 50 cents for a pack of cigarettes. I was sneaky and got away without getting caught by my parents. However thirty years later, at over a pack a day, I finally quit. It has been almost 4 years and I can say I am smoke free. But yes, this brings back so many memories. And I agree with you. I don't preach to anyone either, but I also do encourage others to quit. If I could do it cold turkey then anyone can. Now if only losing weight was that easy.

Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 5/23/2007
Thank you for sharing....yip been there done just that.....but thank God I quit smoking almost 17 years ago!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Monette Bebow-Reinhard 5/23/2007
Oooh, this is the fun memoirs are made of. Keep writing!
Reviewed by Walt Hardester 5/23/2007

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