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A window to the past

I’m reading a True Story magazine that Sam brought home, from Aug. 1954. It is truly an information capsule from a kinder and more innocent time; a little trip back home, you might say. I found a recipe in the magazine for bread pudding which I intend to try. If it turns out good I will pass it on. I love reading the advertisements of things long forgotten, and also some things which are still on the market and to be found in our homes today. “Time will tell” is an adage usually (but not always) true. Some things don’t make the cut even if they are really good. For instance I would like to find “Chore Girl” brand pot scrubbers again. Also, a hard rubber tray to go under the dish drainer. Then, there was my all-time favorite hairspray that I used for years. The can was brown and cream and the name, I think, was Sudden Beauty. Like the dinosaurs, one day it just disappeared and I’m still trying to find a spray that I really like. Ah well, time marches on, doesn’t it? I found one ad that certainly drew a lot of people down the path to destruction and I believe time will tell that majority of those drawn came from my particular generation. I am talking about cigarette smoking. The ad was for Camel cigarettes from good old R.J. Reynolds.

Taking the whole back cover of True Story is a beautiful color portrait of Mrs. Charles Brooks Armour “of the eminent Chicago family.” Mrs. Armour-Star is wearing a pale blue chiffon ball gown with matching slippers and is posed with a cigarette in her bejeweled hand. At the time of the picture Mrs. Armour’s teeth and skin look real good. No doubt she is still free of lung disease and other cigarette-related illnesses and symptoms, for she is smiling broadly. I hope her health has held intact for the rest of her life. But we know now that her story probably did not turn out to be a happy one, if she continued smoking (not just my opinion, but proven by statistics). This is wording from the ad:

“Look to the lovely leaders of society for the cigarette that is most acceptable in the most homes. Year after year, Camels lead all other brands for mildness, for flavor, for pure pleasure… Try Camels yourself. Blah, blah, blah, and so forth.”

Is it any wonder that kids of my day could hardly wait for the opportunity to partake of this pleasure? I was one of them and I must say that was the only pleasure I ever had, that I had to suffer so much to enjoy doing it. Actually the pleasure came from finally getting my lungs so numb and desensitized that I could inhale without coughing, tearing and occasionally throwing up. Was that fun? No, not exactly, but I looked and felt just so cool. Then, one notable day I realized my hard-won pleasure had turned to be my enemy and that looking cool was way down on the list of what all came along with a smoking habit. It took me years to break free of that particular trap, and I was as bound by my own denial, as prisoners are by handcuffs and leg irons. If you’re still in bondage to tobacco, today would be the best day you’ll ever have to jump off the train. No matter where you’re at, it’s going to be better for you than where the tobacco train is going to take you.

Here’s hoping you’ll embrace the advice of a survivor from the tobacco battle, much sooner than I did. Time is not on your side, nor mine.

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