Why I Decided Not to Smoke.
Non-smoking Family; As Far As I Know:
Years ago, when I was thirteen, I spent one of many weekends at my maternal grandmother's apartment in Brooklyn, NY. It was a sunny weekend day in 1975. I do not know the season, I cannot tell you which day it was, or what I had on, but I know it was the day I decided not to smoke cigarettes.
A few years before, my younger brother and I -- fueled by the no smoking campaign in our school -- in Queens, NY -- decided we would save our mother from dying from cancer by throwing out her cigarettes. We would have did the same thing to my father's tobacco to his pipe, but he never smoked his pipe. The pipe was a part of his dresser's decor. Actually, it looked nice.
One day my mother's older first cousin -- maternal and paternal. Two brothers married two sisters. -- came for a visit. She saw my brother and me take my mother's cigarettes -- when my mother was not looking -- and throw them down our building's incinerator shaft. Our cousin approached us -- as we completed our mission -- and told us we were wrong, and disrespectful. We informed her that we did not want our mother to die of cancer. She was stunned, a little more understanding, but still believed we crossed the line.
Once my brother and I returned to our apartment my cousin informed my mother of what we did, and why. We were scared. Cigarettes were cheaper in the '70s, but it still costed money, and my mother did not believe in wasting money. I thought to myself, We in trouble . Then my mother said,
"Y'all, should have told me this first. I don't really smoke anyway. I'll stop smoking. It's a waste of money." I do not remember my brother's reaction to this news -- and reprieve -- but I remember being so relieved. The thought of my mother possibly dying from cancer was not a good thought for me at all.
So, years later, on a sunny weekend day, while away from home I totally forgot I did not want my mother to smoke, because smoking was bad her health. I forgot that one -- myself -- might get cancer, and soon die. No, when I was approached to try to smoke by one of my maternal aunts -- yes I said aunt. Yes, she was horrible. -- and two of her friends. I said,
"okay", because I was thinking about the circle I could blow out.
You know, the circle most well practiced smokers make with each smoke blown out. To me the only cool part about smoking was when I watched people blow out the smoke and it would form circles. It was like watching a clown pull something from his mouth. Without getting cancer of course. Still, very entertaining -- well, to me.
To myself, I thought, if I cannot blow a circle I will not be a smoker . Always nice to stand for something or you fall for anything. Right?
One of the three delinquents passed me a lit cigarette, and I studied it briefly, and thought about how I would get that circle out and then look cool. I took a puff, I blew out, I coughed, then choked, there was no circle, I did not look cool, so I passed it along, and started to walk away. My aunt wanted me to stay and said,
"Girl, try again. It's okay. Everybody chokes at first."
"Na, that's okay. I did not blow a circle that's why I choked."
She and her friends started laughing so hard, and I began walking away again. When she -- my aunt -- called out again, she said,
"Girl, you crazy, that takes time."
I turned around, did not walk back towards them, but I called back and said,
"That's okay, I don't want to smoke."
I heard them still laughing, but they did not respond as I continued to walk away, hoping to find someone to hang out with who may be a smoker, but would not try to make me smoke as my own -- five years my senior -- aunt had tried.
See, I had no fear that my aunt would ever try to force me do anything against my will. She may suggest, but she would never force it on me. Though most people in my aunt's neighborhood was afraid of her, she was afraid of my mother, her oldest sibling. So, I was not afraid of her ....
So, I do not smoke today, because I could not blow out a circle with my smoke. Well, it may not be the best story to stop teens from smoking, but none of my younger siblings are smokers, and none of their children smoke. Especially the teenagers.
Please scroll down and leave a comment.
Non-smoking Products on Sale:
Comments 87 comments
- FOR THE LOVE OF HER ... CHILD
The morning air on February 12, 2007, Approximately 8:00 AM, was cool, and the ground around Sherry Blackwell's apartment building was pretty icy. Which meant she had to walk very gingerly towards her waiting...
N. E. Wright's Other Hubs:
- THE CHANGE
I remember my Mother. I remember our love. I remember her braiding my hair, and laying my clothes out nightly for the next school day. I remember my Mother singing, and dancing to love songs playing...
- MY LETTER TO CNN ON LOU DOBBS.
Sometime ago, I had received a notice in my inbox to sign a petition to CNN, and I decided to write a message in the optional message box to Jon Klein, the President of CNN. I will say this, I have no problem...
- LAST DAY IN FLORIDA 2010
It is Friday, 6:50 AM, and the children next to me -- my son, and nephew -- are still asleep. Can you feel my smile. Most children are preparing for school here in Florida, and in New York where we are...
- NOW, I LOVE FLY-SWATTERS
There was a question about getting rid of flies, and I thought, Hey , I know how to do that . Fly swatter . So, I thought I would tell this story. Years ago,...
- THE TRUE FOE IS ...
A SHORT STORY: It was a February morning when Barbara Walker surveyed the five lower vacant floors of "The Walker Family Inn". She, her husband John and their three children moved onto the penthouse...
- RACISM, CIVIL SERVANTS, AND MICHAEL JACKSON
Years ago -- the late '90s -- in Queens, three civil servants -- one police officer and two firefighters -- rode a parade float in black face. Michael Jackson walks around in white face -- surgically evolving...
- OUR FIRST TIME AT DISNEY WAS 2009!
Last year, August 2009, my sister and I started our first annual family trip together to Disney. She and her twenty children and grandchildren. Actually it was five children and three grandchildren it just...
- MY MUSE.
The reason why I love telling stories is because of my mother. I grew up in the '60s and the '70s. My mother helped my siblings and me through a lot of life troubles while growing up in Queens, NY. My mother...
- THE RIB BAR AND GRILL
I feel remiss in not giving my younger brother a shout out on the day of the Grand Opening of his Rib Bar and Grill sooner. I wanted to interview him for this article, but he been too busy booking parties, and...
More by this Author
Civil Servants riding on a parade float in New York City throwing fried chicken, and watermelon, at a cheering crowd who watched as a black rag-doll was being dragged behind the float. What could be wrong with that? ...
This short story has a bi-racial mother -- who defines herself as Black -- in conflict with her tween -- eldest -- daughter who wants to be seen as white.
My health problems have me listed as home bound. Sure I walk, but mostly always with pain. Access-A-Ride Para-transit Transportation helps me get to my appointments when I am feeling well.