Monday, August 2, 2010

A Memory for Monday (with Cigarettes)

Growing up on Carlton Crescent the local shops were just a short, less-than-five minute walk away.  It seemed that almost daily, my best friend Karen, and I would go buy our daily sweets or crisps fix. I don't think it was because we always needed or wanted candy, but because it was very frequent that we would be called upon to do an errand for our parents.  Errands such as:

A visit to the post office to post a letter to grandparents in America.
A visit to the food shop for a can of dog food.
A stop at the bakery for a loaf of french bread to go with dinner.
A visit to 'the old lady's shop' for some elastic and thread.
A stop at the florist for a bouquet of Freesias to adorn the coffee table.
A visit to the chemist to buy some medicine.

And, it was in the sweet shop purchasing our sweets and crisps that we'd ask for '20 Silk Cut, please.'  And the friendly, Pakistani shopkeeper would hand us the small white and purple box with cigarettes inside for Karen's mum.
Me blowing out the candles after my baptism on my 8th birthday with Karen next to me
(And note to Sarah and Susie- do you see yourselves off to the side?)

It was very normal to us.  And very normal to the shopkeeper.

It doesn't seem so normal to my children, who just can't quite grasp the concept that their mother, as a child, used to buy cigarettes a couple of times a month.

Times have certainly changed for me.
A one stop trip to Walmart can almost always do the job.
And I haven't bought a pack of cigarettes in years and years...

Times have certainly changed.


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