Sunday, 7 April 2013

There was a little girl...

Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good
She was very good indeed
And when she was bad


Interesting information of the day: That was written by Longfellow. I never knew. But I do now.

Anyway, I WAS that little girl. I was reminded of it this morning while listening to classic comedy on Radio 4Extra 'The Men From The Ministry' broadcast 1962-1977 - so a feature of my childhood. In this particular episode, mention was made of cigarette coupons, and it took me right back...

Urrrrgh - even the sight of this knots my stomach.

My mum and dad smoked. A LOT. Loads of people did those days and that despite the fact that my dad was a doctor and my mum was a nurse.

I HATED it. It wasn't that I was concerned about their health, or mine through passive smoking - that didn't seem to figure in people's minds much in those days. I just hated the smell, the choking smoke, the fact that our white-painted walls had turned yellow - EVERYTHING.

My mum smoked the most and was an avid collector of coupons. It seemed somehow a justification for smoking - smoke a million Embassy cigarettes...

irreparably damage your health (She died from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and you too can buy a crap electric kettle...

I was a highly principled little girl (even then!) Or highly obnoxious. Whichever way you like to look at it. I flatly refused to accept ANYTHING purchased from the Embassy catalogue. It was like a kick in the stomach to my sensitive mum and I knew it. I was very good at making her wrong.

The good bit that came out of this determination to make my mother wrong at every turn was that I have never, ever had a cigarette to my lips. Not once. Not even for a second just to try. The bad bit, the far more important bit, was the loss of love in the relationship.

How ironic it is to me that all three of my boys have smoked - maybe still do, for all I know.

Oh how we love to do anything rather than be our parents!