Quilting, Farming, Variety

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What I Learned From Watching

Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer, or stubbed your toe, and a few choice words slip unbridled from your tongue, in front of a child? Then, unexpectedly, the child uses those same words while playing. My mother-in-law used to say, "Little pitchers have big ears." It's so easy for us to pass on things to little ones because they are watching us and learning from us.

Daddy smoked most of the first ten years of my life, and although I didn't grow up to be a smoker, I probably could have, for I like the smell of tobacco. I don't ever remember Daddy smoking bought cigarettes; most men we knew "rolled" their own. And that is what I learned from watching; I think today, if I had the materials for a cigarette, I could roll one.

Men wore bib overalls, Big Smith being the favorite brand, and inside the bib pockets they carried either a little cloth sack of tobacco or a tin of tobacco, matches, and a packet of thin, tissue papers.

To roll the cigarette, he would take out one tissue and cradle it between his left thumb and the next two fingers. If the tobacco was in a little cloth bag, he would take it from the bib, catch a corner of the top of the bag in his teeth, open the bag and carefully pour out the right amount of tobacco into the tissue, catch the drawstring of the bag with his teeth, pull it shut, then put the bag back into the pocket. Then he carefully rolled the tissue around the tobacco, licked the tissue to seal it, put the cigarette into his mouth, and lit it with a match. (Of course, filling the tissue from a tin would have been much easier.) Now if he happened to be with a friend who had no tobacco, but wanted to smoke, the friend might say, "Can I bum a cigarette?"

Daddy has told us several times how he stopped smoking: "I had the flu; one morning I rolled my cigarette and sat down by the heater. When I put the cigarette in my mouth, it didn't taste good, so I threw it in the heater, and never smoked again!"

Hopefully we can be good examples to those little ones who learn from us.

Smiles, Charlotte


  1. Oh, how I remember those home rolled cigarettes! Daddy would let us roll his for him if he was busy doing something. I remember a fellow in the neighborhood who had lost an arm. It amazed us to watch him roll his cigarettes with one hand, and produce cigarettes that looked just like everyone else's. I never smoked, although most of my peers did. It wasn't a matter of health issues; I would rather save my little bit of money for something new to wear instead of spending it on cigarettes!

  2. I'm glad your dad was able to stop smoking. My dad smoked, but since he died when I was an infant, I never knew him. I don't think he rolled his own though. Little ones DO learn from watching adults. Love the overall pics!

  3. My daddy rolled his own on occasion. Maybe when low on money but he had a cigarette roller that made perfectly shaped ones. I think cigarette smoking was an integral part of growing up in the 1950's.

  4. I remember when a I was little girl watching my Dad roll cigarettes and he also smoked a pipe from time to time. Then he switched to store bought filter-less cigarettes. He smoked all his life.

    Up until a year ago I was a smoker and so was my husband. We smoked in front of our son, but I'm proud to say that he hated smoking and as far as I know never has smoked.
    I am happy to say that we never smoked around our grandson. He knew we smoked because he could smell it on our clothes and he asked us to stop many times. He was tickled pink when we quit. He tells us often how proud he is of us for quitting smoking.
    It's really empowering to kick the habit. I think it's brought us closer together too.

    If you get a few minutes, Come by my blog. I hope you don't mind, I presented you with an award, I hope you'll accept it. :)

  5. Oh my, the memories this brought back. My parents rolled their own cigarettes also and Prince Albert hung around the men folk a lot. I have a very old can of Prince Albert on my antique shelf and tobacco is still in it. Loved this post. blessings,Kathleen

  6. What a cute story, Charlotte! This brought back so many memories for me~ I can still see my grandfather rolling his smokes with those thin little Prince Albert papers... how it seemed like it took him forever! But I remember the tobacco smelled so good when it was first lit....*grin*

  7. Pap smoked Prince Albert when I was little too : ) He gave it up after his triple by-pass.

  8. Charlotte, this is an interesting post. Made me think about my father's smoking. He stopped when I was twelve (when two of my uncles succumbed to lung cancer). He used Lucky Strikes, so I never saw him roll one. But I remember how he used to take one out of the pack and tap it on the face of his watch. I assume this was to pack the end he was putting into his mouth. I have reached a stage where I can't stand to be around cigarette smoke. It's as if it haunts me for a couple of days afterward. And, yet, several years ago, when I was with a friend who lit up, I suddenly had the awareness that I dreamed about smoking. Somewhere in me is a person who longs to inhale that tobacco!