Back in the Day, Part 2

For those of you too young to remember, smoking was at one time allowed just about anywhere. And believe it or not, it wouldn’t be uncommon for your mom or dad to send you back into the drug store for a book of matches if they had forgotten to ask for one when they bought their packs of coffin nails. This, of course, being after they tested the tubes for the TV.

To take this even further, smoking was also allowed in restaurants and it was only within the last couple of decades when it was abolished from such places. It may seem hard to believe but I was there and saw it with my own eyes.

That’s because Mom was a smoker (although she gave it up over 10 years ago). I can recall sitting at a local fast-food joints and consuming our unhealthy meals as she slowly puffed away on a Marlboro, getting as much as she could out of every single shred of tobacco packed within the cigarette’s tightly wrapped paper. She’d then flick the cigarette and the ashes would poetically spiral into the provided ashtrays.

As a matter of fact, when the first Del Taco in the area opened back in the late ‘70s, she helped herself to one of the glass ashtrays that were on each and every table. Made from heavy glass and with the orange Del Taco sun logo on the bottom, she used it at home regularly. But after years of moving, having stuff in storage and finally, her quitting smoking altogether, the ashtray simply disappeared.

(I applaud Mom’s tact for as the years went by, the glass ashtrays were replaced with cheap aluminum ones.)

Don’t as me why, but I seemed to have an attachment to that stupid inanimate object. Maybe it’s because it had a nifty little story of thievery behind it or that it came from the first Del Taco in the area where a friend of mine was Order #0001. Either way and as far as I know, it’s gone.

Then one day I come home from work and Anthony tells me to close my eyes and put out my hands. He and Ann had apparently went thrift shopping and bought something for me.

And here it is…

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Back in the Day, Part 1


This is me back in, oh I don’t know, maybe 1973. I couldn’t have been no more than 4 years old at the time.

This one picture is perhaps one of my most favorite childhood photos. In fact I’d go so far as to say that, aside from the few with Dad, it is my favorite and there are a number of reasons for it.

Media: It’s a Polaroid print or quite possibly, a shot taken with a Land Camera. Hey, my memory’s a bit fuzzy after living in a house coated with lead paint, okay? That aside, the scan doesn’t do the original justice. You see all those white specks on the print that look like I haven’t cleaned the glass on my scanner in ages? That isn’t dust; it’s on the print itself, apparently where the color dyes didn’t get smooshed well enough. Then there’s the classic border which no iPhone or Android app can simulate no matter how hard they try.

The Toy: I got that tractor one year for Christmas and although I may have only been 3 in this picture, I certainly remember it. I rode that thing until it practically fell apart and being a child of rather large girth, it didn’t take too long but I remember it like it was yesterday. The expression on my face tells you exactly how much I loved playing with that thing.

Color: I tried to simulate the color of the original print but there’s no way that Photoshop can come close and believe me, I tried before posting. It’s got this kind of greenish-cyanish tone that just screams 70s and when you look at the original, it actually looks almost tilt-shifty with me in as good a focus as cameras of the day would allow and the background being very soft.

The House: That’s the house I grew up in back in Wilmington, CA. All of my childhood Christmases, birthdays, everything happened within the walls of that house. It was also the home where Dad lived and then, after one fateful phone call, would never return to.

And when my time comes, I can’t think of a better picture I would want enlarged and set next to me while I’m on display.

Yeah, I know, kind of morbid but man, it’s something we all need to think about sooner or later.

Oh, and I’m sorry for not posting an April Fool’s topic this year. I honestly couldn’t come up with any ideas. Really, I couldn’t! Maybe next year…