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…
After a little cleaning up that included removing the price-tag residue from the bottom, I now own a vintage Del Taco ashtray that I will undoubtedly use for anything other than its intended purpose.
Total price to bring back a piece of my childhood: under $2. No, it isn’t the same one that Mom snagged but it will definitely suffice.
Thrift shops rock!