My father was a smoker. He smoked all his life and finally got lung cancer and throat cancer. He had to have his voice box removed and breathed thru a hole in his throat. He had a miserable painful last two years of his life. As a child I used to watch him as he rolled his own cigaretts. His fingers were quite adept. I tried and failed miserably. It takes a bit of practise. He had a friend who smoked a pipe. They would talk in the kichen and smoke. The room was full of tobaco smoke. Its a wonder we did not all get lung cancer.. Back then there was not too much known regarding cigaretts and lung cancer
The six of us lived in a small house with two bedrooms. Before we moved I slept with my father in a double bed and my brother Frank slept in a double with my mother. There was very little space in that bedroom. When we went to sleep my father wound up the alarm clock and I remember falling asleep to the tic toc of the clock. And to this day the tic toc of the clock will put me to sleep. The tic toc will drive some people crazy. There was a family living upstairs and sometimes there was a lot of yelling and banging and my mother would take the broom and beat the ceiling in an effort to quiet them down.
There was a large house next door with several room to rent on the first floor. After a while the first floor was converted to a pool room with two tables and card gambling in the back. They got raided by the local police. Some arrests were made and the owner fined. It was then converted to a church a small sect of some kind. I was always awakened on Sunday morning by the singing of hyms. This did not bother me.
Next door, on the other side, lived on of my best friends. He had an older brother and an older sister. Their father was a tyrant and would beat them when things did not go his way. I could hear a lot of yelling screaming and crying many times. My friends name was Stan, his brtother was Alex and his sister was Lillian. Alex got into the wrong crowd and stole a car , was arrested and jailed. His sister Lillian got pregnant at about 17 and was kicked out of the house. I never found out what eventualy happened with those two. Stan was lucky. He and a couple of other friends who lived two houses down were my best friends and we were busy all summer long. There was a confectionary store on the corner just down the road run bt two old sisters. We often stopped there when we had some change got an ice cream cone 3 cents for one dip and 5 cents for a double. The sisters and the store are long gone.
Lester was on of the brothers of my friend. He was 5 years older than I and had undergone numerous operation on his hip to repair damage due to an accident and was on crutches for many years. He always walked with a severe limp. One cold winter night while he was still on crutches we broke into the back of a hardware store and we were able to steal an electric motor. It was priced about $50.00. Lester new a fence and we managed to sell it for $10.00. Five dollars a piece. We also stole a can of flat fifties ( a flat can with 50 cigaretts) from a confectionary store whle the clerks back was turned. That is when I started to smoke at about age 16. I felt big and important. I feel pretty stupid now. The teen across the street also stole a car and was jailed. I manged to avoid any serious trouble with the police. I participated in a few other nasty things. When we moved away and after I graduated from vocational school my friends and I drifted apart. I started going to collage and saw very little of my boyhood friends after that.