The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.

Why I like men/cigarettes/pipes/cigars and snooker


My mother told us stories about my father and her going to America for a year in 1946 aboard a war time troop carrier. It was an uncomfortable experience, evidently. And coming back was equally entertaining.

They had many adventures in America – my father studying and my mother touring, giving talks on South Africa.

In 1946, I was two years old.

My sister and I were separated. She was boarded out with friends and I was put in an orphanage.

I have no memory of the orphanage, but the family myth was that I loved it – and I loved my cot.

But I DO remember stuff. I remember staying at my granny and grandpa’s at the weekend. Well I don’t remember ‘the weekend’ part. But they ran the local YMCA in an old Victorian building.

I remember the ornate sweeping wooden balustrade going up from the ground floor entrance to the upper floor. I remember the SMELL! It was of men’s pipes, cigars and cigarettes. And the SOUND of billiard balls smacking into each other and dropping into pouches. And men talking and laughing.

In my memory I was put to bed there, not in my orphanage cot – but in a small bed next to a wood panelled wall where the sounds and the smells lulled me to sleep.

I don’t remember my sister. And grandma and grandpa are vague impressions. I don’t remember hugs and cuddles.

Those sounds and smells and the men/man atmosphere comforted me in my desolation.

I think that’s why I like men/cigarettes/pipes/cigars and snooker – masculine stuff! Men have never been MY enemy.


Author: Elizabeth

I'm someone also pounding the Path, just like you.. I'm retired, going into Old Age and loving my life. I'm hoping to remain happy and well for as long as possible. Old Age is not SO bad - yet!

8 thoughts on “Why I like men/cigarettes/pipes/cigars and snooker

  1. You might enjoy this:

    It made such an impression on me I went and looked up the train station and it still exists, still has the name sign painted on it but is now -as a result of of Von Beechin or whomever- a private house.

    Apologies if I have linked you to it before- blame old age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful photographs! And no – not shared before – chillax.


      • Well it wasn’t exactly on topic but contained enough elements from your post that I thought you might enjoy it. I can’t get past the fact that your Mom left you to go into an Orphanage at such a young age -that seems sooo desperately sad to me- and yes i know times and attitudes towards kids were very different back then (perhaps more ‘victorian’/’seen and not heard’) and it says nothing about how much your parents’ loved you. It just seems sad …to the point I can’t even rustle up a funny about how you could sue for all the passive smoke and mysoginism you were FORCED to suffer at such an early age, and compo for a life long addiction to tobacco, men and -worst of all- snooker!

        Liked by 1 person

        • “how you could sue for all the passive smoke and mysoginism you were FORCED to suffer at such an early age, and compo for a life long addiction to tobacco, men and -worst of all- snooker!” 😀


  2. Smells have a strange way of evoking past memories. Cardinal Red floor polish and Coal Tar soap do it for me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful memory sharing Ms. Furlong! I have some similar odd “half memories” of things from my early years:

    – playing with a colorful toy in an uncle’s apartment
    – sitting on a heating grill with a neighbor’s little girl
    – running down a hill in the park and then being momentarily lost and scared by a big parked automobile near me and starting to cry, only to hear my name being called and turning around to see my father smiling down at me from behind
    – a neighbor from when I was 4 1/2 or so who was a skinny, very very old man with a big smile who gave me amazing tiny colored beads all connected together to play with (like New Orleans’ necklaces: maybe a memento from his younger days? :> )
    – seeing the wonderful mysterious empty huge house we were moving into, (when I was just 5 years old), an old brownstone that had a big empty shiny linoleum floor in the kitchen that I could slide around on, a big dark scary basement with a HUGE monster semi-converted coal to gas furnace that scared me until I was a teenager, and meeting my first new friend out on the sidewalk there: a kid from a few houses away so thoroughly over-dressed in a big blue parka that all I could see were his big eyeglasses (I called him Glasses for a while, and stayed friends through high school)
    – my mom’s best friend — a very large woman with huge breasts that I called “mommy pillows” and loved burrowing between (hmm… I still have that tendency… ;> )

    Heehee… thanks for hosting my *own* little memory lane here m’lady!


    P.S. Unlike you however, I hated adults smoking (including when my parents did it) and would always make faces and wave away at the smoke. I have a clear memory of some adults being very puzzled by my aversion and my grandmother once explaining to a wondering friend of hers at a diner that I was just kind of odd in that way — which shows how unusual it was for children to be “repulsed” by wisps of tobacco smoke! I was likely around 6 or 7 at that time because I was sitting on a counter-stool drinking a big cold soda at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

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