My grandmother once told me that Hitler was misunderstood. He really wasn’t a bad guy, just a guy who wanted the best for his country and his people. Around the same time, she gave me a very pretty 1940s-era cigarette case on the condition that when I grew up, I would never smoke. I promised. Years later when I was a teenager, I started smoking. Mostly because when you grow up around chain-smoking adults, smoking is the most natural thing in the world. And my opinion of my grandmother and Hitler had taken a hit in the intervening years.
I used to steal cigarettes from a drawer in the kitchen where, over the years, I could find any number of popular brands to choose from. I don’t know if anyone ever noticed the occasional pack disappearing, but no one ever said anything. I used to smoke in my room next to an open window, although I don’t know why I felt this was necessary, the entire house reeked of cigarettes. I guess it was because the door was closed and if an adult came in in a rare fit of perception, he/she might notice a cloud of smoke hovering in my bedroom.
Once or twice, I accidentally dropped a cigarette between my bed and the wall. The bed was a massive piece of furniture with drawers built in and I couldn’t move it alone. I think I may have dumped a glass of water into the space so the house wouldn’t burn down. I wasn’t there when the room was cleaned out to sell the house roughly a decade later, but I’m guessing a couple of water-damaged old cigarettes didn’t draw much attention next to the dozens of empty vodka bottles (grandmother’s) almost certainly unearthed in the next room.
I eventually had to start buying my own cigarettes. The family’s finances were suffering at some point, and the adults had started buying these absolutely revolting off-brand smokes.