Did you ever “smoke” candy cigarettes? Apparently they are still available online although I haven’t seen them in stores for years. Somewhere along the line the idea of children pretending to smoke lost its charm and candy cigarettes disappeared from common use. I’m sure that’s for the best, although I’m not convinced they really encouraged smoking.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Read more here.
I actually have fond memories of candy cigarettes, despite the fact they tasted like mint-flavored chalk. The only relative I had at the time who smoked was one of my grandfathers but they didn’t live nearby so I only saw that set of grandparents a few times a year. Television sometimes glorified smoking and made it look grown-up and sophisticated but I was never seriously tempted to smoke a real cigarette. Still, every kid longs to feel grown-up and *smoking* a candy cigarette felt rather glamorous and perhaps slightly illicit.
On a few occasions I can remember my mom letting us buy a pack which was probably wiser than making them the forbidden fruit. But my best memories were of my cousin and I driving a couple of blocks to a little Hostess Bakery outlet store where we would buy Twinkies and candy cigarettes. You may be thinking it rather odd that teens old enough to drive would be interested in something sort of childish like this but the truth is we were about 11 and 12 when we did this. Yes, I was driving a car that young.
We lived out in a rather remote area of the Mojave desert in Southern California on dirt roads. My mom taught us all to drive very young, starting by sitting in her lap and steering while she worked the pedals. By 11 or 12 I was occasionally allowed to drive the short distance to the bakery with my slightly younger cousin along for company. We were good kids and I was a careful driver but looking back on it, the whole notion seems a little crazy. I guess it just goes to show how different times were.
The car I drove was a red 1962 Chevy Bel Air which my parents had bought just a few weeks before I was born. The thing was huge and even with the seat moved all the way up, I still needed a pillow in order to reach the pedals and see over the gigantic steering wheel. That was no deterrent, though. Sue and I would grab our purses, making sure we had enough money with us, and I’d drive us the few blocks to the bakery. We’d casually stroll in, certain that everyone would think we were much older than we were — 14 at least — as we purchased our Twinkies and cigarettes. Back in the car, we’d drive home with the windows down, smoking our cigarettes and sure for all the world that we were extremely grown-up. Ah, good times…
I just might have to order a package for nostalgia’s sake.