Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

A trip back in time to the 1950s world of my novel “Last of the Seals” is full of reminders how much the world has changed. 

One of the most obvious changes is the social mores surrounding smoking. When I began my career I remember conference rooms being smoke filled with ash tray spilling over with cigarette butts and ashes.  Today smokers must huddle outside of doorways to grab a cigarette outside. That’s fine with me but it has been a monumental change.  

It would be considered appalling if in the middle of an office, someone lit up a cigarette. 

The 1950s, smoking was even more pronounced. My grandparents were both chain smokers and I remember as a child or a teenager, that you could actually see smoke rolling out the door when you entered their house. I was exposed to massive amounts of second hand smoke for years. 

There was a transition to when there were smoking sections on airplanes, particularly. I remember being in the last row of the non smoking section which was pretty much the same as sitting in the smoking section. 

In “Last of the Seals” everyone smokes and pretty much non stop–even baseball players like Sam Slater. Imagine going in to your doctor’s office and he walked into the examination room with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. 

Here are some vintage ads from that era. ImageImage

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About gregmessel

I've written six novels and am working on a seventh. My first three novels were "Expiation," "Sunbreaks" and "The Illusion of Certainty." I'm now working on a series of mysteries set in San Francisco in the 1950s. In 2008, I retired from corporate life and so I can spend more time writing. I spent over ten years in the newspaper business. I now live on Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle.
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