- Michael "Bongo" Schloss
Alas, youthful indiscretions were (and remain) a rite of passage. Why boys think that girls are easily impressed, remains one of life's great mysteries. We (my peers and I) thought that smoking cigarettes gave us a certain gravitas, and made us appear more mature to young ladies. In truth, they (cigarettes) only made us smell funny.
My taste ran more towards Benson & Hedges or Matterhorn (menthol made me even cooler!). I only remember other brands because my mother was a shopkeeper in days of yore (Trench Town) and from effective advertising. Remember "Albany" or "Machado"? I can still hear those jingle lyrics in my head. "Ah-ah-ah-ah-Albany king size..." and "Macha-do, Macha-do, when you smoke our cigarette you will find..." Oh, now the faucet is running and I can't turn it off! Remember DuMaurier? "DuMaurieee filter kings…" the jingle had that pervasive bass line, and the television ads had a lead who was clearly patterned after James Bond.
Happy to say, I quit smoking many years ago. I admit that I am one of those few who actually LIKE the smell of a cigar, and occasionally indulge; though not since my cancer diagnosis. There’s nothing like a good, hand-rolled cigar (none of your twelve-for-a-dollar el cheapo's) and a good cognac. Yes, while wearing a smoking jacket, the garment created for that very purpose--to keep the tobacco smell from your clothes. A good cigar never has a plastic filter tip attached or a hole pre-bored into it.
Anyone remember "Colts" by Old Port? "...rum flavoured and wine dipped…" went the ad. They were these , cigars with plastic filter tips. A group of us Barites were sitting on that gully wall (storm drain really) that led from the old boarding area to Three Views Avenue, and smoking some Colts. Remember there were homes on either side of the drain and the fences had hedges to retain the residents' privacy and to protect their helpers from "big tree men" from The Bar. The hedges shielded us from their view; but suddenly, a voice from the house said: "Ah su-mell su-moke. Is de school bway dem a su-moke inna de gully? Ah gwine call Missa Edgah!"
Talk about organized chaos! We took off in all directions. Herb Mac would have been proud to see so many land speed records being set. In no time flat, a couple of us were in the parking lot over by Brooks Shoppers Fair, a couple more were at the bus stop on Washington Boulevard by "Plum Valley," two were seen at the bus stop by the front gate on Red Hills Road, and yet a couple more were observed entering Lee's Fifth Avenue supermarket!