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A Big Kiss for Gramps: 1941

July 1941. Farmer with his granddaughter at the Fourth of July picnic in Vale, Oregon. View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the FSA.

July 1941. Farmer with his granddaughter at the Fourth of July picnic in Vale, Oregon. View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the FSA.


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I remember

The aroma of my mother's purse -- tobacco, face powder, perfume and blackjack gum. She smoked and she loved me. Absolutely no one lives forever. I'd take a grampa who smokes and loves me over one who snarks at his fellows, compulsively goes to the gym, bitches about the dearth of organically grown veggies, fat people taking up his visual space. He is going to die, hopefully not alone with people who resent his hysterical attachment to himself.

Cigarette hysteria is rampant, mean, dehumanizing, elitist and snotty.

[Someone seems to have touched a nerve or two. - Dave]

Just one more...

Actually, one of the factors that inspired my quitting smoking (after 8 years, in my 20s) was that every picture of me featured a cigarette. I didn't want that associated with whatever legacy I might leave.

Warts and All

I can't understand anyone who wouldn't want pictures of a family member with a cigarette or a glass of whatever they drank, if the person was a smoker or someone who had enjoyed a drink from time to time. It is part of who they were. You can't remember people in an idealized form - the whole person includes their faults as well as their strengths.

Smoking Grandpa

At one time, my sister and I divvied up a collection of family photographs. She refused to keep any photo of our grandfather in which he was holding a cigarette or a drink. Because of that, she wound up with only a few pictures of him as he was rarely without a cigarette or his whiskey. Cancer and cirrhosis helped lead to his death--as did diabetes and high cholesterol--but if I shunned any reminder of his smoking and drinking, I would have few mementos of him.

So in this photo, accept that a cigarette is present and look at the real subject of the photo--a happy day, a loving family, and a charming memory.

BTW, I love the Shorpy comments section for all the lively discussions. I don't always read blog comments, but at Shorpy the comments are often as fascinating as the photos.


I'm 30 years old, a smoker, and from a family of smokers.

I smoke because I like it. I'm intelligent enough to know it's a dangerous lifestyle choice. So is unprotected sex. So is eating McDonalds, and so is driving too fast.

I just want to say that I would do anything to have a moment like this with my grandfather, just one more time. Just a moment of it. I wish I had appreciated these kind of moments more when I had them. My grandfather died recently at age 86, not from smoking. I miss you, Rudy.

Touched a nerve

Sorry, it's just a fact that to me--a reformed, addicted smoker--secondhand smoke is physically and, yes, mentally (the holier than thou theory, I suppose) bothersome.

I certainly didn't say I need a private sphere, much less require one, but surely you don't think Siberia would provide refuge from all possible causes of irritation?! Not my choice, anyway, if in fact I required such an orb.

Of course, what's wrong with wishing for a bit more clean air? I mean, this isn't Shorpyland circa 1941 anymore. We've heard the Surgeon General's warnings about the harms of cigarettes since 1964.

30 years later...

...could've been me and my Grandpa. Plenty of family photos & memories involving smokers here...good AND bad. I think it's a sweet photo, as are the others...happy kids, happy grandpa.

Cordon sanitaire

Wow! Getting physically and mentally irritated by smokers, even from 200 feet away! If you need a private sphere with a radius of 200 feet from which all possible causes of irritation are banned, you might as well go live in Siberia or face it that you may have a problem living with other, sometimes imperfect, people around you.

Health and stuff...

Good health is great, you need it to tackle those issues which are more important than smoking.

People were considerate and loving as this picture illustrates, and sadly many of those caught up in the smoking mania of the first half of the 20th century discovered its dangers too late. My generation watched the parents of the 1950s, including my father, die in a long, painful manner directly attributed to smoking.

Your lungs can repair themselves, to a point. When I was a child, our home was filled with a smoky haze; allergies and asthma followed me for years after I'd moved out. I was around 30 when I noticed my lungs didn't hurt while jogging. But I digress.

Keep yourself healthy. Really. You want to be around the next 20 years to benefit from medical advances that are being developed now. It'll make our current life seem as distant as these views from the past. (Hope there’s no rule against mentioning the future in Shorpy comments!)

The Fat Lady at Wal-Mart

>> I think that fat people are ugly, disgusting, and are doing harm to their bodies.

Whoa, back the fat train up here. Where do you get off saying that from nowhere?! Adjust your perception, buddy. Most of the civilized world is getting fatter. Whatever will you do with your sensitivities 20 years from now?

People will smoke, people will eat.

Not everyone who is a smoker or fat is flawed in the ways you think they are. Perhaps smoking was an option back in the Depression to stave off hunger... and they never could quit. Perhaps Mrs. Fat in Aisle 3 buying chips isn't fat because she wants to eat junk food and be lethargic. Perhaps she can't afford healthy foods, like most. Cheap carbs are always more accessible for the poor than vegetables and lean meats enough to feed a family. Especially in this day, in the economy at hand.

Complain not about other people's life, health and such. Take care of yourself and learn to appreciate the good in people. Not what you are judging them for.

Note: for future reference, if you cannot spell "exercise," then you cannot preach to others about it. Sorry.

The fat woman at Wal-Mart, doing the best she can.

Walmart, etc. etc. etc.

If you keep it to yourself, and/or keep it private, you are simply a polite adult who has a valid opinion. You should set your own boundaries, and if you do not like smokers, chose to do what you can to not be exposed to it.

If you yell at others, impose your will upon otherwise law abiding citizens (no i am not talking about someone lighting up inside the hospital waiting room or other unlawful place) you are being a rude, selfish, jerk.

I think that fat people are ugly, disgusting, and are doing harm to their bodies. Do i go to walmart and yell at every 400 lb person in a scooter that I see? Do i walk up to someone in the junk food isle and preach at them about nutrition and excersize? No. I do not. I am an adult and I know when it is appropriate to express my opinion in a civilized society.

[One reason the Shorpy "comments" section is the delightful place it is! - Dave]


I'm probably not your ex-friend, but I can relate.

When I quit I became far worse (more sensitive) than the self-righteous non-smokers I resented and swore I'd never be like.

It stinks and irritates me, physically and mentally. And, sorry, smokers are not just doing something to their body, they're invading my space -- even from 200 feet away.

That said, I'm not going to editorialize about historic pix (unless to note how the purveyors of these poisons took advantage of otherwise decent folks).


With all due respect the smoke police are out in full force. I was at an Eagles game last month and I went where I thought was a smoking area, I lit up and lo and behold, someone yelled "smokers" and about 4 security guards came running at me, give me a break. I am a adult and choose to smoke, I am aware of the risks and I respect a nonsmoker's space, I wish people would stop telling me to stop, sorry to sound off on here.

Smoking Nazis

Smoking Nazis, nothing quite like them.

I do not smoke, but I fully support the freedom of your decision to do so.

I had a friend who smoked, then quit, and abruptly became someone I no longer wished to associate with. She would accost strangers for smoking near her, and speak loudly and in a derogatory tone about anti-smoking rhetoric whenever someone with a cigarette was within shouting distance. The final straw was when I went to a museum with her, and we were out front taking pictures of our kids near a fountain, and someone lit up (200 feet or more away, down wind,in a heavy breeze, in the OUTDOOR designated smoking area) and she went over and berated him in public about killing her children. I was mortified.

It is nobody's business what I or any other consenting adult does to his or her body, as long as it is legal. I'm sure I could find fault in any of your lives should I want to. Too much fried food? Drive too fast? Maybe you drink beer, or eat red meat, or a multitude of other "sins"?

Relax people, there are other things to worry about in this world, and none of them are people smoking.

For the record, I have family members who smoke. Some have developed cancer. Some are 80 years old and in great health. It is, and remains, their decision to partake in this habit, for better or for worse, and it is not my business to preach at them to quit. I have enough personal flaws that I'm sure anyone could point out that affect both me and the ones around me, and I know each and every single one of you do too.


You're lucky and I wish you continued good health. I was a smoker as well but I got the message and quit. I have three married daughters and neither they or their husbands are tobacco users and I'm hoping my six grandchildren won't be either. You've got to play the odds. The phobia is not out of hand in this country. Tobacco is a killer and the cost in heartache, pain and money is beyond reason. The people who grow it, sell it, smoke it or tax it have to realize the danger of this addiction and end it once and for all. I don't mean to preach, this is, after all, a photography site and not a soapbox for do-gooders or health nuts, but your comment had to be answered.

A Big Kiss

And actually there was a kiss. All kinds of love for Grandpa.

Baby on fire

Primitive thought he might be, I imagine granpa knew not to set the baby on fire with his cigarette.

And this brief exposure to second hand smoke probably imperils her less than the lead exposure from paint and auto exhaust of the time. I look at that and I'm glad they had a moment to play together.

Dr. Mel on smoking

I am not going to argue on secondhand smoke, global warming, etc., but it strikes me that every time a cigarette is visible in vintage photographs, comic books or advertisements you get this sort of extremely well-meant comments.


I came to look at the comments for this photo just because I knew there would be complaints about the cigarette.

I was not disappointed.

I grew up in a household where every adult smoked heavily. I do not smoke. My little pink lungs never exploded from secondhand smoke and at 40 I still have not developed lung cancer.

Smoking phobia is really getting out of hand in this country.

Grandpa and the Baby

It shows what we didn't know or think of then. The possibility of burning the child or even worse, the ingestion of secondhand smoke leading to the lung problems of that and succeeding generations. We've got the info now, but there's still plenty of smokers out there.

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