I am amazed that I have lived my whole life with no drug addictions of any kind.
I am not sure at what age they taught kids at school about drugs back in the1980’s, as I have no memory of ever learning about them before age eleven.
I was first introduced to what drugs in the fifth grade. I was at home and one morning getting ready to leave for school and I went into my moms purse for lunch money and came across a bag of what I though was cooking seasonings.
My mom was dating a chef at the time, so I just figured he gave her some new seasonings to try. (He actually did! sort of) I remember pushing the bag to the side of the purse to find my moms coin purse. I opened her coin purse and then I came across something called zig-zag. I took them out to examine, just as mom walked into the room and asked me what I was doing. Holding up the strange new item, I asked her what they were. She told me to put them back and that they belonged to her boyfriend.
I said okay, and then asked for .50 for lunch. Mom walked over to me , opened her wallet and handed me a dollar. I kissed her goodbye and off to school I went.
When I arrived to school and caught up with my friends I told my best friend what I had found in my moms purse that morning, and I asked her if she had ever heard of something called zig-zag papers. My friend was very smart, just a month prior she had told me that she found out that you get pregnant peeing on each other. So I figured she may know.
She told me that zig-zag is a new kind of gum she thinks, because her dad has some on his dresser.
I thought to myself that I would try some new gum the following day if mom still had still it in her purse.
I felt annoyed that my mom didn’t offer me any, regardless of it being her boyfriends. She knew I loved gum!
The following morning while mom was still asleep I went to her purse in hopes to find the new gum. I did.
I decided to open it up and remove a piece. To my surprise, something that resembled a very thin empty gum wrapper came out.
I thought to myself, why does moms boyfriend have empty gum wrappers.
I put them back in her coin purse and tossed the tiny sheet that I had pulled out into the trash and went off to school. Mom remained a sleep that morning.
While walking to school I noticed a new crossing guard at the intersection several blocks from my house. He was an older man. Late fifties, early sixties perhaps.
As I walked up next to him he asked me if I liked gum. I said YES!
He told me that he carries gum in his pocket for all the boys and girls that are good. I told him that I was not very good and that I went in my moms purse that morning for gum and only found empty wrappers. He said that it’s okay to sometimes not be good as long as you are good more then bad. He told me that he has gum in his pocket and all I had to do was reach in it and get a piece. It was bazooka brand.
At that age I had no idea how creepy that was. I did not find it odd at all and reached into his trouser pocket and received my reward. I thanked him for the gum. He told me to tell my friends that he gives away free gum to good kids. This was all within a few moments span of waiting for the light to turn red, mind you. Sure, I was taught since knee high to not take candy from strangers, but I was also taught that people in uniform and teachers were our friends and could be trusted.
When I arrived to school and met up with my friends I told my best friend about the empty gum wrappers in my moms purse, then mentioned that it was fine because the new crossing guard told me that he gives out free gum and to tell my friends.
I invited my best friend and another friend to come over my house after school that day. I told them that maybe the crossing guard would be there on the way home and we could all get free gum. Both called their parents from school that day to ask if they could come over and were both were allowed to come over. I didn’t need to ask to have friends over, only if I got invited to go over one of their homes. No one was ever home when I got home from school, so more times then not, I would invite friends over after school so I wouldn’t be alone.
On the walk home from school that day, sure enough, Mr. Crossing guard was there. I walked over to him and he smiled and told me he remembered me. He asked for a hug and introduction to my friends.
Again. not thinking anything was off, I hugged him and introduced him to Sherry and Jennie. We all were told to reach into his trouser pocket for gum and received some.
We thanked him and went on our way to my house.
Throughout the following weeks and months I received different types of gum every day that the new crossing guard was there. A few times there was another crossing guard there who didn’t offer any treats or anything. I remember after Halloween the gum turned into candy. It’s no wonder I had such awful teeth as a kid with all the treats I use to eat.
I remember Shortly after the new year, one morning while reaching in his pocket, along with a bunch of other kids, I pulled out what looked to be some pills. They were not wrapped and when I looked up Mr. Crossing guard told me that those were special candies that made you extra smart with your grades. I was not a very good student and thought for a moment whether or not I should take one. I am not sure why I was bothered. Maybe it was the change in routine, but I dropped them back into his pocket and he quickly told me that he has more candy in his other pocket and reached into his own pocket and handed me some. Several butterscotch candies. I felt special because he spent more time small chatting with me.
I really did trust him.
The few other kids who crossed with me seemed to just reach in his pocket and go. No small chat. But maybe other kids who arrived before me also small chatted.
I actually never saw if any of the other kids took any pills. If they did, I wonder what they thought they were, or if they ate them.
Weeks went by and I kept receiving candy and gum, sometimes feeling the pills at the bottom of his pocket but never pulling them out and asking about them again.
The times that I had friends walk home with me, they would also receive candy and gum. Only once I recall my friend Sherry telling me that she felt loose candy in the bottom of his pocket but never took it because her mom told her that loose candy could be poison.
I remember telling her that the crossing guard would never give poison to kids because he’s our friend and the school wouldn’t have hired him if he was not nice.
I also told her that the loose candy was actually pills that make you smart. And that that was what he told me. She told me that she was smart enough, and then we laughed about it. STILL thinking nothing was odd about any of this.
One morning on the way to school it was very cold and snowy. That morning when I reached Mr. crossing guard he told me that I looked cold and then asked me why one of my parents didn’t drive me to school. I told him that I lived with my mom and she works late and sleeps during the day. He asked me where I lived and I pointed in the general direction. He then asked me what my address was. I told him that too. He gave me a rather tight hug that morning and I went on my way with no candy or gum. Just conversation.
Towards the end of that school year my mom had told me that her boyfriend was going to be moving in with us. I was not too pleased with this but said Okay. Maybe this new Boyfriend would make her happy because the last two certainly didn’t.
One morning after getting dressed for school I walked into the kitchen and saw moms boyfriend sitting hunched over, sniffing something on the table. I walked over to him and asked what he was doing. He said Coke. I asked where the soda can was. He laughed and told me exactly what coke was. I also noticed those zigzag papers next to an ashtray on the table. I pointed to them and asked for a piece of gum. He told me that he didn’t have any but would buy me some that day. I asked him what the zigzag papers were and told him that I thought it was gum. He explained to me that if was for weed, and that when I got older he would show me how they work. He then took out his wallet and handed me $5.
I guess I was satisfied with all this new information and had breakfast, got dressed, and went on my way to school.
At the crossing section the guard gave me a whole pack of juicy fruit gum that morning. And after school I found a pack of Hubba-Bubba gum on my bed. Moms boyfriend came through! Maybe he wasn’t so bad.
My brother was rarely home that year. He didn’t get along with moms boyfriend. He went to school and worked. He would leave before I did and we would see each other in passing. He planned on moving out when he turned 17 he had told me. I felt like an only child throughout my teen years.
That said, One day after school I caught my brother home and told him about the coke and zigzag papers. He told me to keep it to myself and that mom was happy. I said okay, and kept quiet. I never even told my dad!
One morning at school the teacher told the class that Sherry was in the hospital getting her stomach pumped and that she would like us to make a card to send home with her mother.
Later that day my friend Jennie told me that she went over to Sherry’s house and that her mom was a drug user. I was never invited to Sherry’s house but she would come over to mine every few weeks and never talked about her family to me. We would just do homework together and listen to music and dance.
I had no idea what getting your stomach pumped meant, but as an adult I think back and wonder about the mystery pills that I know in my heart were probably some sort of drugs were something that she took and ate, or maybe she used something she found at home.
After that school year I never saw that crossing guard again…
Over the Summer I could tell that mom was going to end up marrying her Boyfriend. He was in his twenties. Somewhat younger then my mom. They met at the restaurant where he worked.
They ended up getting married when I was twelve. We ended up moving shortly after because the lease that my mom signed was only for three occupants. At least that is what my mom had told me on why we had to move across town.
My brother graduated and moved down to Florida with my father in 1985. I remained in Connecticut, but would visit my father in the Summer.
My new stepfather was one of eight kids. His mother had eight sons. Only two married, My stepdad and the very oldest son. The rest all lived at home with their mom. All were users. Oftentimes they would come over to our house to play cards, drink, and get stoned.
I use to peak out my bedroom door to where they all were and watch them. I remember watching them drink and do drugs on many occasions. I also learned what pipes and bongs were by watching them. Mostly while my mom was at work.
My stepdad only got mean when he drank it seemed. Other then that, as a teen, he was seen as a cool step parent. He was the first one who introduced me to alcohol. He quickly became my friends favorite person because he would give them alcohol too. I never saw the hype about alcohol though, but quickly learned is was a social thing that you did with the people close to you. For my thirteenth birthday he gave me a bottle of vodka and $20. He told me to not tell my mom or she would get mad.
I didn’t tell and ended up selling the bottle of Vodka to my friend for $20.
Now I had $40, and I bought some new clothes at the mall. I never liked the way alcohol tasted but my friends seemed too and were constantly wanting to come over and party.
One night a new friend came over my house and took a liking to my stepdads younger brother, who was only 18. He was also over that evening.
She ended up pregnant! I quickly learned that you did not get pregnant by peeing on each other. That is a whole other story. It also ruined our friendship. Her stepfather found out and started stalking me. He was even stranger then mine and I had to call 911 one night while home alone. He showed up with a knife in hand and was trying to break in.
A couple years passed and I was really waking up, sort of speak to what my life was. So right before my fifteenth birthday I asked my mom if I could move down to Florida permanently and finish school down there. She was fine with it. I moved to Florida thinking I would never return back, but was back before the years end. When I moved down to Florida I was introduced to my fathers new wife. She too was a user and was just horrible. I did register for school in Florida, but it was a private school and I really didn’t fit in.
When I moved back to Connecticut, it was hard to relocate my old friends and felt very lonely. I ended up not going back to school and getting a job. Two jobs! I figured I would live back at home and save my money for my own apartment.I made new friends and worked and met up with a guy who became my first real long term boyfriend.We met through a mutual friend. He was four years older then me.
I had not realized at the time, but he was a user too. Also an alcoholic. My stepdad seemed to like him at first because they drank together.
I still felt alone, but I did end up moving out for a bit. I also found myself back in Florida. Dad was now going through a divorce. Mom later divorced my stepfather who then tried to strangle and kill her. Such a mess!
I stayed in Florida for a year and ended up back in Connecticut once more. I ended up getting yet, another job and meeting a guy who was also a user. After a few dates with him begging for me to use with him, he dumped me. I had no intention of getting into drugs. (I found out later that year. he over dosed and died)
Working and remaining single for a while, then meeting another guy who seemed like prince charming. At the time, I did not know that he was a user too. Even harder drugs then the last. In my mine I thought that all men used drugs and thought with my help, I could change price charming. This particular guy was like Ken to me. Not that I was barbie, but this man looked like Ken and I fell hard! We were together for a couple years. He proposed and gave me his granny’s wedding ring. His family seemed to love me and wanted us to get married, My father even flew up to meet him. Everyone loved him. Very charismatic. Ex military, which my father also loved. No job or car his parents and granny supported us and paid for everything. I did work though, but only part time.
Really, His only fault was that he was addicted to drugs. Not a mean bone in his body it seemed. He loved everyone and everyone loved him. He told me that Dessert Storm messed him up and he suffered from PTSD, so needed to use. There were some times that he tried to stop and I’d go with him to NA meetings, but it was short lived. (In the end, he also overdosed and died)
I ended up meeting another man through the last one who was sweet. He use to walk me to and from work. he would always tell me that he was worried that I may get kidnapped walking home by myself late at night.
He wanted more then friendship but I did not feel that way towards him. We did become best friends though and we would hang out all the time.
ala’ He was also a user. He never pushed drugs on me but I know wanted me to party with him. He introduced me to his mom and she was a user also. No father.I felt bad for them and would often times work extra shifts to help them with their rent and food. (They both ended up over dosing and dying)
I lived on my own for a while but through work would make friends easily and those friends would introduce me to their friends and it seemed like everyone I met used drugs. Everyone I ever dated used drugs. There was no one that I was ever friends with OR dated that did not use.
It wasn’t until I turned twenty-one that I tried weed. I had just moved back from Florida once more, and met a former class mate from high school through a mutual friend.
He used pot. Nothing heavier. He introduced me to Fall festival parties in the woods where a hundred or so people would have a bond fire, drink, and getting high.
I started to drink for social reasons (peer pressure) and then tried pot one evening when feeling pressured. I never liked the feeling it gave me at all, as I’m a hyper type person to began with, and do not like that mopey feeling that weed gives you. It’s really a yuck feeling. I feel like it’s a drug for depressed people to escape.
I think I got high about four times total. I just never cared for it. We were together for just under two years. Right up until I met my now, husband.
My husband is the one and only man I have ever, ever, known that has never tried so much of a cigarette. No drugs! First sip of alcohol was with me out on a dinner date.
Squeeky clean! Of course his brother was addicted to drugs when I met him. Much better now though, happily married with Also five kids.
Nowadays, I try to distance myself from anyone who uses or drinks heavily. I find that it not only brings back bad memories, but affects me…
Please Kids just say no to drugs, as that old commercial says.