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Baked Potato

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Member since: Wed Oct 24, 2018, 03:53 PM
Number of posts: 1,190

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In the late 1960s my dad smoked Raleigh brand cigarettes

The tobacco companies rewarded folks for smoking their cancer-sticks by including little coupons with each pack or carton. You could redeem these little gems for stuff from their Raleigh catalogs.

Well, my dad smoked a lot... over a pack a day. In fact, I donít remember him ever *not* smoking. Just about every picture I have of Dad shows him holding a cig, or drawing on one.

So, between me and my brother, I was the collector of the coupons. I was about eleven years old then, and my brother was fourteen. I hunted around the house all the time looking for a pack of Raleigh smokes to grab the coupon from. As soon as my dad opened a new pack, well, there I was to grab the little slip. The carton of ten packs also had a coupon, I remember. I think it was a strip of five, or so.

I saved and saved the coupons for years. I finally saved about a thousand when I started thinking about what to get with them. I donít remember exactly where I got it, but I got a a Raleigh Cigarette Coupon Catalog. I think the catalogs were on the counters in the stores, by the cash registers. It was just like the one I link to, below.

The catalog was like a Sears catalog. There was tools, clothes, indoor stuff, outdoor stuff. There was clocks, bedspreads, and pots and pans. There was jewelry and bathroom scales. And, Toys... lotsa toys.

Well, I settled on a chemistry set. It was a Senior Chemistry Set, made by Skil Craft. That is the same company which made the black writing pens I used while in the Army. I remember hearing that the company employed blind and other handicapped people to put together items for sale.

The chemistry set was redeemable for 925 coupons. I didnít remember this precise number, but the recently found catalog shows the set and the required amount of coupons I needed at the time. I counted up my saved coupons, rubber banded them, and put them in a shoe box for sending.

I taped up the box, addressed it, and sent the coupons out. Then, I waited. And I waited. After about a year, we moved to another house and town some thirty miles from the old house. I forgot about my chemistry set. I was pretty disappointed.

Then one day, now being about a year and a half later, we received a box in the mail. It was beaten up, had torn corners, and was generally abused. It was addressed to my dad. We opened the box, and you guessed it... there was my long awaited chemistry set! It had finally arrived and it revived my interest in goofing around with scientific stuff.

Then, a surprising thing happened about a month later. Another package arrived, the same size and shape as the other one, with the same sender address. We opened the box and there was *another* Senior Chemistry Set! More smelly sulfur, more test tubes, more stuff to play with!

So, I still donít know what happened. Was the box sent back and forth between addresses? Were my coupons sitting in a warehouse for a year? And, what about that second set? Itís a mystery, but I was a happy little camper after that. In the mean time, Dad had switched to another brand of cigs without the collector coupons. Thus, my cigarette coupon collecting saga had ended. It took some time, but it worked out in the end.


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