by Ethan Russell

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“NEW YORK CITY, 1952…When I was in second grade in New York City I was forced by my parents to wear short pants to school and an “I Like Ike” button on my shirt. I begged my father to release me from the short pants, but the button was okay.

Before Manhattan we lived in Westchester County. I walked with my mother down a tree-lined road to the local school. In kindergarten one Fall day I made applesauce, a taste I never forgot. It felt like magic, like I had just performed culinary alchemy.

My father was working as a producer on Your Hit Parade, the earliest music program on television. Over time he moved to Batton, Barton, Durstine & Osborne, one of the ad agencies for the show, which was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes. My first words, I like to say, were “L.S.M.F.T” (“Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco”). He was, I suppose, a “Mad Man” in today’s parlance. But he would have denied there was anything mad about it. It was a time when doctors did cigarette commercials. What other proof of sanity did he need?” (From ETHAN RUSSELL:AN AMERICAN STORY )

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