Monday, April 12, 2010

The Scent of Memories

A friend of mine asked me what kind of cologne I wear. I had to actually stop and think. I rarely go anywhere that smelling anything more than "clean" is needed. Plus, now that spring is here, I don't wear cologne on job sites. It's bad enough that washed hair attracts bugs seeking to "pollinate" what they think is a flower. I always laugh at the cutesy, over dressed, high fashion gal who has to wear a hard hat on a job site and then has to walk in her high heels to where the site superintendent is explaining the construction. She will start swinging at the bee or wasp that has taken a shine to her and get all upset at the "stupid" insect. Um...yes.

Still, there is something slightly magical about dabbing on cologne for a night out. Scent is a mood lifter, no questions about that. I have accumulated quite a number of mood lifters over the years and they just sit because I really don't have place to wear them.

I keep everything in this basket on my dresser. I decided to dust this area for the first time in more than a few months, just to see what I had in here. There are 2 bottles and 2 small tubes of scented lotion and 3 spray bottles of lavender scent that I should use to spray the inside of my clothes closet. That would help make the clothes smell fresh and force any clothes moths hiding in there to leave. Moth balls are not good for you even though we seem attracted to the smell. I guess they remind us of great-grandma's chest of sweaters.

As I removed the bottles from the basket, I remembered why I have it and where or when I got it. It was like walking through my past. I knew each fragrance and have a special memory for each. Some are more intense than others.

This bottle is "Wind Song". It was one of my grandmother's favorite scents. She would wear this and Estee Lauder Youth Dew. This is the bottle that was on her dresser when she passed away. You can see there is still a little bit left. It's not one of my favorite scents but I have worn it on occasion. She wore it only on very special occasions. I remember she wore it to my wedding and to Carole's baptism.

My mother still wears Youth Dew on occasion. For years, she would get a bottle of that every other year or so, at Christmas or her birthday or for Mother's Day.

Now why on earth, would I have a bottle of Mennen Skin Bracer on my dresser? My dad wore this. He would also wear Old Spice but my memories of him getting dressed up revolve around shaving, nicks and Skin Bracer. When he passed away, my sister took the Old Spice. I'm not that fond of it. There are other colognes I prefer on men. I bought this bottle of Skin Bracer and, when I missed dad, would give it a sniff. On occasion, I would put a few drops on my pj's. It was a comfort scent. It still is. It's a rather old-fashioned scent. I don't know any guy who actually uses this anymore, which is a shame.

I bought this for myself when I turned 50. See Play-Doh and I share the same birth year. I didn't realize that until I stumbled across a post in a blog detailing that fact. In the same blog was a link where one could purchase this cologne.

It does smell like Play-Doh. When you first put it on, it's kind of heavy, I think, with an overly chemical vanilla smell. Let it sit a couple of minutes and then give it a sniff. If you have ever played with Play-Doh, you will say, "Oh, yes!"

And, just to be clear, I haven't worn this except once, for a joke. When people would give me a sniff, you could tell they recognized the scent but could not, for the life of them, place it. I would wear it again, to the right event.

So, which one is my favorite? I don't know. My favorite flower is the Lilac and I have a bottle of Lilac perfume.

There's a small bottle of Avon Apple Blossom cologne. I don't think it's available anymore. It's a "happy" smell.

I have a bottle of Charlie and a bottle of Scoundrel. These were heavily promoted in the 1970's. Model Cheryl Tiegs advertised Charlie and actress Joan Collins advertised Scoundrel. Yes, I remember that. It's useless trivia and I will retain it. Just don't ask where I put my glasses.

I have several different bottles of Musk. That was all the rage for awhile, claiming that musk was closer to your original scent. Meh, not really. It strikes me that musk colognes are just a heavier scent, more woodsy, if you will.

The blue bottle is Cool Water. It's probably the newest of all of those in the basket, the samples notwithstanding. Carole and I attended a program for Mother's Day at a nearby Macy's when it was Marshal Field's. We were given this huge bag of scents and free stuff and there was a small bottle of the Cool Water body lotion. I really liked that scent. I used up the lotion and am left with the cologne. As it's a pricey scent, I'm not about to run out and get another bottle when I have other scented lotions to use up.

After all of this, I still don't have an answer for which one is my favorite. It's very much a choice based upon my whim as I'm getting dressed. "What do I feel like?"

So many memories attached to this small bottles. Lots of dust, too. I had to shake out the dust rag and then pound the basket on the deck to get rid of the clumps.
Now, if anyone has an idea what these unidentified bottles could be, I'd love to hear it.

Beverage: Scottish Blend Tea


1 comment:

  1. Francesca sent a nice comment which she graciously said I should post.

    Enjoyed your comments about scent in our life. when i read that your grandma wore Windsong and I about threw up...the memory of scents is SO strong in our psyche and I wore Windsong when I was pregnant and SICK and now just thinking about it, these 42 years later is still so real that it can make me sick to my stomach.

    One year for Christmas I asked Lawrence for my favorite, White Shoulders, and he mistakenly got Windsong (he remembered something about it from our early days but what he remembered wasn't the sick part), so I had to ask him to return it.

    I remember living in San Diego where one day I used Amway drain cleaner in the bathroom sink and a couple of years later I used it in our bathroom in Groton, SD and Peter [her oldest son] came in and said, "that smells like San Diego." He was probably four when I first used it and about 7 the next time...

    So, smells really trigger memories for people

    When Alicia [her first grandchild] was born I started to make sure I wore White Shoulders perfume when I was around her to try to make her think of me when she smells that in her life. I still wear it when I go to see the grandkids. It's my favorite and really the only one I wear. I DO NOT wear it to church or concerts or other public events where people might be allergic or sensitive. I do wear it to work.

    Brenda [her goddaughter] asked one time if she could use some of mine because she had come to like it because I wear it. I was honored that she asked. Then one year she asked for it for Christmas. Hope it makes good memories for her -- of me and events at which she wears it.

    Nice post.