Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet Scent

The small bottle sat on the dresser. Channel No. 5. I wasn’t supposed to snoop, but she was my older sister. Why not?

This is probably a silly subject, but I was struck during my writing yesterday that I always associated the smell of dishwashing soap, flour, pie filling, all the things associated with keeping house with my mother. On laundry day, Mom smelled of detergent and fresh air from hanging clothes. Dad always smelled like grain and sweat. Not unpleasant. Just the smell of Dad. My sister informs me that since we only took a bath once a week and our clothes were not washed often and were few, we probably were smelly as were all the kids who lived as we did.

My childhood friend, Vivian, always wore Evening in Paris perfume (first formulated in 1929) that came in a pretty, little, blue bottle. It sells on ebay now under vintage. However, in 1992, Chanel (once more) reformulated it and now sell it as “the most popular fragrance in the world”. A small, blue bottle can be purchased for $39.

I don’t think I wore perfume until I was in high school. Then it was probably some Revlon or Max Factor brand. Boys coming into the picture made me want to smell better. In fact, with the advent of automatic washers and dryers and indoor plumbing, we all smelled a bit fresher.

Now I find that some fragrances make me feel ill. Some formulation is determined to tackle me as soon as I pass the perfume counter. All too often I fail to escape the attack of the lady standing there with a gigantic bottle of scent in her hand. I feel like a mosquito being stalked.

Finally a few years ago I found a fragrance that is me. Soft and sweet, it found me in a clothing store. Only one store in town carries it, and I treat each bottle with respect. It sits on my bathroom counter on a Spode plate along with a spray fragrance of lavender and one of vanilla for the girls. Last Wednesday after my granddaughters left, I went upstairs to the bathroom immediately drawn by a familiar scent. Gabby had evidently decided to try my fragrance along with enriching the bathroom with the same scent. How could I be angry? I once smelled a bottle of Channel No. 5.

I wonder if Vivian has any old blue bottles. Maybe I should tell her about ebay…….

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