Julie Lyles Carr: Monday Musings...Aroma Memory

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Musings...Aroma Memory

perfume1Childhood smells of perfume and brownies.
David Leavitt

Estee Lauder Youth Dew perfume.

The scent of my childhood.

Because that's what my mother always wore.

Even now I can conjure the fragrance of it in my memory, the lingering bouquet on my mother's skin as I would sit next to her during church. She only wore a spritz of it, never heavily sprayed, but that little hint of fragrance would cling to her coat, her robe, her side of the closet. The amber colored bottle, with its little gold metal bow would sit on her vanity, ready to quietly wrap an aura of clove and rose around my mother's Sunday best or Teacher/Parent Conference dress pants and blouse.

Ah, Youth Dew.

Back in the old over-the-top '80's, I wore Opium and its drugstore knockoff step-sister scent, Ninja. I would practically dip my clothes in the stuff, certain that a well-dressed person would never appear in public without trailing a signature scent. How my date for the evening would manage to sit next to me in the car without going into anaphylactic shock is beyond me; perhaps his own thick coating of Polo cologne helped buffer my perfume onslaught.

But those perfumes and aftershaves and colognes do linger in the memory, don't they? Those little reminders of a person's dressing routine, the combination of florals and fruits which tell us how someone sees themselves in scent. Another layer of self-revelation, an olfactory oracle of soul.


Fashions change, trends morph. Today's hypoallergenic sensibilities tend away from the heavily perfumed. Light body sprays and scented lotions are the modern sachet. But those classic standbys still conjure strong recollection.

Youth Dew; my mother. Wind Song; my grandmother. Aramis; my father. A slight tickle to my nose and I am six years old again, still young enough to press my nose into the flesh of each of their necks and breath them in. It never occurred to me at that age that those colognes could be purchased and worn by other people. To me, those aromas were associated solely to my loved ones.

And those monopolized essences linger still in redolence reflection.

So what perfume brings memory to mind for you? What cut-crystal bottles on the vanity of your childhood recall times, places, events? Haul those scent scrapbooks off the back shelf and share your scented recollections here, either by writing your own post on this topic and putting the url of your post and your name in the Mister Linky's box below or by simply leaving a comment. Tell me what perfumes your world!

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