Sunday, May 13, 2012


In the wooden cupboard next to my bathroom sink sits a small collection of perfumeries, carefully selected out of sentimental affection.  There is Chanel #5.  David’s mother wore that on our wedding day.  I remember, after Dave’s dad passed away, cleaning off his bedroom dresser.  Mom Connors had died suddenly and tragically in a car accident over a decade before.  There on his tall dresser was a dusty pile of change, an old watch, and a bottle of Chanel #5.

My own mother, when she had dried her tears, straightened her shoulders and moved forward after my dad left, bought herself a bottle of Norrell perfume.  I remember lying on her big comfy bed watching her dress for her long work day.  She had such a great sense of style, all the way down to her bra. I’d watch her lightly spritz her perfume behind her ears, under her arms, with one final spray on her fleshy forearm.  She ended by rubbing her two inner arms together.  I lay on her bed watching her, inhaling the subtle sweetness.
There are other women in my life who have particular scents.  Nothing overpowering.  The kind of scent you unconsciously recognize when you hug someone.  If I were to lose my sight I am grateful to know those aromas.

Today I stood at my bathroom sink and one by one added scents to various places on my skin, remembering these women I adore, thanking our Maker for putting them in my life. Beginning with good plain soap, in honor of those who don't care for fragrances. I know, you think it would smell just awful, like you’d just walked through the fragrance aisle at Kaufmann’s.  But it is surprisingly good, like that room in the massive greenhouse where all the flowers are in bloom.  

If I am especially fragrant today it is only because I am especially grateful.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women in my life.


  1. I am still struggling to catch up - without spoiling it by cramming too much in my mouth at a time. I will tell you that my mom had a bottle of channel no. 5 on her dresser all my life long. It was golden, as so many of these are, and it had a tag on it with a wax seal. I think she might have worn it now and then, but we were always a fairly plain family, and mostly, I remember my mom smelling of the onions she'd cut up for stew - her hands strong and clean, and that slight, sharp, wonderful smell of onion.

    She kept that bottle and several others on a little mirror, filagreed-sided tray on her dresser. I'm sure it's gone now. My father is keeping nothing. He wouldn't have known how much the sight of those bottles would bring back to me of my childhood - and the mystery that was my mother. Funny, it would be the sight of that tray and its bottles rather than the scent that could move me.

  2. Mom wore Estee Lauder, English Lavender & Beautiful. Today I have really missed her. Thank you for another beautiful memory. BTW, I think (know) I snuck some of ur Mom's Norrell!!

  3. My own mother wore Channel #5 also! Haven't thought of that for years. Thanks for the sensory stroll down Memory Lane. My children will always remember the Carmex kiss they got from their Daddy each morning before he left for work. Mmmmm - such sweet memories!

  4. The smell of bread baking will always remind me of my Gramma Light, the smell of cigar smoke will always remind me of my Grampa Roy - and what can compare to the smell of the hair on an infant's tiny head? But why, oh why must brownies have to smell so good!!!!!!?????!!!!!