Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Scents of time

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Morning routine on autopilot - I opened the bottle of moisturizer and squirted a couple drops on my hands, rubbing my hands together, and then rubbed the cream onto my face. Oh. My. Goodness. I am immediately back in time, more than forty years ago, teenage me, in my grandmother's house. There we are, the two of us, in her bathroom and she is showing me how to put on makeup. Oil of Olay lotion is the first step, before foundation...I spent a couple weeks with her, the summer after my grandfather died...just the two of us, together, day in and day out.

Isn't it weird that a simple smell can take you back in time?

I have used this face lotion for years and years, because my grandmother recommended it, and because I'm a pretty simple person really - I just need a face lotion, and don't need to debate it much. Might as well use the lotion that my grandmother recommended years ago! 

I wondered, what was different this time? Why did I immediately think of Grammy, instead of staying in my early morning fog? I looked at the bottle - ah..."normal skin." I have for years and years been buying the "sensitive skin/fragrance free" version. I goofed and bought the normal skin version. 

There must be a perfume in the normal version.

What a fun mistake...I can see her, my Dad's mother...dressed impeccably, makeup on, hair beautifully styled and colored. I admired her energy, her self-care, her exercise and diet. She was meticulous about maintaining her weight, keeping the same size as when she was a teenager. I loved that she worked full-time, a saleswoman in a carpet store...so different than my own mother, who was mentally ill, and never had a job or hobby or outside interest.

She was SO different than my mother. 

This may be her greatest gift to me, allowing me to see another model of a woman - and therefore allowing me to imagine finding my own way, which, ultimately, has touches of both her and Mom, with sprinkles of unique thrown in. 

She tried so hard to 'feminize' me. 

That day, in her bathroom, she showed me blush, mascara, eye liner, lipstick, tweezers, nail polish...on and on, the lesson went. We talked and laughed and primped and posed in the mirror. 

She was so surprised that I wasn't "doing my face" every day, but that just wasn't my thing.

I wonder if Grammy would like 'old me'? 

I liked things plain and simple and still do. Back then, I loved wearing cut-off shorts and my brother's hand-me-down shirts; she tried to 'soften' me, suggesting dresses and skirts.

I still prefer pants and shorts.

I never wear lipstick.

I loved how much she loved me - her granddaughter. 


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  2. I love this so much. It's amazing how our olfactory nerves can offer such beautiful memories. May your grandmother's memory be eternal.

  3. I love the back and forth of time in this post. And yes, smells do bring back such wonderful memories and stories.

  4. My grandmother's Avon Rich Moisture cream always took me back to, like, age six ... now I am thinking of all the Avon products we used to use! What a poignant piece.