"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Scent of Grandmothers

We are in high floral season here at our house and when I wander out to catch a whiff of what are now the tail end of the lilacs....I think of my Grandma Joyce. She is the only grandparent left that I can visit with in the flesh. One very special grandma who stocked lilac scented spray in her bathroom all through my childhood.

There's something very exciting and alluring about your grandma's bathroom when you're a little girl...all those jeweled lipstick cases, the fluffy towels and various hydrating lotions and curlers that were such mysteries from exotic lands. I always lingered and lingered  there in that land of forbidden treasures where I was alone behind a closed door. I admit to sometimes requiring parental retrieval in the bathrooms at all of my grandma's houses.
Somehow, through their bathrooms, each of them imprinted themselves on my mind in the form of a scent. Whenever I smell lilacs I think of Grandma Joyce and smile, remembering the pretty painted design on the side of the oh-so-exotic room spray she faithfully stocked in her upstairs bathroom. I'm thinking of her often these days since the smell of lilacs is always on the wind and really looking forward to putting Baby into her wise arms for the first time this summer when we visit.
My artistic Grandma Sally is the oiled scent pressed out of geranium leaves. I climbed up on her bathroom counter and sat cross-legged, fondling tiny, little guest soaps, printed with geranium blossoms that she brought back home from her amazing visits to The Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island and kept against another day. In her sun room, a few steps below the kitchen, live geraniums were in near perpetual bloom, creeping along the windowsills in numerous colors and varieties no matter the time of year. I think about her every time my watering can brushes the leaves on my geranium as I make my rounds in my own sun room now, giving out plant drinks.

Great-grandma Grace lived in a farmhouse, out in front of the family vineyard where I was married. I was a very small girl when I first absorbed the hot pink smell of old rose in the little half-bath off her farm wife's kitchen. I am remember washing my hands an extra time or two just so that I would be sure to smell that dusty scent on my hands after I had dried them on her pretty little terrycloth towels. She was a little woman with translucent white waves in her hair, incredibly soft palms and a soft smile, always there, standing quietly in her kitchen....living forever in my memory in a misty cloud of eau de old rose. All June I'll think of her whenever the scent drifts down the sidewalk from a neighbor's garden.

No comments:

Post a Comment