Thursday, September 2, 2010

heritage

As a little girl growing up I’d lie in my bed, wide awake, staring at the glow in the dark stars scattered across the ceiling. Just 3 steps away, across the dark brown hall way, I could hear the shower water run. My mom was a night-time bather.

After 20 minutes, when the hot water would start to run cold, my mom would step out of the shower to finish getting dressed. It was only a matter of minutes before the soft scent of Estee Lauder Youth Due dusting powder would tip-toe across the hall, dancing into my room. I’d take a deep breath. Comfort was in the air.
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Unlike my mother, my grandmother didn’t shower, she bathed in a bath. Around 2:30am, while lying awake on the hard twin mattress across from my sister, I would hear the bath water run in the baby blue bathroom, right next door. The water so hot, within second the air would thicken and the temperature rise.

She’d lie in scolding hot bath until her tired, sore muscles were melted into submission. Once finished, I would hear the water being sucked down the slots of the silver drain, and in the same moment, I could smell the soft scent of Estee Lauder Youth Due dusting powder, ever so softly walking its way down the hall, and into my room. Deep breath. The smell of comfort.
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My alarm goes off every morning at 7:45am. Leaving my husband tightly tucked beneath the blankets, I rise to the sound of jack hammers and drills from the construction worker next door. I hear the busy people, frantic in their cars, honking their horn before the street light even turns green. Ahh, morning.

As I fight for hot water with the neighbor showering down stairs, the construction workers yells, “Jack, Jack, get the hell down here. Jesus, man, what the hell are you doing!?!” Ahh yes, morning.

And after I lose the battle and the hot water is gone, I step out of the shower, cold, tired, and somewhat shocked by the abrupt aggression that has verbally filled the air. I take two steps toward the door, reach for a teal box set atop the shelf, flip open the lid, pull out the duster, and breathe deep. Comfort.

9 comments:

Robin said...

What a lovely post, I love how scent can invoke memories. One whiff of Joy by Jean Patou and I am six, sitting on the top of the toilet seat cover watching my mom put on her makeup and get ready to go out with my dad....

Anonymous said...

Oh I have the same memories of Estee Lauder Youth Dew only this memory was from my sister. She would take a bath and use the Youth Dew milk bath. Oh what a fabulous fragrance...I would try to sneak into her room and steal of spray of the perfume. I was about 12 years old and could not wait until the day I could have my own collection of Youth Dew products. Sadly the Milk Bath is no longer made. Buying my Estee when I came of age was an event since it was exclusive to only one store in the city. To this day more than 40 years later I still only use Estee Lauder Youth Dew!!!
Thanks for taking me down memory lane!!!

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Shannon Grant said...

What a beautiful post! They say scent is the sense that is linked closest with memory and you illustrate that wonderfully. Also, it makes me want to go buy Youth Dew and breathe in some comfort!

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