Friday, May 7, 2010

The Mommy Poll

There are some things we laugh about. Until they happen to us, that is...

So, amidst the hectic lives of mothers, are there scented memories you cherish? Please share them with us!


  1. My mother always wears Diorissimo. the smell of lily of the valley reminds me of her, and of the little patch of flowers that grew near the front door of the house where I grew up.

  2. I think I have my mother to blame for being a perfumoholic to begin with, since hardly any of my childhood memories do not include - her own fascination with perfume.

    I remember she had a fur coat hanging in her closet, that somehow trapped several of the perfumes she loved into one, potent Eau de Maman. I remember her love of Fidji - not the pallid imitation sold as such today, but that glorious aroma of carnation, galbanum, ylang ylang (forgive me if I'm wrong, I'm quoting from memory). I would sometimes just hide in her closet and right underneath her fur coat just to - breathe it in. That combination of scents was enough for me to long for the day when I would be grown-up enough to wear perfume - in my girlish mind, perfume was the epitome of all things - and all arts - womanly and sexy and somehow just - out of reach for a gawky girl like myself.

    I remember later, when she began to develop a taste for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche clothes in the late Seventies - and the Opium she wore with them.

    I remember when I turned fourteen, and her birthday present was a trip to Paris. In Paris, I was corrupted for life. She took me everywhere - flirting with Parisian boys in the métro, dining at Laperousse, discovering the delights of maquillage at the Galeries Lafayette. And above all else - the memories of scent, because she took me to the Guerlain store on the Champs Èlysées - because now, it was tome for that ultimate rite of passage - time for my first perfume. I was not told that only certain perfumes were suitable - although she did say that Guerlain was a better bet than Caron for a teenager! - but only to choose what I loved.

    I chose Jicky in parfum and eau de toilette, something that surprises me even today. Rather daring - for a 14-year old. She bought Mitsouko and Shalimar, and alternated them when the mood struck her.

    I recall a few years on, when she purchased a bottle of Caron's Narcisse Noir, and her larcenous proto-Goth punk-haired daughter promptly stole it.

    We didn't speak for a few months after that one.

    I remember both her daughters protesting over the purchase of Claude Montana's Parfum de Peau (thermonuclear strength stuff), and insisting she find something else that did not induce headaches and sneezes.

    So out she went again, and came home with what was to become her signature scent until the end - and even beyond.

    "Me in a bottle!" she proclaimed. And so it was - opulent, intoxicating, bottled divinity. It was Van Cleef & Arpel's "First" (by Jean Claude Ellena, as I recall), and once found, she never wore anything else.

    She died too soon of breast cancer, but her daughters respected her last wishes - to bury her with her two favorite things - a vintage 70s Rive Gauche evening gown in emerald green crepe - and a bottle of First.

    To this day, although I love that perfume dearly, I will never wear it. It was hers - and still is.

    I can sit here now and reminisce - and I'm eight years old again, hiding underneath a fur coat of Eau de Maman. I'm fourteen, and I can recall the wonder, the splendor that was Guerlain - such a place, devoted to perfume alone! My world was never quite the same after that trip to Paris.

    And above all else beside, I can remember that my mother - and perfume - were synonymous, and even today, still are.

    I unstopper the bottle, and there she is, conjured in a heavenly scent.

  3. Lauren18:32

    I remember my mom wearing Jean Nate and buying it in the huge splash bottles. I smelled it in the drugstore the other day and it was very different - not as fresh or bright. She also wore Muguet de Bois and many Avons including Hawaian Ginger in the cream form. I also remember some solids that were woody/spicy - I liked those, too, and would put way too much on. Now she loves Cashmere Mist, but doesn't wear it nearly often enough.

    Thanks for giving us this opportunity to think about good memories.

  4. In the early seventies, when I was a young girl, my mother wore Madame Rochas. I loved that scent and the way it smelled on her. Then she changed to Charlie, which I didn't like, and then to Loewe 2, that I liked very much, especially the bottle, but it's not made anymore.

    With the passing of time, her perfume taste has become "younger" and now she adore EL Pleasures, which I don't like. On the other hand, I use Chamade and Caleche, scents she finds to old lady....

  5. Scented memories sans perfume for me. Dad's garage with a car or two taken apart and the smell of various lubricants, gasoline and that filthy grease which is totally unwashable. Acetone from the car paint and that winter when I was around five and car parts being sprayed in what was later to become my parents' bedroom. They couldn't afford any furniture anyway so why not use the spare space for drying the paint.
    Exhaust fumes and hot tarmac on a July day, that would be holidays. 105 octanes, gasoline used for racing because it's teh ebil, the exhaust fumes stink like a special sort of hell... now that's exciting. And burning brakes. And that all
    Ironically, I can't drive.

  6. dissed14:53

    Excellent automotive sketch. I know those scents. Don't forget sweaty mechanic.

  7. Thanks everyone for your wonderful contributions. I somehow managed to bypass these until now. (had blogger issues, fixed now). My sincere apologies for keeping you waiting.

    Tarleisio, your post is not only evocative of specific moments but utterly transporting and touching. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing it with us! I'm sorry about your loss and I will always think of First as a token for a great mother from now on....


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