Sometimes inanimate objects, accessories like handbags or scarves, gain a scent patina through use which can't be rinsed by the passage of ever destructible time. They stand there to remind us of the people who have inhabited those objects like spirits inhabit an attic, ghosts of the past, memories etched in scent.
Scent can even get better on a handkerchief than on the body, but for a truly sensual experience there's nothing like a handkerchief that has been kept warm by a special someone's body and slowly diffused the fragrance they have used. I used to keep a scented scarf of my beloved when I was traveling tucked inside my lingerie, knowing the warmth when the items would be worn would rekindle the scent of him. Handbags are no less poignant, especially the old hard-structured kind, with its sturdy leather and soft silk interior. The saturation of the fabric brought its own smells: face powder, lipstick, perfume, flowers decaying, the metallic scent of loose change, paper and pen...Annick Goutal recreated that beloved impression in her room spray Le sac de ma mere.
Gloves have a noble history behind them. Apart from leather ones, nevertheless, those made out of wool, cotton or silk can also yield their own passionate stories. Ellen, one of my readers sent me the following story: Her now deceased mother used to tell her a story about her own mother, an impeccably dressed lady who used to wear white gloves when she went out.The grandmother went out to dinner at a restaurant which was frequented by older ladies. After she came home, she realized that she had left her gloves at the restaurant and asked her daughter to go and bring them back. She of course complied and asked the owner if a pair of white gloves had been found. He brought out a box in which there were literally a hundred pairs of white gloves and shrugged his shoulders. But undaunted, Ellen's mother picked up each pair of gloves and sniffed them. After about twenty pairs, she told the manager that she had found her dmother's gloves. He looked at her and asked her how she could be so sure, and she replied that the gloves smelled of April Violets, by Yardley, and that was the fragrance my grandmother always wore. She brought them home and my grandmother said that yes, they were in fact, her gloves.
What are your scented mementos? Do you have a story involving a fragranced object? Please feel free to share in the comments.