My mother never wore perfume. Not in the fifty years or so that I shared with her did I ever smell a scent that came from a labeled bottle of any kind. My mother smelled of Camay and Ivory soaps, of Tide detergent and Palmolive dish cleaner. Those scents, combined with her own natural scent, made for the sweetest combination of fragrances ever, exceeded only by the smell of my own new born baby girls.
I can’t recall the first time I was really very much aware of my mother’s scent. It could have been the time I was sick and she wrapped me in the warm, light blue sweater, she wore all the time. It was soft and warm and comforting and the smell of my mother lulled me into sleep. I realized that no one smelled like my mother. Many people can associate their mothers with a certain store bought fragrance. My aunt wore Channel No. 5 all the time. But, there was no bottle of perfume that would ever capture the scent my mother wore. I would have to memorize it, because there was no way to recreate it. When she passed away, her magical scent would go with her.
My mother probably thought perfume was too expensive and a waste of money. Even if she liked a fragrance, she would never buy it. But, anytime I wore any type of perfume or eau de toilet, she would make a face and tell me how bad it smelled. She would even boast that she didn’t need perfume, she always smelled good…and she did.
As for make-up, I can remember about a half dozen times she wore it for very special occasions. Other than that, she never wore make-up. She really didn’t need it, her skin was always soft and youthful looking. People never thought she was as old as she was because she didn’t show her age. She aged gracefully. The mischievous gleam in her eye and her smile were infectious. Her bigger than life personality captured everyone’s attention and won over their hearts. She didn’t need perfume or make-up. She was 100% all natural.
It’s sad that I’ll never be able to smell my mom again. It sounds crazy maybe. Sometimes I can close my eyes and imagine hugging her and I will get the slightest memory of it. Unlike my mother, I have use different, lightly scented perfumes over the years. I have finally settled on French lavender scents. I use just a little. I want my girls to be able to have a scent to remember that they can associate with me. And if, after I’m gone, they forget the memory of what it was I smelled like, they can spray a little lavender in the air and remember and maybe even be comforted by it.