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"Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

"Where Did I Leave My Glasses?"
by Martha Weinman Lear

August 3, 2008

Take a Deep Breath

Smells are closely connected to our memory. When you smell buttered popcorn you may think about the movies, maybe even a particular occasion. The smell of flowers may remind you of a special event. Humans have about seven categories of smells:

Camphoris – mothballs
Musky – perfume or aftershave
Roses – floral
Pepperminty – mint gum
Etheral – dry cleaning fluid
Pungent - vinegar
Putrid – rotten eggs
I always laughed when Terri and Carol would say that when Eunice was ill, her breath smelled like mothballs.

There are certain smells that conjure up memories for me. I don’t focus on the ones like rotten eggs. The smell of lilacs reminds me of spring in Billings and Mother and the smell of particular cologne reminds me of Ned. Don’t you love walking past a bakery and smelling the aroma of fresh baked bread? When Mmmm and I were in Switzerland for the first time we stayed in a private home in a village called “St. Nicholas.” When we went into the room we were staying in, I said to Mmmm, “This smells like my Grandma’s house.” Mmmm loves the aroma of onions being sautéed. We each have smells that trigger memories.

One of my early memories is of sitting in the little rocker in the kitchen of the little house we lived in, holding a baby just bathed and dressed in a fresh kimono, as we called the little robes babies were dressed in. We didn’t have “onesies” or the kinds of clothes that are manufactured now. Mom had little flannel robes. The baby smelled like Cuticura soap. The fragrance of Cuticura Soap brings back that time and a wash of memories - warm, sweet, loving memories. It was one of the earliest brands of medicated soap. It was first sold commercially in 1865. I don’t know how Mom knew about it or if the older children were bathed in it but I know the younger children were. Now they say that children younger than six months should not be bathed in it. I am sure that is to prevent law suits. We were bathed in it and survived, very well, thank you.

My youngest sister bought me a bar some time ago but it has been used up so I tracked down a bar and bought it just for the smell. I have it sitting in the front bath so I can take a deep breath when I go in, and remember.

Cuticura Soap

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