Friday, January 20, 2012


I recently ran out of my deodorant. I know - you are on pins and needles to see how this story turns out. lol I use this all natural stuff called Tom's of Maine (apparently they are more all natural up there) because I had been using Secret and it was, well, making my armpits red and itchy. Not pleasant at all.

Because it doesn't take much to make me happy, I was thrilled that packaged along with my new Tom's of Maine deodorant was a small bar of all natural soap. This was particularly serendipitous because my soap was at that sliver stage - you don't want to throw it away but it's difficult to use because it's so small and fragile. So - happiness all around!

That night, before I took my shower, I got that small bar of soap out. I took a deep whiff and was instantly transported back to my grandparent's house - way back before she came to live with us. Since my Grandpa died when I was five years old, these were memories from my toddler and preschool years.

Isn't it interesting how smells can bring back such clear memories. Like most people, I tend to rely on my senses of sight and hearing, but the sense of smell is very visceral. It can conjure up the past like a movie projector sometimes. That was the case with this tiny bar of Tom's of Maine soap.

The soap had the same scent that my Granny's long ago soap had - I have no idea what kind of soap that was - maybe Dial?? I remember a gleaming bathroom with my Grandfather's shaving mug on the lip of the sink. I remember big, fluffy white towels with gold edging that seemed the height of luxury to me.

Wandering out of the bathroom, I remember the kitchen with it's bottle green carpet in squares with the black and gold design in it. I remember the wood door with it's multiple panes of glass that led to the backyard - the wood was always gleaming and golden in my memory. For some reason, I'm sure it is just my imagination supplying this detail, there always seem to be squirrels or rabbits in view from it's windows.

I remember their den with its olive green leather couch and big plaid recliner - the small tv that sat on a tv stand and the funky floor lamp.

Mostly I remember the feelings I had at my grandparents house - joyful and safe and loved. My Grandfather and I had a special bond. I adored him and I believe the feeling was mutual. My mom and Granny went to have their hair done every week at Zena's. While the multi-colored peppermints on the coffee table were of interest, mostly I didn't want to go because it was bbooorrriinnnggg to my younger self. My Grandpa would often let me stay with him instead. "Saved you again, Roscoe," he'd say with that big laugh he had.

He had a big garden at the back of his yard, and I believe my love of plants and the desire to have my own patch of plants comes from those early days of walking with him up and down the rows.

He always had a smile for me, and he was just fun. I remember my Granny was always bustling around - busy making homemade chicken soup or her to-die-for spaghetti sauce. Even after she came to live with us, she was always busy working - ironing, washing - she was a woman who worked hard. But my Grandpa always had time for some fun or games.

Both of them are gone now. My Grandpa died the spring after I turned five years old. It took me a whole year to really, truly believe he wasn't coming back. I remember being in first grade and sobbing into my pillow one night when it truly hit home that he was gone for good.

My Granny passed away in 2007 which is five years ago already. It was in March and the rest of that month is a blur in my mind. She had been a part of my life forever, and it was hard to know she wasn't there anymore. But, at almost 95 years old, she was ready to go home. I like to think of them in heaven together again. My Granny was a somewhat serious woman, but I remember my Grandpa always being able to coax a smile out of her and get her to put aside her work for a moment of play.

Memories spring up from the strangest things. Revisiting my grandparents home was an unexpected blessing and it all came from a Tom's from Maine miniature bar of soap. Who knew?

~ Blessings, Bronte

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