Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Memories, like the corners of my mind......

Every time I smell this cream (well, not actually this one, the 70s/80s one that came in the green jar and was the colour of custard and crammed full of lanolin*) I’m reminded of my paternal Grandmother. One sniff and I’m transported back to playing with the crystal vanity set on her dressing table and sneakily trying the cream out when she wasn’t looking. My Mum had ordered some from Avon a few years ago and one sniff had me thinking my Grandmother was in the room. Which would have been scary, not because she’s been dead 5 years and ghosts are scary, but because my Grandmother was something of a cowbag (I know that any of you who knew her are now laughing at the monumental understatement that that was, but I was trying to be restrained!)

Anyway, enough of the Grandmonster, I had a point somewhere, what was it? Oh yes. Smell. For me my sense of smell is the biggest trigger for my memory. Just catching a whiff of something that’s strongly linked with my past can send huge waves of memory crashing over me. Take for instance the smell of Calvin Klein’s Obsession perfume, which takes me back to the first house my sister and numpty xBIL lived in when I was a teenager and would baby sit my nephew and raid my sister’s perfume stash (I’m noticing a beauty product filching theme running through this thread! LOL) while they were out.

Whenever I smell Davidoff’s Cool Water it reminds me of a guy that I went to college with, who both my BFF and I had a HUGE crush on (the only man we every argued over, and vowed never to do it again). Christian Dior’s Poison conjures up images of my sister coming in at 2am, waking me up by waggling her stinky, just-free-from-pixie-boots, nightclub-worn feet in my face and demanding that I pull off her skin tight pale blue denim jeans (which she had sewn herself into earlier in the evening – God bless the 80s!). Of course the smell of her feet reminds me of that as well, but I don’t like to think about that too much, because her feet really do whiff. Badly. (Sorry Jaqs, but your feet hum dude!)

Today was the first of a series of drop in sessions at Gracie’s new primary school (which she’s due to start in September). It was a chance to meet her teachers and take a look around the class room and school facilities (and most important for Gracie….. find out where the toilets are! She seems to have this obsession with knowing where the loos are – like they’re somehow not going to tell her and she won’t be able to pee all day. Kids, eh?). The school she’ll attend is the same primary school that I went to (I know, bizarre isn’t it?) and when we walked in there today, well, I’ll be damned if it didn’t smell EXACTLY the same as it did *cough* years ago when I went there. The layout has change a little and there’s a new outside space and new mod cons (white board etc) but other wise, exactly the same! As soon as we stepped into the class room I was overwhelmed by memories of my time there. Images of being chosen to paint snowmen on the classroom windows for a winter frieze, of sitting there when it was dark outside making a Father Christmas with movable arms and legs – colouring the pieces in with Berol coloured pens (the green ones with the coloured bit on the end to show you what colour the pen was). Memories of making calendars by sticking pasta twirls onto cardboard which were then spray painted either gold or silver (your choice – even then I chose silver) by the teacher, and more amusingly, me not knowing at that point in my life that pasta was a food stuff! (Hey, we were a strictly meat and two veg household when I was growing up. None of that “foreign rubbish” as my Dad would call it. I’m pleased to say he’s a little more worldly in his old age! LOL). Thoughts of playing in the play house, sitting on the carpet for story time and learning how to say the Our Father and Hail Mary (good Catholic school that it is) abounded. Grace of course was off playing with all her other playschool buddies without giving a backward glance. They got to play outside on the new reception class playground, did some painting and play dough and played in the play house (this week currently being a “Baby Clinic”). I don’t think it’s the same one I played it! At least I hope not, the hinges on that thing were a death trap even then (health and safety hazard!!!). She wanted to know when she could go back though, so I’ll take that as a good sign. Do you think they’ll all be quite so enthusiastic when they realise that they’ll actually have to do some work, and don’t just get to play out all the time? Maybe not.

Ahhhhh, school days. Seriously, if I’d known then what I know now I would have chained myself to the desk and refused to leave!

*rather bizarrely, that reminded me of Mrs Marmadaisy’s childhood dog, who had a huge lanolin fetish and if you put lanolin rich cream on your hands would race up to you and lick it all off. Bless her, she was such a sweetie. Strange that I remember that, but can’t for the life of me remember what her name was.



Marmadaisy said...

Candy! As soon as you wrote that, I was going to say "my dog used to love that stuff". Blurgh I hate to think of all the chemicals in it back then. Liz Earle would have a fit! Also, Dave Hillier wore Cool Water. Another fight over a man there I think. Sorry.

April said...

All kids have that fear of not knowing where the toilets are - C still has it.

Some vivid images of primary school there - even though we weren't at the same one I think they were all the same and I remember the Berol pens

Good luck to Gracie when she starts school

April xx

Mrs Moog said...

Ugh, Poison perfume - had a bottle of that once but not sure I ever used it all! You are obviously VERY young as I'm not sure pasta had been invented when I was at primary school!!!

Smells do it for me every time too. Moogsdad thinks I'm mad as his sense of smell is nonexistent!

Weird dog, Mrs Marmadaisy! Moog, fortunately, is not much of a licker. She's just an idiot.


Anonymous said...

Such a fab post. God i hate poison perfume. Smell is the same for me and the smell of school is a massive one. It has me wanting to hitch my skirt up and knot a tie the wrong way round all over again. have you read Perfume by Patrick Suskind. If you havent let me know and i will send you my copy to read. It is along this theme and is fab. just send your address. anyway you have been tagged by me, rules on my blog. Enjoy the weekend