Monday, April 4, 2011

Pink Poodles in a Garden of Honeysuckle

This week, your memoir prompt assignment is to think of a sound or a smell the reminds you of something from your past and write a post about that memory.  Don't forget to incorporate the sound/smell of your choosing!

"Mom, I don't feel good. Can I stay home from school today?" I was eleven years old, and a student in sixth grade.

Mom felt my forehead, looked into my eyes, and decided I was faking it. She had good reason to decide that, because I was a talented faker. And she knew I had P.E. that day and I HATED P.E. Off to school I went. 

I wasn't really faking.

I threw up on the bus. The speed at which all the kids around me made it to the front of the bus would have broken land speed records. The trash can I threw up into sat right on the heater vent and the smell of warm vomit started to fill the bus. But that isn't the smell I want to tell you about.

The school nurse called Mom, Mom picked me up and took me to Dr. Raven's office right away. It turns out that I had mononucleosis, tonsilitis, strep throat and pneumonia. It landed my skinny little 11-year-old butt in the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. My first stay in the hospital.  My fever rose so high I became delirous. Even now, over 35 years later, I can still recall the delirium dream featuring pink poodles.

When I was well enough to receive visitors, my favorite auntie, Tante Cine (short for Francine), came by to see me. She was an Avon lady; she was my own personal cheerleader and has been all of my life. She brought me Avon Honeysuckle hand cream.

My first grown-up lady stuff! Up to then, I was allowed to smell like either dirt or Ivory soap and that was it. The hand cream came in a little tub. I unscrewed the cap and smelled it. My first grown up cosmetic. It was damn near worth getting sick for.

She took a dab of the cream and smoothed into my stubby little tomboy hands. My nails were chewed, I had callouses from where I held the handlebars of my bike. Cuts and scrapes and nicks and all seemed better because my Tante Cine gave me honeysuckle scented hand cream.

Tanta sat with me for an hour or so and we talked about all those things that are so important to a pre-teen. Time for dinner, if you could call it that, approached and Auntie went home. The nurses were kind; they ooo-d and ahhhh-d generously at my new treasure. I talked them all into trying it, as if I were the one who had invented hand cream, and gushed about what a miracle this fragrant stuff was.

To this day, the smell of honeysuckles takes me back to a moment in my life when I felt cherished, cared for and so very grown up.

Always, feel free to comment! Trish in AZ