Sunday, August 11, 2013
Who is this handsome smiling lady, you may ask.
It's my grandmother, Rosetta Campbell. She looks like she's up to mischief, doesn't she? No surprises there!
Recently I found myself remembering a stack of little things about my grandmother who passed away at the age of 102 a couple of years ago. That was thanks to a workshop I did at a writing retreat outside Melbourne on the power of the senses.
One segment of the workshop was specifically about the power of scent. The girl running the workshop had brought along a stack of old perfume bottles and somehow the combination of smells shot me right back to my primary school self.
Gives you some idea of the power of fragrance, doesn't it? This was as if I'd been airlifted back to the late 1960s and early 1970s. I was my prepubescent self again (now, that's scary!). They say smell goes straight to the most primitive part of our brain - the bit that's still basically lizard. Clearly I am harboring a very fragrant gecko in my head!
These photos are bits and pieces from my current makeup drawer. What I really wanted as an illustration for this blog was a picture of those little purple pots of rouge that Coty used to make. I think my grandmother must have mainlined them. Not only that, she never threw any out, no matter how little rouge was left in them. So when I went through her cupboards at her big old wooden house looking for goodies for my dressing-up fetish, her old makeup came out in bundles.
She also never threw out a perfume bottle so the moment I caught the mixture of scents at this workshop, it was like she was still with me.
Between the rouge and the scarlet lips, I must have been the oddest-looking little girl in Australia but, hey, I was having fun.
I think cosmetics back in the day must have contained much more perfume. I certainly didn't get that overpowering miasma when I opened my bathroom drawers as I did when I found my gran's old stuff. On the other hand, were I to have a grand-daughter, she wouldn't get that immediate memory of my presence from a drift of scent.
By the way, a check of these photos indicates that Rosetta isn't the only one who keeps lipstick stubs!
Thank you for letting me wander down memory lane. Do you have any specific memories associated with smells? Have you ever found yourself completely transported back into your past by a fragrance?