Scents Brought Memories Back From My Childhood
I sat at my Mother’s makeup table. I was alone in her room. I flicked on the light switch and the circa 1960s hard white light round, bulbs were illuminated. Well, most of the bulbs were bright, some of the bulbs need to be replaced. Suddenly, I was engulfed in familiar smells from my childhood. Scent is a big trigger for memories. I sobbed. The smells of my Mom’s lipsticks and eye and lip pencils were all bringing back vivid memories from when I was little. I remember my Mom sitting at her makeup table every morning and doing things to her face that Vogue models do before a photoshoot. Back then, my mom was younger than half of my current age today. I didn’t see us get older.
Like a Child, but as an Adult, I Went Through My Mom’s Things
Like I did when I was as a little girl, I opened the makeup table’s main drawer. I marveled at the treasures inside. There were organized containers overflowing with products. The best of the best name brands were tucked in this drawer: Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and some other moderately priced names. I remember being with her at high end cosmetic counters and department stores buying these products when I was younger. And, sometimes, we would go out to lunch after a she bought her makeup and nailpolishes. I even remember one place she shopped, there was a line of pay telephones each enclosed with a glass door for privacy and a seat for comfort. Sometimes, when I was finishing lunch, she would make a business call from one of the telephone booths. When I was older, maybe 17 or 18, I occasionally shopped at the same makeup counters. The makeup artists knew me because I was there as a kid with my mom, but it was too expensive of a luxury for me during high school and college.
Truth be told, while I was in her makeup table last night, I did put on a lipstick, just like when I was younger. I was surprised to see a gold tone shade, which is in the family of color tones that I wear. By opening this drawer, memories emerged and I time traveled back by four decades. So long ago, my mom wore bright reds and fuchsia pinks. But, there was a modern color from today. A color quickly gave me a reflection of time. I measured time with a color.
Empathy and Hugs
I didn’t realize that I was crying. My daughter, Rachel, 11, came into the room. Rachel has been known to open products, smell them, and not return items as found. But not last night. Unlike me, Rachel did not partake in opening items. Instead, Rachel stood above me while I sat at the makeup table and she just hugged me. And, she hugged me for a long time. Just the night before, I hugged my own mom, and I hugged her for a long time. Rachel championed empathy. My mom is an empathetic person.
The Bright Light Went Dark
In my moment of hysteria, because I was unexpectedly flooded with memories, Rachel brought over pictures of me with my Mom from when we were much younger, way before the Brody Bunch phenomena. Rachel’s intentions were good. The pictures from old family occasions combined with the scents from the makeup took me way down memory lane. I could even remember the master bedroom where this table also stood in my childhood home. For a short moment to me, and a long moment for Rachel, I was a mess. Rachel’s comfort helped calm me down, and then, one of the 1960 hard white light round bulbs popped and went dark. I could no longer see my perfectly painted lips painted with my Mom’s lipstick.
Love, Memories and 3 Generations of My Family Sat at this Makeup Table
From this experience, I have a new love for this piece of furniture as there a connection from my mom to me and from me to my daughter. Now three generations of women in my family have seen their faces through the same mirror on this makeup table, both sad and happy. And, we are all beautiful.