webster note; The following item was submitted in response to a requests for items for Faye's Place


The 'Sense of Smell' and memories evoked
By Michal Millar Crowe

I can still remember the smell of my grandmother's face powder and was thrilled when she gave me a compact of my own during a visit to her house in the 1950's. Yardley's. I don't think I really used it much, just opened the lid to smell it - and her.

My first perfume was given to me by my father when he returned from a trip to England it was in a tall slender vase shaped emerald green bottle called 4711.  In retrospect, I do not think it was quite my style - as you know that perfume interacts differently with different people, but I certainly felt important to have my own bottle.

In those days my mother used to wear My Sin, which I believe is Chanel.I could never understand how she knew I had sneaked into her room for a dab.  Now I do - it was perfume as opposed to eau de toilette and of course it absolutely overwhelmed anyone who came near me.  I thought it smelled nice in the bottle but again it was not really for me.  But you know how it is, after a while you cannot really smell perfume on yourself. For many years she used to wear a cologne called Desert Flower which was very nice on her.  I kept her bottle after she died in 1982 but now of course it has turned and so I don't open the top any more I just look at the bottle sometimes.

By the time I was in high school I was starting to select a scent which was more me. JeRevien - French of course.  The eau de cologne came in a flat, blue bottle and I really liked it for a long time.  The perfume came in a tiny, slender square bottle with groves down the side looked sort of like a skyscraper - within a gray, velvet bag. As I collect perfume bottles I think I have one still.

Then I used Crepe de Chine, very pretty smell - it was yellow.

During high school, most guys wore some brand of shave lotion and it was great to smell that too.  I generally had my boy friend's hanky under my pillow saturated with the flavour of the day.  My husband doesn't wear shave lotion at all and somehow he smells just great without it. Pheromones, I guess.

Norma Rowsell used to wear Chanel No. 5 and I was so envious because she smelled absolutely divine and on me it smelled just awful. In fact, there are no Chanel perfumes which suit me.

It was great to be in the Riviera recently and see where there are so many flowers grown for the perfume industry.  They were harvesting violets shortly before I arrived. Visiting Grasse where there are perfume factories is so interesting and pleasant.  Mmmm so nice to smell. Of course now,  many perfumes are man made and do not use all the flowers in a natural way any more.

So over the years, styles and perfumes have changed and so have I.  Some which I have enjoyed are Charlie, Red Door, and Georgio. We won't even mention Poison. Wow, I just loved that one and wore it for a long time - made me feel like a real siren, but now find it too heavy.

Currently my favorites are Dolce and Gabana, Rock and Roses, and Magnifique. Depends on my mood which one I wear.

Vance doesn't mind which one I choose, he likes them all and always says how nice I smell, which is such a relief in this day and age when one is not allowed to wear perfume to so many places.

My daughter used to work at the perfume counter at Mills when she was in high school and when the sample bottles were finished she would bring them to me instead of throwing them away, so I have some very pretty bottles.  She wears Safari which suits her so well and comes in a gorgeous bottle which looks like crystal and has a silver stopper with brown leather on the top. Very Ralph Loren.

Well that was quite a trip down memory lane.  Just imagine the word Perfume triggered so many thoughts and scents which I have not thought about for years.

Thanks for the memories.

 Michal Millar Crowe, Class of 1960