Shalimar. It was my mother’s favorite. Past tense. Because she got all weird about smells and they give her a migraine or something nowadays. But whenever I get a whiff of it, I am immediately reminded of an incident that occurred when I was four.
We lived on an Army salary. Which wasn’t much. Or so I’m told. My parents didn’t have many material items. They certainly didn’t blow their money on extravagant things. Except this one time. This extravagant thing was Shalimar.
My dad saved for months to be able to purchase a bottle of the real stuff for my mom. Real, honest to goodness perfume. Not cologne. Not toilet water. Perfume. It cost him a small fortune. And we didn’t eat anything but hot dogs and drank nothing but tap water for 2 months. Actually, I don’t think that’s true. But it makes for a better story, doesn’t it?
The love of my life was Mrs. Beasley. If you are above the age of 40, you know who I’m talking about. Buffy’s doll from “Family Affair.” I adored this doll. Adored her.
There is no better thrill than taking the top off a bottle of perfume and pouring it over your favorite doll. Every last drop. I promise. Best. Thrill. Ever. Boy, did Mrs. Beasley smell good. Just like my mom. My mom, on the other hand, was not happy. Which was odd, because I was quite certain she would be thrilled. Honored even.
My mom was 9 months pregnant with my youngest brother (according to the Army doctors of the day, she was eleven months along). She swears this incident threw her into labor. Looking back, I kind of did her a favor. I mean, come on. Eleven months pregnant? The kid would have had a full on beard if he waited any longer to come out.
And Mrs. Beasley? Two words: Garbage Dump. I was devastated. So, my mom couldn’t get the smell out. Why did she care? It was her favorite after all.