The Scent of Shalimar
My mother wore the perfume Shalimar. The bottle, with a crystal, triangular top a red label and round flat shape stood on her dressing table. When she wasn't home I would sneak into her bedroom, carefully lift the top and dab on a little perfume, some behind my ears, always using the top, as I had seen her do. I replaced the top and would quietly leave the bedroom. It seemed as if I were doing something forbidden and dangerous.
Last year I read that Shalimar was being re-issued and I had the idea of buying a bottle to evoke those memories of my mother. With much anticipation, I walked into Nordstroms, and asked to have a whiff of Shalimar. It was not the same. They spray scents on little white cards to sample. I asked for another. No, not the one I remembered and not even one I liked. I was so sure I could buy a bottle and reenact that long-ago scene and bring back my mother in this small way. But it was not to be. I later learned that the formula had been changed.
Perfume is magic to me. It's romantic, evocative and makes me feel feminine, glamorous and younger. A friend who just came back from Paris said one of her favorite memories was all those wonderful scents in the air, especially in the shops, where French women congregate. My oldest son gives me perfume for my birthday. He chooses the scent and it is always one I like. I am so flattered that the gift is not something useful.
To all the mothers and grand mothers in my life, I wish you a Happy Mother's Day: my step-daughter; my two daughters-in-law; my friends many of whom are grand mothers now; and all those mothers who I don't know and who may read this. What you do everyday for your children and other children is priceless.
Is there a scent that you associate with a time, a place a person?