Cream And Cologne
The scent of Nivea cream brings back immediate memories of my young mother dipping her delicate fingers in the beautiful blue jar of white, fluffy cream. She would dab it on her face, while I, a young girl, looked on. My mom looked like a movie star to me as she blended the sweet-smelling cream on her cheeks and forehead and smiling face. The beautiful blue jar alone looked pretty and special and the lotion smelled like almonds and ocean and fresh air. It felt rich and luxurious, like heavy cream and velvet blended together. I grew up calling it Ni-vey-ah and of course, thought that was the name of it. It wasn’t until I saw a television commercial years ago that I realized it was pronounced Niv-ee-a.
I didn’t know, growing up, that my parents had European accents and that my sister and I were brought up with European manners, which was a big deal to our parents and apparently different from our American friends. We also repeated things that we heard from our parents as our friends giggled mercilessly; we didn’t know any other way. To this day I still mispronounce some words to the merriment of my own children who, of course, know everything better and correct me right away.
When I smell a man’s cologne (or shaving lotion as my dad called it), I think of my father, when he was alive, picking an after shave cologne from his collection of 13 different bottles that stood on a shelf like soldiers. Sometimes, he put on so much we said he smelled like a “perfume factory” which didn’t bother him one tiny bit. He was proud of his distinct, and different scents from all over the world. Even though he has been dead ten years, I still miss the smell of his cologne. It’s like the world is only one dimensional now, the scent of smell forgotten. Sometimes I will dab on an old cologne of my father’s on my wrists but it doesn’t smell the same. That smell, like everything else that made him my dad, was lost and buried years ago.