Sometimes, when my sisters and I get together and have had a few glasses of wine, one of us will say something like “Hey, do you remember Furry Lewis? And the weird black spots on his nose? We sure had a lot of cats when we were growing up, didn’t we? Let’s see if we can remember all of their names!” At this point we are not counting or keeping track very well, and it usually goes nowhere and we have forgotten about it five minutes later.
If pressed to do that right now, I could name: Fritz, Leonard, Tibbytabby, Rosemary Kelly Denise, Bub, Chico, Chloe, Larry, Gypsy, Leroy Parnell, Simon Bisely, Dr. Bob, Furry Lewis, Tia Marie, Desdemona, Freddy Mercury, Clyde, Random, Mandy, Omar, Annie, Paddy, Georgie, Oliver, Bill, Ebby, feral garage kitty who later became Jenny Calendar, Ginger, Carrotcake, Abby who later became Hermione (actually I lied, I had to call my sister and ask who she could recall as well)
From the time I was 8 until right up until my mother passed away, she had no less than 5 or 6 cats in her house and for a good many years it was upwards on 20+. As a matter of fact, I believe the cat population was at it’s largest during my high school years. If I had any friends to speak of, I probably would have been embarrassed and ashamed to bring them into our smoky, cat infested, litter-box odor infused home, but as it stood, my humiliation stemmed more from the fact that when I left the house, I brought all of these horrid smells with me.
I was picked on mercilessly on the school bus for my cat-hair covered clothes and my own hair, which seemed to smell like cigarette smoke and the faint fragrance of feline no matter how often I washed it. Actually, the entire school bus experience was wretched for me anyhow, but that is a story for a different time, and not even really one I am comfortable telling because, well, racial stuff (I was the only white girl on a non-white bus). Most of these stories make my sister cry, so we’ll just forget about that.
As I grew older, I realized two things: I was never, ever going to start smoking – obviously because it’s bad for you, but mostly because I did not want a closet of clothes or an entire house or even/especially my person to smell like smoke. And two: AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WAS NEVER GOING TO SMELL BAD AGAIN.
You may have noticed by now that I seem to have a fascination bordering on obsession with perfumes and fragrances. You would not be wrong. Now you know why. True, I may have inherited a bit of a hoarding gene from my mother – though I prefer to think of myself as a collector – but mostly I cannot stand the thought that there are anything other than pleasant smells coming from my corner.
My mother also loved perfumes. When I was much younger, my mother’s mirrored vanity tray held a great deal of fascination for me, with its jumble of shimmering glass bottles filled with fragrant fluids. It was a constant and forbidden temptation -as I had been told, more than once, to leave it be. And more than once, caught in a paroxysm of longing and naughtiness from which there was no return, I would spray one scent, then the next, and then perhaps high from the vaporous cloud of aromatics floating round my head, would proceed to spritz myself with the remainder of those illicit essences. When later interrogated, I would have the audacity to assert that I had been playing quietly in some other part of the house the entire time.
And yet, when I survey my tiny scented kingdom I cannot locate one perfume that I think she would have loved (which were mostly funereal roses and heavy-handed chypres). It somewhat saddens me to say it, but those she wore the most have always been the scents I like the least.
There you have it. 800+ words on why I blame my problems on my mother*, but it’s al really just a thinly veiled excuse to share and show off photos of my current perfume collection.
Don’t thank me. Thank my mother.
And getting back to the names of all of those cats…well, I probably wouldn’t be able to name all of my perfumes if you ask me about them, either.
*When I think about it, the entire reason I created this little spot here at Unquiet Things is because of my mother. I originally meant for this to be an offshoot of Death Cafe Orlando, wherein I could post topical tidbits, updates on future events, write-ups of past events, etc. Unfortunately, I came to learn that the folks over at Death Cafe aren’t thrilled with people blogging using their name (which I really do understand, it just honestly hadn’t entered into my perhaps overenthusiastic thought processes at the time.) So, I turned it into a personal blog. I’ve been journaling online in some form or another for the past 15 years, ever since the days of Livejournal, so why not? But the overwhelming reason I think I decided to start hosting Death Cafe in the first place is because of my mother’s death back in 2013. So I suppose it just makes sense to air all of my grievances here, along with all of my other nonsense and ramblings.
While I don't often comment, I'm so appreciative of this blog of yours. And almost every post creates a new reason.
Whenever you post new photos of your collection of fragrances I'm struck by two things: how much I'd love sample the scent of each of them and how beautiful all the little bottles are. That each comes in its own unique vessel adds another wonderful level of appeal as a collection.
(I grew up in a house that always had at least two large dogs, four cats, and an assortment of smaller creatures. I was teased for my fur-covered clothing as well, but I wouldn't have traded those smelly, furry friends for the world.)
I know this smelly pain well. I grew up in a household with no less than 10 cats at any one time, both parents were smokers, as well as 2 or 3 dogs that were never bathed. Even though my parents didn't smoke in the trailer all of our laundry was washed together and all of us ended up smelling like a wet ashtray. I didn't fixate on fragrance though; I became slave to soap & cleanliness. Seeing it typed out like this makes it seem a lot less harmful, sad, and difficult to overcome than it was. :(
look at all of those beautiful bottles! if that's a type of hoarding then I am way into it, honestly. haha.
my parents both smoked in the house for years until the doctors finally got them to understand that it was causing my immune system to be weak, which caused me to have pneumonia, scarlet fever, and ear infections, constantly. they finally took their smoking outside, but I think they always resented me for it.