Whiff of Tabu stirs memories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It’s Tabu. No, this is not a column about “taboo” — some forbidden something. (Although I could probably come up with one.) Tabu is the perfume I sprayed on my body Saturday morning and the column is about the resulting stuff that went on in my head when I inhaled a fragrance from my youth.

It was an impulse buy. After Christmas this year when all of the smell good products went on sale for 75 percent off, I bought enough sweetness to last until next holiday season. I spotted the Tabu at the end of my buggy-filling extravaganza. It cost $2.50, so I decided what the heck.

The box sat unopened until the past weekend when the other bottle of whatever it was I bought on sale dried up beyond a squirt.

“Tabu,” I thought. “I loved that when I was younger.”

So, I gave myself a lavish spray and immediately I was not an almost 60-year-old woman standing in her bathroom. I was age 14 in my upstairs bedroom dripping in Tabu and dreaming of the exciting, probably taboo, things that lay ahead of me.

At that age, I was a big dreamer — perhaps the Victorian romances I checked out at the public library played a part in the content of those dreams. Oh, the things I imagined might be “some day.”

Tabu’s fragrance mingled with my moments lost in thought and speculation about my exciting future. How that particular perfume came to be in my possession I don’t exactly remember. I think I bought it at V.J. Elmore’s Dime Store with my baby-sitting money. I know in my barely-teenaged mind, it was a grown-up perfume to own.

At that age, I saw myself in some exciting, adventurous career. Maybe I‘d discover lost civilizations, unwinding buried stories while on an archeological dig. (I also read many James Mitchner books). Or, I might be a scientist, uncovering answers to unanswered questions. (I think this came from playing with the chemistry set I got for Christmas).

And of course, I’d find love, romance and be a wife and mother. That was a given in my dreaming because I so wanted children even when I was still a child myself.

As my grown self stood wrapped in the sweet smell of memories, I thought about a conversation I heard my granddaughters having in the car one day. The future was the topic and they had definite ideas about how their lives would play out.

They are not much younger than I was when I sat in my bedroom drenched in Tabu and thinking about where my life was going. I wondered if I was as sure of my direction as they seemed.

Of course, they were more specific, more detailed in their imaginings. I dreamed of some foggy place where I searched for relics. They, on the other hand, knew the cars they wanted to drive, the colleges they fancied and the jobs they hoped to land. I listened, smiling to myself and enjoying the energy of their excitement.

The Tabu overpowered the room as I looked in the mirror at the face smiling back at me. I wondered what might be my grandchildren’s Tabu. Would there be something that propelled them back to that day in the car talking about their plans? Maybe a whiff of the perfume they wore or perhaps hearing a song that played on the radio while they rode with me would remind them of those moments.

Where would life take them before they reached that remembering? And when it comes, will they find themselves as content with their lives as I am with mine? I hope the answer is yes.

As for me, I’m going to wear my Tabu, glorying in its sweetness until the bottle is bone dry, because my dreaming is not done.