Shared Moments: Day 53 written by Maureen Kershaw

Dear all,

Day 53 – Today I am remembering perfumes of yesteryear and I hope you will too? My earliest recollection was “Soir de Paris” in its distinctive blue bottle which sat on my Mum’s dressing table for many a year, to be replaced by Goya “Gardenia” or “Black Rose”. I think Mums only wore ‘scent’ for special occasions and I suppose an obvious choice for Grandmas was lavender.

I only ever remember neighbours or aunts smelling, if at all, of soap or talcum powder. The soap was sometimes carbolic from household chores but who cannot forget the aroma of mothballs, a staple of many a wardrobe? My sister’s first perfume was “California Poppy” before progressing to Yardley’s “Bond Street”. The one which is prominent in my mind though was “Je Reviens” by Worth.Barbara had a silver charm bracelet, one of the charms opening to insert a tiny ball of cotton wool soaked in “Je Reviens”. I borrowed the bracelet in 1973 – and lost it. I daren’t tell her and some years later when we tried “Je Reviens” – by then half price and I’m not surprised why – my sister remembered the charm bracelet but couldn’t recall what had happened to it? I agreed – and changed the subject, but still feel guilty now.

When I started work in 1964 Avon fragrances were very popular. The heady “Topaze”, musky “Persian Wood”, the delicate “Here’s My Heart” and “Wishing”, all in their individually coloured jars. Those cream sachets had the strongest fragrance so were my choice. “Moonwind”, “Occur!” and my all-time favourite “Elegance”. Whilst learning to operate a PMBX corded switchboard the telephonist wore Revlon “Intimate” which I thought was the height of sophistication.

Years later a friend’s choice was Revlon “Moondrops” which could trigger a migraine without much effort – in the same category as Coty “L’aimont” or Yardley “Freesia” (my Mum’s favourite so I had plenty of migraines). I cannot always remember someone’s name from long ago as clearly as their perfumes. “Gingham” by Innoxa and lived in Drighlington or ? from Hull and always bought “Cabochard” duty free.

Jill I do remember though as a wearer of Estee Lauder “Youth Dew” – my that was strong. We would meet for lunch at The Milkmaid on Commercial Street and we laughed at our regular waitress who jotted down “Youth Dew” rather than the table number for where they deliver the 2 x Rarebits. Elizabeth Arden’s “Blue Grass” was consistently worn by Janet – as featured in Day 48 – she of spots and buying shoes at Dolcis. At an interview in 1974 I was asked by my Boss-to-be, if I liked “Tweed”? I said “yes” to which he replied “well don’t ever wear it here, I hate it!” I got the job and never wore it again……….to be continued……….

Such detail Maureen, your words bring back so many memories and smells back to life. Thank you, until next time…..

Take care