Do fragrances ever evoke memories for you? Our sense of smell is in close proximity to our memories in the brain. For me, certain floral perfume smells remind me of the beautiful and fragrant flowers growing in my Great-Grandmother’s garden when I was a kid. I am a “California girl living in Texas,” having moved to Texas over 20 years ago, and oh, how I miss my home state. If I could live anywhere, I would probably move back to California near the coast.
My mother grew up in Pacific Grove. My grandmother taught at the elementary school for years. My great-grandmother had a little house there with a big garden. I think that is where my love of gardening and growing flowers and looking at things bloom and thrive comes from. It seemed like my great-grandmother could grow anything IN anything. I remember succulents growing in old shoes and frying pans! She grew succulents way before it became trendy and cool.
She was still tending her garden, even into her 90s, when she passed in 1974. And in the winter of 1975, an article was written in the San Jose Mercury News California Today section called “Moods in Haiku” by Peter DiVenere. He took several wonderful pictures of my great-grandmother’s garden and her tending to it, and wrote the following haiku:
Gold long forgotten
Beauty and riches remain
Flowers everywhere | In the garden a painting | California poppies
Wild upon the hills | As in days long gone today’s | Poppies embrace you
The garden path ends | She gathers blossoms with her smile | Autumn of the year
Thorny thistles thrives | Old post reflects all past glory | Purple beacon shines
The tale of Genji | The charm of his disposition | Lady Murasaki
By the garden fence | Purple clusters feel the breeze | Safe from the mower
Pink blossoms aglow | Anticipating stories of | Far flown places
Hanging from a branch | Fuchsias are doing nothing | On a summer day
Tiny little fuchsias | Dangling from tender branches | Just before the dawn
I would love to go back to Pacific Grove to see where my grandmother’s house was, to see if the old brick wall surrounding it still stands. And to go to my great-grandmother’s house to see if any of the flowers remain. While I know her garden is long-gone as the lot was sold to build another house on after she passed, I can only hope some of the golden poppies, purple daisies, or fuchsias that she tended to still remain.
In so many ways I am like my great grandmother. We were both only 5’4″ in a family of tall people. My mom now thinks her grandmother also suffered from fibromyalgia. It would be interesting to find some genetic link to this condition.
Oh, how I wish we had kept that property and still had my great grandmother’s beautiful garden…oh the memories that can be stirred up from a scent of a flower or of a perfume…
Do perfumes or smells bring back memories for you?