Friday, June 11, 2010

Of Perfume and Flowers

Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.  ~Heinrich Heine
A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting. Christian Dior
God loved the flowers and invented soil. Man loved the flowers and invented vases.

 A couple of things happened in the last year of James' life that I thought were significant, though I didn't know the meaning of them at the time.

One is flowers.  If you remember that James picked me a bouquet of flowers out of other people's yards while he was courting me.  But generally he didn't see flowers--I would have to point them out..."Oh see how nice the flower bed looks."  His gifts of flowers were always a surprise because they were sporadic.  I remember once we had a horrible fight on Valentine's Day and James stormed out and stayed gone for a couple of days.  That afternoon, the florist delivered a dozen roses--he had ordered them that morning before our fight.  He did not sign the card, so I spent the evening trying to figure out who the heck sent me flowers!  The interesting thing that happened was about 8 months before James died, he was at the clinic for a doctor's appointment and he saw flowers growing in the beds around the building.   He was struck by their beauty so wheeled over and picked  some to bring home to me; he actually saw flowers.  It reminded me of the first bouquet.

The other thing was perfume.  James rarely bought me any since he had trouble remembering what kind I used.  I'd remind him that it was Chantilly, but it would slip from his mind when he thought about buying any for me.  I bought the fragrance myself or my late sister gave it to me as gifts.  James  hadn't bought any perfume for me for years and after he got sick, James' memory wasn't the best.  He disliked shopping for gifts, so he just gave me cash to get what I wanted.  That last Christmas he surprised me, though, by giving me a gift he bought himself.  On Christmas Eve I was stunned to unwrap a bottle of Chantilly.  I wondered then, if this was a message of some kind, and it comforts me to remember that bottle of perfume.


  1. Lovely and very real memories. Thanks, again, for sharing them with us.


  2. Maxie,
    Your life with James, as you've told it here, ought to be in the Smithsonian or the Library of Congress or wherever they save pieces of Americana. I've been engrossed in it, reading every word with relish and anticipation and total involvement. Every time I scroll down, I'm hoping there's more. This is a great piece of writing, which is not to say it wouldn't make great oral history. I'm babbling here, but it's just that this is really engaging stuff, wonderfully told and I can't thank you enough for sharing it.

  3. Very touching memories; beautifully written piece...