LOUISE: Making Memories

Written by Louise Tucker Jones in the June 2014 Issue

Yesterday, I ran out of cleansing cream. Not a major problem except that I was out of town and had no idea where to find a Mary Kay consultant so I ran to Walgreens and grabbed a jar of Pond’s Cold Cream. Wow, how long since I used cold cream? I wonder how a facial cleanser got such a name. When I opened the jar and spread the cream on my face, my senses were immediately assaulted by its fragrance. Suddenly, I was ten years old and my grandmother was tucking me into bed at her house. I could smell her sweet aroma as she kissed me goodnight. 

Young GirlEvery summer when I was growing up, my brother Jimmy and I would spend a week with our grandparents in Quinton, Oklahoma, where we roamed the small town streets and played with neighborhood children till dark. And every afternoon, Granddad would grab his hat and say, “Come on, children. Let’s go get the mail.” Jimmy and I trailed along behind him and marveled at the little glass boxes with dials at the post office. So unlike our rural mailbox along a dirt road. Granddad would introduce us to his friends playing dominoes and checkers at nearby tables. “These are my grandchildren,” he proudly announced, making us feel extra special.

Then we would trot up the street a ways to get double-dip ice cream cones. Not what you see today where one dip is stacked on the other. No, these double cones had a place for each dip. When Grandmama was with us, we would also go to the dry goods store where we always came away with something new to wear. One of my favorites was a pair of yellow sandals for my usually bare feet in the summer.

And I absolutely loved my grandparents’ big yellow house on the corner with its indoor bathroom and kitchen sink—things we didn’t have in our little farmhouse. In fact, they had three kitchens since they often rented furnished rooms to boarders. A great place to play hide and seek when they were empty. Most days, Grandmama would quilt or sew and I often rummaged through her jewelry, trying on bracelets, rings and such. On Sunday, she would choose a necklace and earbobs to wear to church with her stylish suit and matching hat. Granddad was tall and handsome in his jacket, tie and dress fedora. He was a gentleman. She was a lady. I felt like a princess.

But I think some of our best times were just sitting on the cool, screened-in back porch with Granddad, waving to neighbors as they walked by, or shelling peas and snapping beans on the side porch with Grandmama, vegetables she gathered in her apron from the garden. It was a simple life but I felt treasured and cherished.

 These recollections make me wonder what actions or smells will trigger sweet memories in my own grandkids when they are grown. Will it be the chocolate chip cookies we usually bake together? Could it be the hugs and kisses we share? Maybe it will be the books we read or the fun they have running through the trees and bushes when they visit my home. Perhaps Alex will remember that Grammi-Lou taught her to sew and Axton might recall bouncing on my bed. And who knows, since my reason for being out of town is to visit these precious grandchildren, those future memories just might be triggered by the smell of cold cream! 


Bruce Henderson Says:
June 4th, 2014 at 10:09 pm
That is a lovely story...you have such good memories of your childhood...That is so wonderful.

Deborah Hatt Says:
June 9th, 2014 at 7:57 am
What a delightful recollection of loving grandparents! Our memories make up about 95% of who, and what, we are, and it is wise for us to occasionally ponder what kind of memories we ourselves are trailing behind us, for our children and grandchildren. Thank you, Louise, for the soft,warm images of your grandparents - a legacy you have left for all your readers!

Karen Acton Isaacson Says:
June 25th, 2014 at 8:27 pm
What a wonderful legacy your grandparents left for you. Perhaps your grandchildren will remember lots of nice things about their time with you...including your beautiful foxes.

Jackie Pearson Pickinpaugh Says:
June 25th, 2014 at 10:39 pm
Oh yes Louise, what a powerful vehicle for memories is our sense of smell. Like you, I too wonder if my grandchildren will one day smell a pleasant fragrance and find themselves transported to Grammyland. I certainly pray that is the case.

Linda Kaler-Lloyd Kaler Says:
June 26th, 2014 at 8:53 am
Oh, I loved this!!! I haven't heard "earbobs" in decades!!!!!!! I grew up at Salem, a small community SE of the big town of Henryetta, OK!!!!! Sounds like you and I had a similar life!!!! I wish I could go back--and be more appreciative!!!!!!
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