I don’t know why, but for some reason my long-passed Aunt Audrey, and the cobalt blue bottle of cologne I had bought her for her birthday just popped into my mind! Soon after, my daydream got the best of me, and I got busy and ordered this antique memory from eBay.
When I was three years old I called my aunt, Aunt Auddy. She was one of my favorite aunts. I fondly remember living with her during World War II. My dad was in the Navy stationed in Hawaii. My mother, little sister, and I were homeless at the time and floated from one relatives’ house to another until the war was over, probably not a fun experience for my mom, but quite interesting for me.
I only recall bits and pieces of those trying times, but one of my most vivid memories are of my Aunt Audrey who lived in a small two bedroom walk-up apartment facing a busy street. My most favorite time with her was when she would let me sit with her at a cherrywood vanity while she applied her make-up before work at the local glass factory. I clearly remember how proud I would be when this sweet, loving lady would powder my nose with a smidgen of fragrant peach powder from a beautiful gold compact. Sometimes she’d even dab a bit of cologne on my wrists. I loved those days with her in Lancaster, Ohio. I loved Aunt Audrey’s special attention during those perplexing times, especially for a child without a home. Her thoughtfulness went a long way to help me feel happier and more secure.
Fast-forward about five years and I am eight years old and in the third grade. My family numbered six people by now (mom, dad, and we four girls). We lived less than a mile from my aunt who remarkably still lived in the same walk-up apartment. I would ride my bike to her house for a visit whenever mom said it was okay. It was like going home, because not much had changed at all since I was little. I would stop-in and see her sometimes on my way home from school as it was on the same road I walked every day going home. She seemed to like seeing me. Another thing I did a lot on the way home was frequent a little variety store that sold everything under the sun! I bought my share of candy, little toys, and trinkets at this shop and enjoyed every penny of it. One day I stopped in the store to buy my aunt a birthday present. That morning I had overheard my mom talking about her birthday, so I gathered up all the money I had saved and decided to surprise my aunt with a gift. Later after school was out, I headed towards the variety store. I knew exactly what I was going to get my dear aunt and made a beeline for the cosmetic aisle to buy a small blue bottle of Evening in Paris cologne. I remember specifically the day I gave it to her, my sister and I sat on the floor at her feet and watched her eyes light-up as she unwrapped her present. She told us she loved the scent, and eventually took the cologne to her bedroom and placed it gently on her vanity alongside all the other perfumes she used. This was such a great day. No wonder I remember it so well.
Recently, I spoke with my second cousin Vicki who was my Aunt Audrey’s granddaughter. She added a fascinating new part to my story. Interestingly enough, the pretty vanity dresser where Aunt Audrey powdered her nose and mine, still exists as well the entire bedroom suite. It lives on today in the home of Vicki’s sister Brenda, another second cousin of mine. Another pleasant surprise to hear was-the popular cologne Evening in Paris remained my aunt’s favorite fragrance to the end of her life, Brenda said.
Imagine my surprise when my package arrived from eBay a few days ago and the return address sticker read Lancaster, Ohio; The same little town where I was born and lived until I was 12 years old. The same town my Aunt Audrey lived in until her death many years ago. I will never forget her and I don’t think she has forgotten me either.