Thick, crooked cat’s eye glasses sitting askew on a pale powdered nose.
Tangerine hard-sided suitcases, three of them at every visit. One with solid, functional clothes hiding slippery underthings in all the colors of Easter Sunday. One with toiletries, spare shoes. One with every kind of candy my brother and I loved best.
Heavy functional shoes in size eleven with slender ankles rising above them, stretching into long legs always, always in a below-the-knee skirt.
Never napping, always “just resting my eyes”.
Wrinkled, spotted ivory fingers proudly holding out pictures of bus tours to Maine, whale watching, puffin sightings, chocolate factory visits. Little lady friends with smeared smiles grouped together, waving.
A little apartment littered with decades’ worth salt and pepper shakers and elephants with their trunks up for luck. Strings on the switches, phones in most rooms, rails in the bath. A kitchen only used to serve ice cream or frozen dinners.
Stories of teaching in a one room schoolhouse in Vermont, a young widow, but still strong. A mother, determined, independent, willing.
Adventurous, feisty, funny, impatient.
I stood in the late summer sun as memories of my Nana swam through my mind, my heart, carried by the blooms of lilac that caught me off guard. I didn’t see them, but their sharp scent yet again stopped me in my tracks. I felt it sink into my bare shoulders, tickle my lightly freckled nose, linger in my hair as I stood there, eyes closed, relishing the remembrance.
Her favorite flower, her perfume, a color she worked into every aspect of her life simply because it brought her joy.
As she did for me, more than she ever knew.
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This post was written for The Red Dress Club Memoir writing prompt.
The prompt went like this:
This week, your memoir prompt assignment is to think of a sound or a smell the reminds you of something from your past and write a post about that memory.
My mom’s mom was my Nana. She died when I was 18, and I don’t know whether she ever got how important she was to me. She was a woman to be admired, and I think I am more like her than anyone else in my family. The smell of lilacs every time makes me feel like she is hugging me.
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