Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How Jungle Gardenia Ruined My Mom's Car

I started off my affair with perfumes when I was about 11 and I found and loved "Evening In Paris" perfume.

It was sold at Woolworths and very reasonably priced, as well it should be. I thought it to be the height of glamor. It came in a little blue bottle and had a fragrance something like bubble gum mixed with a little cherry pop. Or maybe it smelled a little like the color "blue". Perfect!

Of course, at 11, I was still more boy than girl, so I didn't use it often, only on those rare occasions when I would actually be forced to bathe and put on clean clothes. I spent my days climbing trees, and waving a truckers to see if they would honk those wonderful "ooga ooga" horns at me. Some did.

I also roller skated with a friend going around the block and down the slopes from dawn till dusk. We didn't have roller blades or anything fancy in those days, just skates with a skate key. It was wonderful.

I wore the same pair of navy blue flowered capri pants every day along with a red pull over hooded sweatshirt. The hood was a wonderful invention because I never had to comb my hair. I never washed my uniform, because I wore it day and night, and even slept in the sweatshirt most of the time.

My mother would chastise me because other girls in the area were starting to "fix up". I really thought she had lost her mind. Why would I "fix up" to climb trees and roller skate, and wave frantically at truckers in 18 wheelers?

On rare occasions after a bath, I would dab a little Evening in Paris behind my ears and feel a slight tang of femininity. Well, maybe I just felt clean, but who remembers!

By the time I was 14, I had somewhat to my surprise turned into a girl. I threw out the red sweatshirt and flowered pants and never looked back. Because of my newly acquired sophistication, I realized that I needed a new more mature fragrance. And perhaps even one that was not sold at the dime store.

I saw an ad for something called Jungle Gardenia. That sounded pretty darned exotic and sophisticated to me! I started saving every dime of babysitting money I could lay my hands on, as well as charging my mother for chores, and before too long, I was able to purchase my bottle of Jungle Gardenia perfume!

I couldn't wait to try it out and see if it had any particular reaction from people, (particularly male persons) because by this time I had turned what my mother called "boy crazy".

I got in the car with my mother and opened the package. I opened the bottle and started dabbing the stuff on my wrists and behind my ear lobes. My mom started gagging! She said "Put that away! It's making me sick."

Charming teen that I was I started putting on more of course! Mom reached over and tried to grab the bottle. Uh, not a good idea. It spilled all over the seat upholstery and the floor. Now, quite frankly, a little Jungle Gardenia might have been a great idea, but a bottle of it spilled in the car was not.

I was furious at my mother, but also getting strangely nauseated from the overwhelming scent of gardenias. She drove home in stony silence with the window rolled down which she never did because she didn't want her hair to blow. I took a little solace in the knowledge that she would live with that fragrance for as long as she had the car. But, I never bought another bottle of the stuff. It was kind of gross.

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