Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Comforts

Last Sunday I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. Actually I felt very sluggish and deflated dissolving into tears at the slightest provocation. But the grocery shopping had to be done. Husband said he would drive me as he needed to get another one of his bargain basement haircuts. I was relieved because there is nothing like driving in snow to put the heart crosswise in me.


Husband pulled up to the doors of Festival asking how long I would be. Tears began to spill down my cheeks. Why this simple inquiry reduced me to tears is beyond explanation…..I managed to say “half an hour if I’m lucky, an hour if I’m not,” to a very bewildered looking husband!

I moved through the fruit and vegetable section struggling to keep the tear flow under control. I quickly went up one aisle and down another until I came to the shampoo/cleanser aisle. I slowed down because I needed some cleanser. Casting a glance along the shelves searching for Ponds a blue jar caught my eye. I stopped right in front of the blue jars stacked on the shelf and felt a little smile threaten to supplant the tears. The big white letters on the blue jar read “NOXZEMA”. I have not seen or maybe just not noticed a jar of Noxzema in years. The white letters on that blue jar plummeted me back in time. I was a small child watching my mother open her jar of Noxzema and rub the white cream all over her face and neck and then dab a smidgen onto my cheeks and nose. Well what do you think I did….I grabbed one of those blue jars and placed it gently into my cart. Not with the rest of the groceries…Oh no….it was carefully placed in the child seat.

When I got home I sorted out my pantry and put the shopping away. I began to feel a bit light headed and chilled. I just couldn’t get warm. Was I coming down with the flu. I discovered I had a fever of 102. My weepyness was now explained. Whew! For a while there I thought I was losing my grip! I decided the best place for me was bed. Grabbing my Noxzema jar I headed up the stairs. I opened the jar, held it under my nose and breathed in the scent. There is no way to describe the Noxzema smell, it has its own distinct scent in the same way Vicks does. The very mention of Vicks and one can smell the vapours. Well I smeared a big glob of that cream all over my face and neck. Closing my eyes I felt soothed by the scent and the tingling sensation on my skin. The overwhelming emotions that had gripped me washed away as I rinsed the Noxzema from my face.

Most people assuage their well-being with “Comfort Foods.” It seems I am not one of those people. I have discovered to my surprise my well-being is soothed by “Comfort Scents.” Which begs me to wonder what other little mysteries am I hiding from myself???

19 comments:

Karen Gowen said...

Well you are definitely a prime customer for Scentsy warmers. Are you familiar with them at all? My sister sells them & I have them in nearly every room of my house. Aromatherapy is what I call it. I love your Noxcema story, it makes me want to go buy a big jar of it myself. When I was a teen, that's what everyone swore by to keep a clear complexion. I also have a big jar of Ponds face cream that I slather all over my face every morning & night. The scent of that soothes me as well & reminds me of my mom.

catdownunder said...

There was a small delicatessan near my grandparents' home that used a particular, pleasantly perfumed cleaning fluid. Years later I was in a big department store in Oxford Street and - I smelt it. They used it too and I found excuses to return to the shop - just for the perfume and the reminder of the first shop.

Brigid said...

That is so lovely, Ann,it was like your mother was there just when you needed her.
Hope you feel better soon,I love scent too - lilacs, wallflowers and Christmas pudding always remind me of home.

Christine said...

What a lovely post, Ann! I hope you are feeling better now.

Sometimes I smell a perfume that reminds me of my first teacher at primary school and I'm immediately assailed with memories of that safe and caring little classroom where we stumbled through our first efforts at reading and learned to form our letters.

Old Kitty said...

Oh Ann!!! I hope you are feeling better now!! I hope so!!! Please swathe yourself in lots and lots and lots of Noxema!!!! It sounds like the perfect tonic for you!! Take care please and get well!!!
x

Joanna St. James said...

You were definitely feeling homesick, you poor thing.
I would have been pleasantly surprised too if I saw Noxzema.

Talli Roland said...

I completely understand! I love the smell, too - really brings back memories.

I hope you're feeling better now!

Hart Johnson said...

Sorry you've been sick, but so GLAD for the explanation of the weepiness! That is distressing when unexplained (and the last person a distressed person needs is another source of distress). My mom used Noxema when i was little... you know what this makes me think though... I should buy some Pond's Cold Cream. I bet it reminds me of my grandma and that would make me very happy.

Colene Murphy said...

Awe no! I hope you're feeling better! I hate that insane crying bit! It's terrible and it makes people think you're insane! Hate it. Never smelled Noxzema as far as I know. Might have to try it out. Sounds nice!

Susannah said...

I hope you are feeling better now Ann. :-)

Words A Day said...

Hope you are better soon :)
I'm not surprized to hear you are comforted by scents - I can recall the lengths you went to just to have a nice lavender bath!!!
Take care of yourself!

Paul C said...

A most interesting post. Aromatherapy seems to be a significant pursuit for some. My father used Deep Heat, as I was growing up, for a rheumatic knee. I can still smell this ointment in my subconscious.

walk2write said...

I hope you're feeling much better now. One of our friends in Missouri is an aromatherapist. She introduced us to essential oils a few years back, and they've been a godsend for me and my family. I use them for everything (well, just about) that hurts. The sense of smell has some interesting connections in the brain with memory, so it's no wonder that seeing the jar and smelling the contents transported you to a comforting place and time. On my other blog, Big Bend Over Easy in Florida, where I'm collecting some of my short stories, I posted a story about someone's unusually keen sense of smell and the disastrous consequences it has for him.

Talei said...

Ann,

I hope you're feeling better soon. Comfort scents are wonderful, and they evoke so many memories.

Take care and I hope you have a peaceful weekend. ;)

Theresa Milstein said...

"...there is nothing like driving in snow to put the heart crosswise in me."

When I read lines like this, I am made at the Revolutionaries for creating American English.

I'm sorry you were sick. At least it explains the weepiness. I tried Noxema as a teen, but it made me break out. In the last several years, I've bought the Blackhead cleanser. Same great smell and consistency. It's amazing how seeing or sniffing a product from the past can bring us back to a safe place just like food.

Hannah Kincade said...

I still use Noxema!! I love it! You are right. Smells have a way to bring us back to painful memories or ones that bring us great comfort. We can only ride the wave of scent.

Barbara Scully said...

Hi Ann

Love this post. Never heard of Noxema - strange name innit? Sounds vaguely noxious?

But I love your descriptions of heading off to bed with your jar! Scent is a powerful way to revisit older parts of ourselves. And as for Vicks - love it!

Ann said...

Hi all, thank you for your kind comments and well wishes. I am feeling much better. I have a little smile to myself when I am in the bathroom and see my blue jar of Noxema sitting on the side of the bath. I open the jar,inhale deeply and my day becomes a little bit lighter. Not bad for $4.89

Patricia Stoltey said...

I also have fond memories of the Noxzema scent from my mother using it. Haven't even thought of the product in years.

Hope you're totally recovered from your bug. It's not fun to get a cold or flu anytime, but when it's cold and snowy out, it takes all the fun out of being snowed in. Hot toddies help, though.