From the yeasty warmth of freshly baked bread to the clean, summery haze of lavender flowers, we all have favorite smells we find particularly comforting. What’s yours?
It’s ordained, it has to be, why else would I plant them in every garden that surrounds the home I happen to be living in at any given time, and there has been a few over the years.
Geraniums plain albeit colourful geraniums, the colour isn’t the important feature to my story, nor is the fact that they are not my favourite flower, that honour belongs to the daffodil, it’s the perfume they send up on watering them that sends me spinning back to what, I would credit as being one of the best years of my mid-teens.
After a dissension with my Mother it was decided that I live elsewhere, (mindful that this being in the late fifties, children did not usually leave home to live on the streets, not if they in anyway respected their elders) I was taken to the opposite end of the city and introduced to an elderly lady as my Aunt Etta, I had met her on a previous occasion, but to this day I have no real idea which twig she was or how she came to belong on a somewhat twisted branch of our family tree. I was reluctant, as from the view point of a fifteen year old, she looked as old as the hills, to be truthful she was about the same age I am now, but selfishly I felt it would be better than nothing, knowing I had no intention of living another minute in my mother’s home.
It wasn’t long before I realised living with Aunty Etta, was a holiday in paradise, it was here I learned to relax and start to enjoy the everyday activities of a teenager. I came to appreciate this dear lady, not for what she looked like or her age but for her kindness and support, she taught me trust, encouraged me to join the scout movement as a cub leader and to go out and to mix with friends or to bring them home, all were welcome
It was while living here I met the first love of my life, he was a tall, handsome young policeman, who used to come daily into the food court where I worked. We dated a couple of times and Aunt Etta always made him welcome. It was her that comforted me when he told me, that as a policeman it was his job to protect young girls from older men not date them. She was the only one that didn’t tell me it was all for the best, that I would find someone else one day, she acknowledged my pain at the time and just held me while I cried.
Aunty Etta was a widow of many years standing; who had a great love of canaries, housing dozens of them in individual aviarys intermittently placed throughout her back yard, each one separated by geranium bushes. On sunny days when she watered her flowers, the orchestra of chirping birds and buzzing bees creating an atmosphere instantly aromatised with the fragrance of geraniums, a memory I will take to my grave.
I lived happily with this wonderful lady for twelve months, now every time I smell the perfume or water my geraniums, my heart whispers Thank you Aunty Etta.