Monday, January 6, 2014

Peach Cologne and Charlie Brown

I have – mostly – learned to no longer bother with New Year’s resolutions.

In the past, they’ve been pretty typical…lose weight, take better care of my feet, win an Academy Award, etc. They are all broken by day three and I feel like a failure….but this year, I have only one and am determined to keep it.

Not too long ago, shoved to the back of a crowded closet shelf, I found an old jewelry box. Flocked in faded pink fleur de lis and fastened with a rusty clasp, I recognized it as my childhood treasure box.

Hugging it close, I carried it to the kitchen table awash with fond sentiment as I prepared to enjoy the memory surrounding each artifact within. It started out well--- there was the paper mache bracelet I made, a half-worn down eraser in the shape of a heart, even a tiny plastic treasure chest with a few of my baby teeth. Wow.

On the bottom, in a corner of the box, was a small bottle of “Peach Blossom” cologne. I remember the moment my aunt gave it to me. I was about eight and immediately fell in love with the bottle – graceful and tapered, its screw top was a perfect wooden blushing peach complete with fuzz.

 I was overjoyed to receive it; I’d never had my own cologne before. The closest I’d come to smelling pretty was a dab of my mother’s Jean Nate. She’d swipe it behind my ears when she used it after her bath. The cologne smelled just like a fresh sweet peach. I used it very rarely, dispensing it one tiny drop at a time, consciously saving it for special occasions that never seemed to come. The pretty bottle, it’s wooden peach no longer as bright, now held only dust that coated the fluted sides.

I know some of you remember Kean Nate.

In the box was also a nearly full pad of Charlie Brown stickers. I remember how delighted I’d been upon discovering them in my Christmas stocking so long ago.

Back then little girls wrote letters. I had a pen pal as well as school mates who’d moved away and note cards with violets and kittens flew back and forth between us. Often they had S. W. A. K. (sealed-with-a-kiss, of course) hand lettered on the back flap but these stickers had fun little sayings on them and were meant for a child’s envelope. I used them once or twice but decided that they were to be used only for the most important of missives. 
"I would have liked a letter with a
Charlie Brown sticker,"

Was I planning to write a letter to Richard Nixon, for goodness sake? Needless to say, the stickers were now curled up and discolored when I found them in the jewelry box.

 Just last week, I overheard a chat between Seth and Tommy about the merits of eating your favorite component of a meal first instead of following the conventional wisdom which advocates saving the best for last. 

They mocked this, insisting that favorite things should be eaten first since you are hungriest then and, therefore, would savor them more. I sat back and blinked at this logic. How often did I save the mashed potatoes for the end, finding them cold and my appetite dulled? Well, damnit.

Add all this tangible evidence to my natural inclination to bemoan the past, eternally fret over my personal catalog of mistakes as well as obsess about what the future may hold ( but, please, boys, do check out that nursing home thoroughly before you slap me in there and prance merrily away, content that Mom is now “taken care of”) and there was a bit of an epiphany to be had. “Susan Says…” is damn well going to try to focus on today, the proverbial here and now---the present.

That is my resolution. I’m working on it already. It might just take care of the other stuff as a side benefit since it should make me more aware and pro-active about life in general, don’t you think? I have already placed the ancient bottle of peach cologne dust on the dresser as a reminder. If you open the lid and press your nose to the top, you can still get a nice whiff.  

Happy, healthy new year to all. Love, Susan, Seth and the Cats.


  1. Peach Blossom? That sounds so very Southern. When I was in high school I had a fav, but can't remember the name of it to save my life. I fell in love with Chloe back in 76 and have pretty much stuck with it. I'm not one much for changing things, which is a good thing for Doug.

  2. yes...peach blossom. But this was specifically for little girls.It smelled just like sweet ripe peaches. Mmmmm.
    Thanks for reading, Michele. XO

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