August 27, 2015

The Good Smells Of Childhood

Quince2

Quince2

I was always a “noticing” kind of person. Good smells always put me in a certain frame of mind. Some were cozy, some exciting, some, downright appetite provoking.

This is just a sort of reminiscence of the ones I remember, in no particular order.

The smell of the people around me was most likely some of my first memories. Mom always smelled of cigarettes, coffee and on special occasions when I was very young there was the fragrance of Tweed perfume. I imagine she had it from before she was married and it always made me think of her life in Seattle where she lived with her parents before she married my dad. In later years she wore violet perfume on special occasions because we had found a source for it when we lived in Iowa and she would wear it when she knew we would be seeing each other. She also wore Charlie, which I didn’t especially like, but she did.

My grandma Yates always had the fragrance of face powder and toilet water. A sweet, older lady smell that was light and not overpowering. I don’t remember a particular fragrance my grandma Moline wore. I know she used Oil of Olay though because I remember seeing it on her dressing table.

My dad was fond of Mennen after shave, and his dad liked to wear the simple smell of “I just shaved”, as in the lingering odor of the shave cream he wiped off.

Where we lived, at the end of Dennis Street in Tumwater, Washington, was a seasonal mix of spring, summer and fall smells. I guess winter had a smell too, if you count the Christmas tree (a real one, cut in our back field) in the house. Spring seemed to erupt in our front yard with everything at once. The people who had lived in our house prior to us had planted bulbs and shrubs that were well-established by the time we moved in during the early 1950’s. I probably visit these memories of my childhood yard more often than I should, but this was part of “my world” and I cherish them.

It was the bulbs that came up first in the yard. Old ones like muscari and snow drops. Then, the irises would peek their pointy leaves up from the cold ground and signal the advent of more to come. All of this was followed quite closely by the buds on the quince bush, the sweet smell of the lilacs and the apple and cherry trees bursting into bloom.

Mom was never one to stifle our creativity, so she willingly let us raid her sewing cabinet for thread and needle to string leis of quince flowers as our own tribute to celebrating the spring equinox. The poor visitors to our house in spring were always gifted with sprigs of lilacs to put in makeshift vases until they could carry them home.

Summer brought the seasonal smells of dry grass, or the lovely aroma of wet dry grass after a summer shower. Although I’m writing about smells, I remember those summer mornings when I’d wake up and hear through the early morning summer stillness birds like the ubiquitous robins, the sparrows and chickadees.

I didn’t get much chance to go camping when I was younger, but I did get to sleep outside in the front yard in a sleeping bag with a comfy air mattress for cushion. Waking up in the early, early misty morning air was almost intoxicating. So close to the earth you can almost feel it breathe. I would just lay there and drink in the quiet.

Other smells come to mind too. That wonderful new baby doll plastic smell, the minty fragrance of Doublemint gum when grandma would open her purse when we were sitting in the pew at church on Sundays. How did she know I needed something to stave off ‘starvation’? I suspect she might have been treated to the same thing herself when she was growing up.

Is there nothing more warm and inviting than going through the door of someone’s house whose been cooking a turkey since the wee hours of the day? The sage smell of the dressing; the crispy skin done to perfection by a veteran cook; and all the other smells like candles burning, fresh homemade yeast biscuits coming out of the oven, a recently ironed white damask table cloth, and the blackberry cobbler tempting us to skip the main course and dive right into it.

My life has been constantly assailed by food smells, environmental smells like the brewery, a pulp mill, the smell of my dad when he would come home from working with wood all day and there was a mixture of good honest sweat along with sawdust. One facet of life, the smells, but oh so memorable.

© Carol Yates Wilkerson 2015 – All Rights Reserved

YATES and WILKERSON Direct Line Surnames Being Researched

iPentimento 150

iPentimento 150

Mine and Jim’s direct line surnames. Yes, this is cousin bait, but of the most honorable kind.

Branch: WILKERSON
Bean, Boyert, Cook, DeSpain, Haga, Harmes, Horst, Jordan, McCoy, Miller, Otto, Perkins, Ripley, Skaggs, Wilkerson, Whitmore

Branch: YATES
Ball, Bailey, Breedlove, Chance, Crawford, Dawson, Harrison, Hedgepeth, Holmes, Johansson, Kelsey, Larsson, Moline, Nordgren, Osgathorpe, Pentecost, Pledge, Poindexter, Reddin, Register, Smith, Speer/Speers/Spears, Steelman, Wright, Yates

Carol’s Pedigree Tree


 

My Favorite Fork

Fave fork corners

 

Fave fork corners

For whatever reason, my mom and dad used their wedding silver and china when we were kids. I don’t know if they just didn’t have the money to go out and buy inexpensive dinnerware, but all I can remember was using that, or dishes that came from a gas station or out of a box of laundry soap.

As you know, silver service of the expensive kind was quite heavy and unwieldy which meant that it was a big juggling session for me whenever I would eat. My mom finally had an epiphany and brought home my new fork which you see here. It’s probably a well-known pattern to many, but to me it was from then on “my favorite fork”. It was mine and I was, from then on, the master of my own food consumption (other than cooking it) and this little salad fork is still in my silverware drawer and used quite often. Because I can.

Apparently, it’s called Everglo and I found a listing for it on Replacements. Google to the rescue again!

Replacements photo fork

Throw Back Thursday – When Greg Worked As A Deckhand

foot ferry, kitsap sun,

foot ferry, kitsap sun,

I [Greg Wilkerson] worked on this vessel as a deckhand in ’88/’89 when it was the passenger ferry that did the early runs to PSNS from the downtown Port Orchard, WA dock. Occasionally, I would work on the Retsil and Thurow as well. I also got to work on the Spirit of ’76 and every once in a while the Eagle. Each one was so different and special in their own ways. And each Captain I worked with while I was there was as unique as their favored vessel.

I learned a lot in those brief years working rain or rain (joking). Scraping rust, sanding, painting and washing just to do it all over again. In hindsight it seems so strange that there I was, as a 14-16 year old, riding my bike down to the dock and checking all the fluids (oil, coolant, fuel) and starting up the engines so they could warm up for the 1st run of the day and being responsible for the safety of the passengers while we were underway; and the counting and tallying of the fares, then going to school and then after school going back down and doing it again for the return passengers from the shipyard. I was very fortunate to have this opportunity and often look back on the experience and smile.

Our son Greg wrote this last November 2014 after I sent him an article about the Carlisle II that was in the Kitsap Sun (our local paper). He is now in his 40’s and has a son that is 15, the same age he was when he began working as a deckhand. That was his first real job and he matured (seemingly) overnight. A tall, thin young boy that he was when be began the job, he left it when we moved to Florida because Jim’s job took us there.

Greg the surfer 1991 FL

Greg in Florida 1991

He was exposed to the co-workers of his dad where Jim worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and saw them go into work each day ready to put in another shift, and took their fares as they went home tired each night. Most likely, in Greg’s eyes, he was “one of them”. Greg met friendly people, enthusiastic tourists, and became the personable guy he is today.

View of the U.S. Navy Puget Sound Naval Shipya...

View of the U.S. Navy Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washionton (USA), in 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Ships at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, ...

English: Ships at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, seen from Port Orchard across the harbor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: BREMERTON, Wash. (April 5, 2010) Work...

English: BREMERTON, Wash. (April 5, 2010) Workers at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility hold their TIP passes as they wait for transportation. The shipyard and maintenance facility Transportation Incentive Program, or TIP, has been recognized by the Washington State Department of Transportation for their commuter program, which along with the worker/driver program is a well-established alternative to driving to work every day. (U.S. Navy photo/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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