We moved back to Greenville from Dayton when I was about 10 years old. Since we lived just three blocks from Broadway, I was allowed to go downtown to shop all by myself, and I was in charge of buying a Mother’s Day gift for Mom.
My brother Dave and I saved our money for over a week. Then we walked downtown to the big dime store to search for a proper gift. It didn’t take long. We found Blue Waltz perfume.
It was in a small glass bottle with a beautifully shaped, light blue screw-on cap. We had to get the 15 cent bottle so we could also afford a card.
Mother was absolutely overcome. I didn’t know if that happened before or after she smelled the perfume. But somehow the Blue Waltz got spilled. Poor Mom was so sad when she showed us the empty bottle.
We took care of that though. We saved up and for her birthday we were able to get her the 25 cent bottle. Again she was overwhelmed.
Dave and I made sure she wore that perfume every time she and Dad went anywhere together. In no time at all, the bottle was empty. But Christmas was coming, and we knew just what to do.
We decided to ask Dad for money so we could get her an even bigger bottle of Blue Waltz perfume. He suggested that he would get something from all of us for her.
We didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but we knew what she really wanted. So we got her another quarter bottle, and so he wouldn’t feel left out, we got him a dime bottle of men’s smelly stuff. Being a real Dad, he smelled it, looked a little strange, and said, “Thanks, but don’t get me anymore.”
By the time Mother’s Day rolled around again we knew what Mother not only wanted but also needed. It was on the very top shelf of the round, mirrored, glass tiers in the Fragrance Department at the big dime store.
It was a very large, crystal clear, beautifully shaped bottle that held at least a quart of Blue Waltz – Mother’s favorite perfume. It was topped with the sophisticated, light blue, screw on cap in the giant economy size.
We knew we could never save enough to pay for it, so we decided to negotiate a loan from Dad. He assured us he would give our request a lot of thought.
Next thing you know Mom talked to us about gifts and how it was important not to spend more than you had on them.
While we were considering all of this, we decided it was time to find out how much the ultimate Mother’s Day gift actually cost.
We went to the store and approached the clerk. She knew us by then as her best Blue Waltz customers. We had branched out and bought small bottles for both Grandmas. We pointed to the top tier and asked. She smiled apologetically we thought, and told us it was for display only. We were crushed.
After that Blue Waltz perfume disappeared from our shopping list until many years later.
Mom was living at the Brethren’s home when I again noticed Blue Waltz perfume. The quarter bottle was priced at $1.99. I “splurged” on a bottle for her.
When I presented it to her I hoped to get a little smile. I got a whole lot more. With a tear in her eye and a smile on her face, she said, “Thanks for the memory.”
Now I know what she meant.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate May 10, 1997.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.