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I ordered a bottle of hand lotion from Amazon but forgot all about it until it arrived. That’s so unlike me since I view their deliveries as the equivalent of Christmas morning, all-year-long. I unwrapped it and studying the label, wondered why I ordered it… but as soon as I pumped some onto my hands, the scent brought it all back to me.

I used it in the elegant restroom at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis. We’d experienced lots of cold, dry weather and my hands were paying the price. Sitting beside the basket of plush hand towels stood a bottle of Molton Brown hand lotion. I applied some and absolutely swooned.

The scent brought back train-trips to St. Louis as a child to visit my Mom’s sisters, Wilma and Violet. Bath time in their huge claw-footed tubs was especially fun for us little girls, and they used Sweetheart soap. This bergamot and orange hand lotion smelled just like those happy memories.

Growing up my Mom used Ivory soap. Unfortunately I not only remember the smell of Ivory. I remember exactly what it tastes like… My father had a zero tolerance policy on fibbing and cussing! When I moved out on my own, I used Sweetheart soap until it became impossible to find.

Sweetheart soap was made by Manhattan Soap Company, beginning in 1890. Bought out by Purex in 1956, they modernized the packaging but kept the bar of soap the same, an oval with a raised wreath design around the edge. In the late 60’s, Purex began marketing it as the “Decorator’s Friend,” offering it in four colors and three scents. I stuck with the original.

So much of life is remembered by smells. I wanted to call my sisters and say, “Hey, you won’t believe it, but this lotion smells just like…” but I didn’t. I realized the only one who would remember that smell was Terry, and she’s been gone for three years now.

It’s an odd feeling to know you are the last one in your family who holds a memory, especially one as elusive as a scent.

XO Donna

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Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

8 thoughts on “HEY SWEETHEART”

  1. I loved this post, Donna, and didn’t see the end coming, which is wonderful. My scent memory is my grandmother’s perfume, Shocking Pink, by Elsa Schiaparelli. I have my grandmother’s dresser in the guest bedroom, and every time I open the drawers, I can smell that fragrance. She put a shelf liner in each drawer, and they absorbed that scent. On occasion, I’ve gone upstairs just to open the drawers so I can smell her… xoxox, Brenda

  2. Donna, I absolutely loved this! I do remember Sweetheart soap! My grandmother wore Yardley English Lavender and whenever I smell it I think of her.

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