April McGowan

Do You Remember?

perfumeThe other day we went to an estate sale. Now, I’m not a garage sale aficionado, as some. I’m more of a drive by lookie-loo. You know the type that drives slowly by your sale and decides if they see something cool or not before they stop. The one that blocks traffic and then waves thanking you for your patience. Yeah. Sorry. But this one intrigued me. It was a house that had been owned by the same family since 1911. I just knew there’d be some neat stuff and maybe a typewriter for my husband’s collection. So we packed up the family and headed out.

When I’m in an older space, I can’t help but imagine all that went on before me. I wonder about their children, what they did for a living, their hopes and dreams—their deaths. In this particular house there were a bunch of oscilloscopes, vacuum tube testers, and lots of electrical equipment. There were two old portable army phones—the kind they’d take out into the field—that must have weighed twenty pounds (can you imagine carrying that along with your pack through the mud and muck?). And hundreds of old photos. It seemed so sad that one hundred years of history was being sold off for ten cents apiece like that.

Upstairs we found racks of clothing, a complete library of older books (my personal fascination) and bottles of old perfume. Now, I’m someone very effected by smells and sounds. I unscrewed the lid of one of these bottles and was instantly transported back to my childhood. It smelled like one of my grandmas (I have four parents, and was blessed with many)—or maybe my godmother. I couldn’t figure out which one. But I got teary holding that condensed flowery yellow liquid under my nose. I immediately wished I could talk to those women again, ask them more advice, get more bony hugs—beg for chocolate chip cookies. I wished my kids could have known them, baked with them, or done crafts with them. They had so much knowledge to share.

I take great comfort knowing that those ladies all knew my Lord, so I’ll get to see them another day. But, still, this side of waiting can be hard. Tell me, what kinds of things trigger memories in you? Is there a particular thing that transports you back to a day long ago? I’d love to hear about it.

What readers are saying about Jasmine: “This book is one I will long remember, and I’ll remember Jasmine and the women she helped. I’ll wonder what they are doing and how they are…The story is that real.” If you’ve got an e-reader pop over here and follow the links. And once you’ve read–please review! Thanks.


  1. Debbie Carpenter
    Jul 19, 2013

    Every morning I make our bed, I think of my Grandmother! She was quite picky about how the bed looked and I’ve carried on that tradition. I bought a bedspread that reminds me of her and when I pull it up over the shaken out pillows, I think of her and how she took the time to show my sister and me the “proper” way to make a bed. It was really important that the bed be made early and no bumps or ripples showed. I think I’ve now passed that on to my Grand kids and they know…..my bed will be made if they venture in to check it out. Grandmothers….ya just gotta love ’em.

    • April
      Jul 21, 2013

      I have my grandmother’s pictures up in the bedroom, Deb. I did that, initially, to make sure the kids knew what they looked like, and who they were. I find, though, I’m the one looking at them and remembering all the things we did together. What a neat memory! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Chanda
    Jul 20, 2013

    Whenever I make spaghetti, I think of my Nonna, from Florence, Italy…she taught me the proper way to twirl the pasta around my fork rather than cutting it all up before eating it. She is also with our Lord, but I sure do miss her! Funny you should mention 1911. Amazingly, her husband, my grandpa was born in 1911. He will celebrate his 102nd birthday in October. He is still quite active (he drives to church)! Hope he makes it through several more birthdays!

    • April
      Jul 21, 2013

      Hi Chanda. How great to have a grandfather still around! My great grandmother lived for nearly 101 years. She was from Norway and came over on a ship. Pretty brave young girl! Thanks for sharing your memory!

  3. Melody
    Jul 20, 2013

    The other day I was thinking of my Grandma Draper who passed away over a year ago. She made me several things, quilts and placemats, mostly. As I was doing laundry yesterday, I realized how the placemats were becoming worn. I don’t want to lose them. I may not be able to fully preserve the placemats, but my memory of my Grandma is still strong, and the faith she had is still fresh in my mind. Someday, I’ll get to see her again and all the beautiful ways God used her to work out His plan, and that’s a keepsake that will never fade.

    • April
      Jul 21, 2013

      Melody, I have a tatted place mat I use on the top of my dresser that my grandmother made me. And she made these beautiful tatted snowflakes ornaments that we pull out every Christmas. I love those things. I love sharing them with the kids so they can see parts of her craft she left behind. Thanks for sharing!

What do you think? Leave me a comment :)

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