Here in New York we’ve had to take out our winter coats and accept that the cold is here to stay for a good 4-5 months. Winters here are mostly cold, gray and windy with an occasional winter wonderland day. I am already anticipating the 4 AM calls from the school superintendent notifying us of school closures for … what reason? Once I peek outside and see not even an inch of snow and do a mental conversion of Fahrenheit to Celsius (over 23 years and Celsius is still more familiar), I usually curse the school district and scramble to find a sitter. “Can you believe this?” I’ll say to my husband for the umpteenth time, “It’s not even that cold and they are closing the schools. When I was little, they wouldn’t close the schools unless it was -25 (-25 Celsius is -13 Fahrenheit) and there was a meter (3 feet) of snow on the ground.” My poor mom used to take me to school in the sled.
I was wearing all kinds of wool and fur garb that weighed more than I did. Getting frost bite was a real possibility on my 20 minute walk to school. So my mom would dress me in layers upon layers. The last step of getting ready for braving the outdoors was putting the cream on my face. And though I had no wrinkles and lacked no collagen, ASL protected my skin from the cold.
Every time I catch the faint scent of ASL mixed with the distinct smell of a wool scarf in the frigid air, I am reminded of being little, being taken care of, and of my mom. Scent is a powerful trigger for memories and many of mine are surfaced by ASL.