Jasmine

by Elena on April 5, 2011 in Italy

One smell. Many memories. Hoping that one day, Principessa will feel the same depth of emotion.

Dear Principessa,

Once upon a time there was a little girl. Every year this little girl spent a month of summer in a very special place.  A place that was surrounded with love, with family, with water, and with the loveliest and most fragrant of smells.  Every summer this little girl walked toward home, pushing open the gate into the yard. The gate that was covered by the leaves of the plant that marked the address.  The leaves of the plant that regardless of where this little girl was, she could smell because they were etched in her memory, in her heart.  The leaves of the plant lined the walls of the back of the yard as well, mixing with the scents of the salted canal. She could smell the leaves as we walked home but were still a block away, sometimes more.

This little girl, my dear sweet daughter, was me. Your Mamma. Spending the summer at my Nonni’s house in Lido was special for so many reasons. There was the beach where I played each day surrounded by people who knew YOUR Nonno when he was just a boy.  There was the pier that I eventually garnished enough courage to jump off of.  There was the boy that lived across the street, and at some point, became my first crush.  There was the taking a walk to get ice cream with my Nonno: strawberry and pistachio. There was the hairdresser who gave me treats every time we walked through the door. There was the chocolate that my Nonna hid around the house for me to find.

But beyond all that, there were the leaves. The flowers. The smell.  The jasmine that grew around my Nonni’s house was something that I can still smell if I close my eyes.  It is a scent that I can sniff out like a detective dog in search of evidence.

One day, I will bring you back to the house. It is no longer my Nonni’s house.  But the garden, the jasmine….somehow I will always feel as if those plants, those flowers, are mine. And in a way, yours as well. They are our history. They are our past.  I imagine that even one day, when the plants are no longer there, the scent will remain as if it seeped into the soil, like the blood that runs through our veins.

For now, I will try as best I can, to nurture and love the new jasmine plants we bought for our garden so that maybe the scents can provide as much love and calm to you, as they did for me.

Love,

Your Mamma

 

 

This letter to Principessa was inspired by the RemembeRED prompt: “your memoir prompt assignment is to think of a sound or a smell the reminds you of something from your past and write a post about that memory.”

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy C April 5, 2011 at 6:25 am

Sigh…the smell seeping into the soil, like blood in veins.

That is the heart of this piece and so, so lovely.

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Joy April 5, 2011 at 7:23 am

We had jasmine growing up the open side of our carport when I was a little girl. That smell takes me back to the days of bike-riding, roller-skating, and making forts between the shrubs and our house. It’s the smell of childhood. :)

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Lisa @ Two Bears Farm April 5, 2011 at 7:48 am

How sweet that you did this in a letter. I love the line about the detective dog searching for evidence.

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Frelle April 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

what a sweet memory, and that you want to give the scent memory to your daughter is just lovely. this in particular was both powerful and beautiful: They are our his­tory. They are our past. I imag­ine that even one day, when the plants are no longer there, the scent will remain as if it seeped into the soil, like the blood that runs through our veins.

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Galit Breen April 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I so love that you shared this a s letter to your daughter! Such beautiful memories that you clearly capture are important to you and why!

I loved this line: “I imag ine that even one day, when the plants are no longer there, the scent will remain as if it seeped into the soil, like the blood that runs through our veins.” because it was pure poetry!

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angela April 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm

My favorite part is that you have planted jasmine in your own garden so that your daughter will know that smell.

This is a wonderful sentiment: “But the gar­den, the jasmine.…somehow I will always feel as if those plants, those flow­ers, are mine. And in a way, yours as well.”

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Kimberly April 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

I love how you want to pass this “scented” memory on to your wee one.
What a beautiful letter.

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