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