header

BACK TO HOMESUBMIT YOUR PERSONAL STORY HERE

Andy Lowe's Memories:

Good Scents

I HAVE HEARD IT SAID THAT WE CAN REMEMBER SMELLS BETTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE.  WITHOUT HAVING ANY SCIENTIFIC DATA TO BACK THIS UP,  I BELIEVE I AGREE.  SUCH IS THE CASE FOR MANY OF MY MOST VIVID MEMORIES.  WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG AND EXPERIENCING THINGS FOR THE FIRST TIME THEY ALWAYS SEEM MORE POTENT.  I BELIEVE WE ALSO GET THE CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE THINGS LIKE SMELLS, AGAIN AND AGAIN.  ESPECIALLY, IF IT IS ONE WE LIKE.  SOMETIMES A SONG OR SOME MENTAL IMAGE MAY BE ATTACHED TO BITS OF PERSONAL NOSTALGIA.  HOW DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST TASTE OF HOME MADE ICE CREAM?  WELL, I HAVE AN IMAGE OF MY GRANDMOTHERS FRONT PORCH.

I GUESS THE BEST EXAMPLE, I PERSONALLY HAVE, WHICH I HAVE SHARED WITH  MY BUDDIES, OLIVER AND HUGH AT WORK, IS THE LASTING IMPRESSION MADE ON MY SENSE OF SMELL BY "ENGLISH LEATHER".  THIS OLD FAVORITE IS STILL GOING STRONG AND USED BY MILLIONS.  IT IS NOT NEARLY AS SOPHISTICATED AS SOME OF THE MODERN "FOO FOO" WATERS, BUT, THEY HAVE NO MENTAL IMAGE FOR ME, "ENGLISH LEATHER" DOES.  IT WAS ABSOLUTELY "GROUND ZERO" IN MENS TOILETRIES, BACK IN MY YOUNGER DAYS.  I HAVE SOME FOND MEMORIES OF OTHER MENS FRAGRANCES FROM THAT TIME OF MY LIFE.  ANOTHER ONE, "JADE EAST" WAS A LITTLE MORE EXOTIC THAN MY OLD FAVORITE, GIRLS LOVED IT.  "CANOE" ANOTHER FAVORITE, HAD A VERY "CLEAN" SMELLING AROMA.  I THINK THE GUYS LIKE THE WAY IT MADE THEM SMELL MORE THAN THE GIRLS DID.   THERE WAS ONE OF A MORE OBSCURE NATURE, WE BOUGHT AT "SMITH'S DRUG STORE".  I DON'T EXACTLY REMEMBER THE NAME, BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN "DANTE".   I REMEMBER A BUST OF A MAN ON THE BOTTLE AND MY MORE WIDELY READ FRIEND LARRY AKINS INFORMED ME THAT IT WAS A LIKENESS OF THE TORTURED GENIUS, WHO HAD CREATED THE TWISTED TALE OF  "THE INFERNO".  IT DIDN'T REALLY SMELL THAT GOOD, BUT IT CERTAINLY  DID TASTE EXCELLENT.   WE COULD BE SEEN DOWN AT SMITH'S DRUG STORE DRINKING THE SAMPLE BOTTLES DRY.  I BET 'OLE HARRY'  WONDERED WHERE ALL THE STUFF WENT.  WE WERE NOT DRINKING IT TO GET DRUNK, WE WERE JUST PROVING TO EACH OTHER THAT WE WOULD DO "JUST ABOUT ANYTHING", "ONCE".    I STOPPED THIS PRACTICE AFTER SUFFERING FOR 2 DAYS WITH SEVERE GASTRIC PROBLEMS FOLLOWING THE CHUGGING OF A 12 OUNCE BOTTLE OF "VITALIS".  IT LIKED TO HAVE KILLED ME.   IT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE, HAD IT NOT BEEN PRECEDED BY THE BETTER PART OF A FIFTH OF "CANADIAN MIST", ANOTHER FAVORITE BRAND NAME OF MY DAY.  I GUESS IT WAS POPULAR BECAUSE IT WAS ONE OF TWO BRANDS OF LIQUOR THAT EVERY TEENAGER, AFTER BEING AT AIKEN HIGH SCHOOL FOR A WEEK, KNEW COULD BE PURCHASED AT "WILLIE'S WAGON" FOR 2 BUCKS A HALF PINT.  CANADIAN MIST IS ANOTHER ODOR THAT I AM SURE WOULD CAUSE SOME ADOLESCENT FLASH BACKS IF I WERE TO CRACK THE SEAL ON A HALF PINT.  I HAVEN'T DONE THAT LATELY.  I HAVE HOWEVER, BEEN VERY FEW DAYS SINCE THEN WITHOUT 2 THINGS, ONE A PAIR OF BASS WEEJUNS AND TWO, A BOTTLE OF ENGLISH LEATHER.  THIS IS NOT A COMMERCIAL, JUST RECOLLECTIONS OF A CHILD OF THE SIXTIES.

COMING FROM A SMALL TOWN, RIGHT OUTSIDE OF ONE OF, IF NOT THE LARGEST, NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANTS IN THE WORLD MAY SOUND LIKE IT WOULD BE EXCITING.  IT WAS, BUT THE EXCITEMENT WAS SELF INDUCED AND NOT RELATED TO THE "BOMB PLANT" AS IT WAS KNOWN.  MY FAMILY, LIKE HUNDREDS OTHERS, GAVE UP THEIR HOMELAND, SO TO SPEAK, TO MAKE WAY FOR THE PROGRESS THAT WAS NEEDED TO MAKE WAR IN THE "COLD WORLD".   I DON'T SAY THIS WITH ANY SPECIAL ANIMOSITY.  I WAS BASICALLY UNAFFECTED BY THE MOVE.  I DO, HOWEVER, FEEL A CERTAIN SADNESS WHEN MY DAD AND HIS BROTHERS SPEAK SO FONDLY OF THE OLD TOWN CALLED ELLENTON.  I WISH IT HADN'T BEEN TAKEN FROM THEM.  THIS SET OF CIRCUMSTANCE DID , HOWEVER,  AFFORD A GROUP OF PEOPLE THE OPPURTUNITY THAT FEW PEOPLE EVER HAVE.  THAT OF MOVING A SHORT DISTANCE AND CREATING A NEW TOWN.  I AM SENTIMENTALLY ATTACHED TO THIS TOWN, BUT, IN MY OPINION THEY "BLEW IT".  NO PLANNING , NO INSISTENCE OF GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE, AS WOULD BE THE CASE TODAY, NOT MUCH THOUGHT GIVEN TO THE FUTURE AT ALL.  OF COURSE, ASKING PEOPLE WHOM HAD JUST BEEN "RIPPED UP" FROM THEIR LIFELONG HOMES TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE MAY HAVE BEEN ASKING A BIT TOO MUCH.  ANYWAY IT WAS A SMALL BOOM TOWN OF SORTS.  CHURCHES, OPEN AIR MARKETS WITH SAWDUST ON THE GROUND FOR A FLOOR, BARBER SHOPS AND "BEER JOINTS" ,AS WE CALLED THEM, STOOD SHOULDER TO SHOULDER.  OH, THAT SAWDUST WAS ANOTHER CHILDHOOD SMELL I REMEMBER.  I ALSO REMEMBER, SAM, MY DAD, TEACHING ME A BAD HABIT OF PULLING A FEW GRAPES OFF OF THE BUNCHES, AS THEY LAY IN THE COOLED DISPLAY CASE.  I DID THIS UNTIL THE "FOOD LION" REPLACED THE PRIVATELY OWNED "PIGGLY WIGGLY".  IT JUST ISN'T ANY FUN PULLING "FREE" GRAPES OFF OF A BUNCH OWNED BY A CORPORATION. 

NEW ELLENTON LAY ONLY ABOUT EIGHT MILES FROM AIKEN S.C.  YET, WE SEEMED BEHIND IN ALL THINGS.  WE WERE YEARS AWAY FROM HAVING OUR FIRST SIDEWALK, OUR FIRST RED LIGHT AND MANY OTHER AMENITIES THAT WOULD REPLACE THE ONES WELL ESTABLISHED IN ELLENTON.  I GUESS THE WHOLE PLACE SEEMED LIKE "COUNTRY COME TO TOWN" TO THE AIKENITES.  I AM NOT SURE THAT THIS IS TRUE, WE MAY HAVE BEEN JUST A LITTLE SENSITIVE AS A COMMUNITY, BECAUSE WE SEEMED SO "ROOTLESS".   THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT THERE WEREN'T MANY PEOPLE IN OUR LITTLE TOWN WHO WERE POSSESSING OF GREAT ELEGANCE, STYLE AND GRACE.  YOU WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE THE NAMES, SO I WON'T SHARE THEM WITH YOU, BUT TAKE MY WORD, THERE WERE WELL EDUCATED, WELL READ, VERY CREATIVE AND TALENTED PEOPLE AMOUNG OUR CITIZENRY.  I TELL YOU ALL OF THIS TO SET THE MOOD FOR MY STORY ABOUT ONE OF MY FIRST ENCOUNTERS WITH SOME OF THE FINER THINGS IN LIFE.  NAMELY MEN'S TOILET WATER.

I AM GOING TO SKIP OVER ALL THE PERSONAL AND FAMILY HIGHS AND LOWS LEADING UP TO 1963.  I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOU UNDERSTAND THOUGH THAT, UNTIL MOST OF THE BOYS AND GIRLS REARED IN "NEW ELLENTON" CRAWLED ON THE SCHOOL BUS FOR KENNEDY JUNIOR HIGH , ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF AIKEN, WE HADN'T EVER CONSIDERED WEARING ANYTHING BUT DUNGAREES AND TEE SHIRTS TO SCHOOL.  WE WERE USUALLY MORE INTERESTED IN PLAYING BALL  THAN WORRYING  WITH STYLES, FASHIONS AND STUFF LIKE THAT.  I HAD GOTTEN A SHORT PREVIEW A YEAR EARLIER, WHEN MY DAD WANTED TO MOVE CLOSER TO HIS JOB AND THE FAMILY MOVED THE SIX MILES TO "BONNEVIEW ESTATES".  THIS THREW ME INTO THE MILLBROOK ELEMENTARY CROWD.  MY TEACHER WHO HAD TRANSFERRED TO HERE, FROM THE OLD SCHOOL IN NEW ELLENTON THAT FAVORED THE "ALAMO" AND WAS REFERRED TO AS THAT, ASKED, NO REQUIRED, THAT WE DO OUR WORK WITH A CARTRIDGE INK PEN.  THIS WAS A FAR CRY FROM THE #2 PENCIL THAT HAD ALWAYS BEEN JUST FINE UP UNTIL NOW.  I KNEW IT WAS NEW, AND I KNEW IT WAS DIFFERENT.  I DIDN'T LIKE NEW STUFF TOO MUCH.  MY CONTRIBUTION TO ALL OF THIS NEW STUFF WAS A NEW NAME.  I HAD BEEN CALLED ANDY ALL OF MY LIFE, BUT, WHEN WE MOVED I TOLD EVERYONE MY NAME WAS HARRY.  THAT IS MY FIRST NAME, BUT I HAD NEVER BEEN CALLED HARRY BEFORE, AT THE TIME IT SEEMED LIKE  A GOOD IDEA.  EVERYONE WARNED ME AGAINST IT ,BUT, I INSISTED.  WELL, ABOUT TWO WEEKS OF HARRY WAS ALL I COULD TAKE.  I WANTED TO GO BACK TO ANDY.  I TOLD MY TEACHER THIS AND SHE WOULD NOT RELENT.  I WAS HARRY WHETHER I LIKED IT OR NOT.  AND SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL.  ANDY WAS JUST FINE, AFTER ALL MY BEST FRIEND AT THAT TIME WAS CALLED HAL.  HE STILL IS ,CALLED HAL.  ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS SEEMED TO MELT AWAY WHEN SAM CAME TO HIS SENSES AND WE MOVED BACK TO N.E.  THERE I WAS, BACK IN THE CLASSROOM WITH ALL OF MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS.  EVERY GREAT THING THAT I HAD DONE UP UNTIL THIS POINT IN MY LIFE, HAD BEEN WITNESSED BY THESE PEOPLE.  THE ONES I HAPPILY LEFT BEHIND ,WERE UNIMPRESSED WITH ME AND THE FEELING WAS VERY MUTUAL.  LATER SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO CALLED ME HARRY BECAME VERY GOOD FRIENDS, WHEN WE WERE OLDER.  THEY CALLED ME ANDY THEN. 

TALK ABOUT CULTURE SHOCK, WE HIT KENNEDY JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL AT THE EXACT SAME TIME AS THE BEATLES.  IT HAD BEEN GOING  ON ALL SUMMER AND WE WERE FAINTLY AWARE OF THE STIR, AS THE JUKE BOX AT THE SMALL THREE LANE BOWLING ALLEY HAD A COUPLE OF BEATLE TUNES ON IT.  THE OLDER KIDS IN N.E. WERE UP TO SPEED.  WE THOUGHT THEM A LITTLE WEIRD ANYWAY.  SORT OF, MAYNARD G. KREBBS TYPES.  BEATNICKS WE CALLED THEM.  THEY WERE JUST A LITTLE OUT OF STEP.  IT WAS ABOUT THIS TIME, THAT I NOTICED THAT MORRELL'S BARBER SHOP WAS NOT QUITE AS CROWDED AS IT HAD ONCE BEEN.  CREW CUTS AND FLAT TOPS WERE BECOMING THE EXCEPTION, NOT THE RULE.  I NOTICED THIS BECAUSE I SHINED SHOES AT THE BARBER SHOP.   MR. MORRELL WOULD ALSO LET ME HELP MAKE FISHING PLUGS AND PROMISED TO TEACH ME HOW TO "TIE FLIES".  FISHING WAS ANOTHER ONE OF OUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES.  DANCING, LISTENING TO RECORDS AND TALKING TO GIRLS WAS OF LITTLE INTEREST TO US GUYS.  WE DID HOWEVER, SENSE THAT IT MIGHT BE SOON, SO WE DID SOME INVESTIGATING ON OUR OWN. 

AT KENNEDY, UNLIKE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, YOU ROTATED CLASSES AND TEACHERS.  THIS WAS GREAT.  WE FELT LIKE HIGH SCHOOLERS.  AT THE ALAMO 18 OR 20 PEOPLE WAS ALL A GUY HAD TO INTERACT WITH.  HERE IT WAS MORE LIKE HUNDREDS AND IT SEEMED LIKE THOUSANDS.  WOULD WE EVER BE ABLE TO FIND OUR WAY AROUND THIS LARGE EDUCATIONAL COMPLEX?  WISELY, THE ADMINISTRATION TRIED TO KEEP ALL OF US YOUNG FOLKS IN A FAIRLY CLOSE AREA.  THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 12 YEAR OLD AND A 14 YEAR OLD IS SIGNIFICANT AND WE WERE EASILY CONFUSED AS FRESHMEN IN THIS HEDDY SETTING.  THE SCHOOL ITSELF SEEMED SO MODERN COMPARED TO THE ALAMO.  AN ACTUAL LIBRARY, LABS, A LARGE GLASS LUNCHROOM.  IN THE CENTER OF THE SCHOOL WAS A GARDEN.  I DON'T BELIEVE I EVER SAW A LIVING SOUL IN THERE DURING MY THREE YEARS AT KENNEDY.  I BELIEVE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR BIOLOGY CLASS, BUT, YOU COULDN'T PROVE IT BY ME.  FOR ALL I KNOW UP UNTIL THIS DAY THE PRINCIPAL WAS GROWING MARIJUANA IN THERE TO SELL TO THE STUDENTS.  OF COURSE, IF HE WAS, HE WAS SELLING IT TO THE STUDENTS FROM AIKEN, BECAUSE WE HAD NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING IN  N.E.  WE SOON LEFT THE MOUSE ROLE IN OUR "CAT AND MOUSE" WORLD OF EDUCATION AND  BECAME FAMILIAR ENOUGH WITH OUR SURROUNDINGS TO GET AROUND WITHOUT ASSISTANCE. 

NEW EXPERIENCES WERE RUSHING AT US LIKE BUGS TO A WINDSHIELD.  WE SOON WITNESSED OUR FIRST FIGHT.  A VERY VIOLENT AFFAIR THAT LASTED ONLY A FEW SECONDS.  WHAT WE HAD CONSIDERED A FIGHT UP UNTIL THEN, WAS A "TUSSLING MATCH" THAT MIGHT LAST A WHOLE RECESS PERIOD OF 15 OR 20 MINUTES.  NOPE, THAT WAS CHILDS PLAY.  THIS WAS A FIGHT.  ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTERS I CAME TO KNOW AT THAT TIME WAS A GUY NAMED TOMMY JONES.  I BELIEVE HE MAY HAVE BEEN A COUPLE OF YEARS OLDER THAN MOST OF US IN THE 7TH GRADE.  HE DIDN'T SEEMED TO MIND HAVING SOME GUYS FROM N.E. HANGING AROUND WITH HIM AND HE WAS PRETTY BIG.  OF COURSE, LATER DURING OUR STAY AT KENNEDY, HE NEARLY BEAT A GROWN MAN TO DEATH, WHO TRIED TO INTERVENE IN A LITTLE FIST FIGHT TOMMY HAD GOING AFTER SCHOOL.  THE GUY GOT A LOT WORSE BEATING, THAN THE KID THAT TOMMY STARTED ON.  HE WAS THE UNDISPUTED HEAVY WEIGHT CHAMP AT KENNEDY AND IT DIDN'T TAKE HIM LONG TO ESTABLISH  THAT.  LATER IN HIGH SCHOOL WHILE AT FOOTBALL CAMP, ONE OF OUR NASTIER JUNIOR VARSITY FOOTBALL COACHES CHALLENGED TOMMY TO TRY AND WHIP HIM.  "DUB" WAS HIS NAME AND I AM NOT SURE THAT "DUB" KNEW WHO HE WAS FOOLING WITH.  "DUB" WAS TOUGH, BUT I BELIEVE THAT TOMMY COULD HAVE KICKED "DUB'S" ASS.  I KNOW A SMALL GROUP OF JV'ERS WOULD HAVE LOVED IT.  HE TORTURED US ON A DAILY BASIS.  TOMMY DIDN'T TAKE HIM UP ON IT AND I STILL WONDER WHY. 

GETTING BACK TO THE STORY.  WITH ALL OF THE NEW STUFF WE HAD ALREADY EXPERIENCED, ALONG CAME ONE OF THE BIGGEST SHOCK IN AN ADOLESCENT BOYS LIFE.  GYM CLASS AND GANG SHOWERS.  COACH DAWSEY DIDN'T HAVE MUCH SYMPATHY WITH THE PHILOSOPHY THAT I HAD BEEN RAISED WITH.  THAT BEING THAT, ONE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEIR NAKEDNESS.  NO.  "GET YOUR ASS IN THERE AND GET OUT"  AND "DON'T BE SNAPPIN' NO TOWELS IN THERE OR I'LL COME IN THERE WITH MY BOAT PADDLE".  WELL WE WEREN'T THERE VERY LONG BEFORE ANY DOUBT ABOUT THIS "BOAT PADDLE" COMMENT WAS ERASED.  HE DID HAVE ONE AND HE WOULD USE IT.  I CAN NOT FIGURE OUT WHY THOSE GUYS KEPT ASKING FOR IT.  IT WAS PRETTY PLAIN TO ME THAT HE MEANT WHAT HE SAID.  I NEVER PERSONALLY FELT THE BOAT PADDLE, BUT I DID WITNESS IT'S USE ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS. 

WELL, AT LEAST YOU GOT ANOTHER LOCKER.  A TALL ONE TO STORE YOUR CLOTHES DURING GYM CLASS AND THEN YOU STORED YOUR GYM CLOTHES THERE UNTIL THE NEXT DAY.  ANOTHER SMELL THAT IS ASSOCIATED WITH YOUTH.  THE SMELL OF A LOCKEROOM.  WELL, ABOUT THIS TIME A 12 OR 13 YEAR OLD BOY NOTICES THAT HE IS GROWING HAIR IN SOME VERY UNUSUAL PLACES.  THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN EMBARRASSING, IT BECAME HUMILIATING.  LIKE I SAID BEFORE, 12 AND 14 ARE VERY DIFFERENT.  THE 14'S WALKED ABOUT AS IF THEY WERE WAITING ON THE SCHOOL BUS.  THE 12'S TRIED TO BE A LITTLE MORE INCONSPICUOUS.  IN ABOUT A WEEK OR SO IT WAS REALIZED BY ALL, THAT WE ALL LOOK DIFFERENT WITH OUR CLOTHES OFF AND WE GOT USED TO IT.  IT WAS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT TO MOVE ALONG QUICK ENOUGH TO MISS THE "BOATING" ACTION FOR THE DAY.  AS IS THE CASE IN LIFE MANY TIMES, I HAVE COME TO LEARN, YOU CAN'T LET'EM SEE YOU SWEAT.  I DON'T KNOW THAT THIS IS STILL THE CASE , BUT I BET IT IS.

ANYWAY YOU GET THE SETTING.  LOCKEROOM, 7TH GRADE, NEW SCHOOL, NEW WAY OF LIFE.  IT WAS A GUY NAMED ALAN GREEN.  HE WAS FROM N.E.  HE WAS A PRETTY TOUGH GUY HIMSELF.  AS I RECALL HE WAS ABOUT THE ONLY ONE WHO EVER GAVE TOMMY MUCH OF A FIGHT.  HE FOUGHT IN SELF DEFENSE THOUGH , TOMMY FOUGHT FOR THE CONTACT.  HE HAD THE LOCKER NEXT TO MINE, OR SHOULD I SAY I HAD THE LOCKER NEXT TO HIS?  THE LOCATION WAS IMPORTANT ONLY IN THAT IT WAS CLOSE ENOUGH FOR ME TO SMELL WHAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.  I HAD SMELLED "OLE SPICE" AND "SKIN BRACER" BEFORE MANY TIMES AND WORKING AT MORRELL'S BARBER SHOP ALLOWED ME TO SMELL HAIR TONICS OF ALL KINDS.  MR. MORREL HAD ONE CALLED "SUR-LAY".  IT WAS PURPLE AND IT SMELLED OKAY.  THIS WAS DIFFERENT.  IT WASN'T JUST OKAY, IT SMELLED REALLY EXCELLENT.  I WAS IMPRESSED.  I KNEW RIGHT AWAY, THAT IF I HAD TO SMELL, THAT WAS WHAT I WANTED TO SMELL LIKE. 

I ASKED ALAN , WHO I KNEW FROM PEE WEE FOOTBALL , WHAT THE SMELL WAS.  HE SAID THAT IT WAS "ENGLISH LEATHER",  ALTHOUGH, I THINK I THOUGHT HE SAID "ENGLISH LATHER".  I DIDN'T KNOW EXACTLY ,BUT, I KNEW IT WAS GOOD ,WHATEVER IT WAS CALLED.  SO CLEAN.  I WATCHED AS HE REMOVED THE WOODEN TOP.  I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, "ISN'T IT NEAT, THE THREADS FOR THAT BOTTLE ARE CUT IN THE WOOD".  HE POURED SOME OUT OF THE LITTLE SQUARE BOTTLE WITH THE ROUND WOODEN TOP AND RUBBED IT ON HIS FACE.  SOME MORE WENT ON HIS CHEST AND ARMS.  STRANGE GOINGS ONS HERE.  I THOUGHT IF YOU CAN GO IN SMELLING SWEATY AND DIRTY AND SHOWER AND SPLASH A LITTLE OF THIS STUFF ON AND COME OUT SMELLING SO GOOD, WELL, IT WAS JUST THE GREATEST STUFF I HAD EVER HEARD OF OR SHOULD I SAY , SMELLED OF.   I ASKED ALAN WHERE HE HAD GOTTEN HIS "ENGLISH LEATHER".  HE TOLD ME HE THOUGHT THAT HIS MOM HAD PICKED IT UP AT WHITE'S.  WELL FOR A KID WHO THOUGHT THAT EVERYTHING ONE NEEDED IN LIFE COULD BE FOUND AT EITHER THE ECONOMY SUPPLY OR MADDOX SUPERMARKET, WHITE'S SEEMED TO BELONG IN PARIS OR NEW YORK.  NO, THERE WAS A WHITE'S IN AIKEN AND THEY DID SELL ENGLISH LEATHER , AND I WOULD GET SOME.  THERE WAS THE ISSUE OF THE PURCHASE PRICE.  THAT WOULD NOT BE A REAL PROBLEM..  THE INTRODUCTION HAD BEEN MADE AND IT HAS LASTED, AS AN ALWAYS PLEASANT MEMORY.

IT WAS PRETTY PLAIN TO ALL OF US N.E. KIDS THAT AIKEN KIDS WERE A LITTLE MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN WE WERE.  THEIR ENTIRE WARDROBE DID NOT CONSIST OF 3 PAIR OF JEANS AND 3 STRIPED TEE SHIRTS AND ALL OF THEIR SHOES DIDN'T HAVE A BLUE RUBBER STICKERS ON THE HEEL THAT SAID "KEDS".  SHOES, ANOTHER STORY.  I KNEW THAT I WAS GOING TO HAVE TROUBLE WITH THIS ENGLISH LEATHER THING WHEN I TALKED TO MR. MORRELL ABOUT IT.  VITALIS OR SUR-LAY WAS ALL A REALLY MANLY MAN NEEDED.  ANYTHING ELSE WAS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY.  I THINK SAM SENSED THAT SOMETHING WAS AFOOT.  HE TRIED, I BELIEVE, TO IGNORE THE SIGNS OF THE UPCOMING TURMOIL. 

THANK GOODNESS I WAS AT HOME BY MYSELF.  THE PHONE RANG.  "HELLO" SOMEONE SAID.  "IS YOUR MOM OR DAD HOME"? THEY ASKED.  "NOPE, BUT I AM,  CAN I HELP YOU"?  "WELL I DON'T KNOW " THE CALLER SAID, "I MAY BE ABLE TO HELP YOU".  IT WAS WLOW, CAROUSEL RADIO.  THE LITTLE AM STATION IN AIKEN THAT PLAYED PRETTY GOOD MUSIC AS FAR AS I KNEW.  I HAD HEARD A COUPLE OF BEATLE TUNES ON THEIR STATION.  IT WAS A CONTEST.  ALL I HAD TO DO WAS GIVE THIS GUY THE PHONE NUMBER TO THE PIGGLY WIGGLY AND I COULD WIN ALL OF THE MONEY IN THE JACKPOT.  ABOUT $13.25, AS BEST AS I CAN RECALL.  A FORTUNE MORE OR LESS.  THE MERCHANTS HAD DISTRIBUTED  LITTLE FLIERS WITH ALL OF THEIR ADS AND PHONE NUMBERS ON THEM.  I DIDN'T HAVE ONE.  HE GAVE ME A CHANCE ANYWAY.  I LOOKED DOWN AND TO MY SURPRISED THE PHONE BOOK LAY ON THE COUNTER RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  IN THOSE DAYS EVERY PHONE NUMBER IN NEW ELLENTON WAS CONTAINED ON ABOUT 4 OR 5 PAGES.  WE KEPT THE NEW ELLENTON SECTION MARKED OFF WITH A PAPER CLIP.  THE CALLER GAVE ME 5 SECONDS TO GIVE HIM THE PHONE NUMBER.  I PICKED UP THE BOOK AND LO AND BEHOLD THE THING OPENED TO THE VERY PAGE WHERE PIGGLY WIGGLY WAS IN BIG BOLD BLACK NUMBERS.  I SPIT IT OUT TO HIM.  WELL I'LL BE DOG GONE.  HE OWED ME THE JACKPOT AND I WANTED IT, RIGHT THEN.  I HAD PLANS FOR IT.  WELL NO, THEY WOULD MAIL IT TO ME.  WELL, IF THAT WAS THE ONLY WAY I COULD GET IT, I WOULD WAIT.  I DIDN'T EVEN THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT I WAS ON "LIVE" RADIO FOR THE FIRST TIME.  THIS ALONE WOULD HAVE GIVEN ME SEMI-CELEBRITY STATUS FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS, BUT I HAD WON.  I ABSOLUTELY LEPT WITH JOY. 

WHEN SAM GOT HOME I IMMEDIATELY TOLD HIM WHAT MY PLANS WERE.  FIRST "ENGLISH LEATHER" AND THEN SOMETHING ELSE.  I DON'T REMEMBER WHAT THE SOMETHING ELSE WAS.  PROBABLY A BEATLES ALBUM.  HE AGREED HALFHEARTEDLY.  I BELIEVE HE LECTURED ME ON THE WISDOM OF SAVING FOR A RAINY DAY.  RAINY DAY HELL, I WAS IN A VERITABLE MONSOON OF HORMONES.  I  THOUGHT, "SOMETHING IS HAPPENING AND I AM UP FOR ALL OF IT, RIGHT NOW."  

WELL, AFTER WHAT SEEMED LIKE AN ETERNITY THE CHECK CAME.  HOW WAS I GONNA TO TURN THIS CHECK INTO CASH OR BETTER YET "ENGLISH LEATHER".  THAT WAS WHERE SAM HAD ME.  HE WOULD TAKE CARE OF THAT FOR ME.  I DIDN'T CARE.  SAM PACKED ME UP AND WE WENT TO A STORE IN AIKEN.  I AM ALMOST SURE THAT IT WAS WHITE'S.  I DO REMEMBER THAT IT WAS NEAR WHERE THE COMMERCIAL HOTEL IS NOW AND I AM SURE THE COMMERCIAL WAS THERE THEN SO I MIGHT BE CONFUSED.  IT WAS ACROSS THE ROAD FROM WHAT I WOULD LATER LEARN TO BE "CITY BILLIARDS".  I EXPERIENCED THE SMELL OF CHALK AND DRAFT BEER IN THAT BUILDING JUST A FEW YEARS LATER.  WE FOUND WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR.  SAM KNEW ABOUT MEN'S COLOGNE. HE ALSO KNEW ABOUT LOTS OF OTHER STUFF, THAT I DIDN'T KNOW HE KNEW.  IT WAS EVEN BETTER THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE.  NOT ONLY DID ENGLISH LEATHER HAVE A WOODEN TOP, IT CAME IN A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE WOODEN BOX.  THE BOX SMELLED OF THE COLOGNE.  ANOTHER THING I REMEMBER WAS THAT THERE WAS A ENGLISH LEATHER DISPLAY IN THE WINDOW OF THIS STORE.  I WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE FASCINATED BY IT'S CLEAN, MANLY SMELL.  IT WAS DONE.  AS WE STEPPED FROM THE STORE WE RAN INTO A GUY SAM WORKED WITH, THAT HAD A SON A LITTLE OLDER THAN ME, BUT, STILL IN SCHOOL.  THE CONVERSATION LED TO WHAT WE WERE PURCHASING.  I AM NOT SURE IF SAM'S VOICE HAD EMBARRASSMENT OR DREAD IN IT WHEN HE EXPLAINED "ENGLISH LEATHER" FOR THE KID.  AFTER ALL IN THE 12 YEARS LEADING UP UNTIL NOW, I HAD NEVER BEFORE CARED "HOW I SMELLED".  THE MAN SAID HIS SON LOVED USING THE STUFF AND HE THOUGHT IT SMELLED PRETTY GREAT HIMSELF.  THIS STATEMENT,  FOR SOME REASON SEEMED TO RELIEVE SAM.  HE LATER TOOK ME TO A MEN'S STORE ON LAURENS AND INTRODUCED ME TO A GUY NAMED "SMITTY".  "SMITTY" SOLD ME MY FIRST OXFORD SHIRT AND CLUB TIE.  OF COURSE, TO GO WITH THESE, I HAD TO HAVE A PAIR OF "BASS WEEJUNS".  THAT'S ANOTHER STORY.


DISPLACED: THE UNEXPECTED FALLOUT FROM THE COLD WAR.
A NEW DOCUMENTARY BY SCRAPBOOK VIDEO PRODUCTIONS. PREMIERING MARCH 20, 2009.

HOME I CALENDAR I TIMELINE I GALLERY I CONTACT I PURCHASE DVD I VIEW TRAILER-
-

<bgsound src="track7.mp3" loop="infinite" />