My mama worked very hard all her life. She was an amazing cook, and her cakes and pies would make you weep. Her cornbread was so good people would come to the restaurant where she worked and order a slice of cornbread with a cup of coffee as a treat. Most of the time my mama smelled of the things she worked with. Good wholesome food, vanilla, cinnamon and sometimes coffee. A devout gardener, sometimes she smelled of earth and plants. Fruit and delicious things she’d grown. A pragmatic woman, she seldom indulged herself in much, but she loved three things; red lipstick, beautiful lingerie and the fragrance Tabu. She had slips that were so elegant they would be worn as evening wear today. My all time favorite was chocolate brown and it had four inches of the most amazing lace on the border. We buried her in a fabulous yellow suit, with that gorgeous slip underneath. But more than anything I will always associate my mama with Tabu; the fragrance and the lipstick.
I remember the violin shaped bottle on her dresser, and every now and then she’d take a long soaking bath, slip into one of her beautiful pieces of lingerie and spritz on some Tabu. I guess these days we’d call it “self-care,” but I think sometimes she just wanted to remind herself that she was a beautiful woman. Not just mama. Not just the chief cook and bottle washer. But a woman in her own right.
I read an article about the fragrance today. The designer was told to create a fragrance for a prostitute or puta, hence the name Tabu. That made me laugh out loud. Mama was always such a lady, but I’d like to think she would get a similar kick out of the history of her favorite fragrance.
Today I ordered a bottle of Tabu. I love a red lipstick too. My favorite is Revlon Cherries in the Snow. I doubt if I’ll ever find any lingerie as beautiful as hers, and I must admit I feel incredibly womanly in a pair of delicious cotton pjs. Still I’ll buy one sinfully beautiful gown in her honor. For remembrance. This bond of womanhood that we have, and that will never be broken. I understand so many things now that were dark and mysterious when I was a child. And the memory. Tabu.