by Joann Braswell
(Macon, Georgia-United States)
You wouldn't imagine that a child of two and a half could recollect or describe a particular smell from memory. Even though, at that age, I had not developed the vocabulary to name the smell, I couldn't get that scent out of my head. I associated that smell with the wonderful nurse who took care of me when I was placed in an isolated hosipital room to die.
The year was 1954. I was only two and half years old when I came down with tuberculosis. I was taken away from my small rural home to a hospital miles away in Rome, Georgia. I was put in a ward with other children who were sufferring from the same disease. I was not allowed to see my mother who was in the same hospital. She also had tuberculosis.
I learned to adapt to my new surrounding, and I became quite the entertainer for the other children. I loved to sing. One night, the house mother placed me on top of a milk crate and had me to sing for the other children. I kept singing one song after another, but later on that night I became violently ill. I was throwing up bags of blood. I was rushed off to the isolated ward where they put all kinds of tubes in my small body. I heard my Japanese doctor say that I wouldn't make it. This nurse came in to take care of me.
I could barely see her face, but I smelled the fragrance of her perfume. It reminded me of the fresh flowers in my gradmother's garden. This nurse did not give up on me.
Every night I looked forward to her visit. A month later, I got better. I never saw her again.
When I got older, I was at a store sampling different scents of perfume. I ran across one that reminded me of the same fragrant that this nurse wore, it was called "Jasmine." It has been my favorite perfume since then.