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Friday, July 24, 2015

Sweetheart soap and other pleasant things


I took Emily and Laura to work with me this morning because no one would be home. Laura slipped into the front seat. As we were backing out of the garage, I sniffed a couple of times and finally said, “You smell nice.” This is not like “You look nice,” which would have elicited a smile. It embarrassed her and she looked away.

As I turned the car around and the nice smell wafted on the breezes from the open windows, it struck me. “You smell like Sweetheart soap.” I stopped the car to for a minute for a couple more inhales. Laura was so embarrassed, she looked away. All the way up our street I rhapsodized about Sweetheart soap at my great grandma’s house. She did not look at me all the way to work.



Look at that bar of soap. That’s exactly how my great grandma’s bathroom looked. The bathroom was huge, converted from a bedroom when indoor plumbing came along at the turn of the previous century. Big claw foot tub with a wire soap hanger over the edge. A porcelain sink big enough to bathe a baby. Nickle plated fixtures, the hot and cold handles with little ceramic labels inside captain wheel taps. The rubber sink stopper on a chain. And, the Sweetheart soap, there on the right, in another wire holder.

Grandma's Cox's sink was a huge oval. I couldn't find one, so think big on this.

From the time I could step on the stool and wash my own hands, I knew that soap was the smell of goodness. It smelled like Grandma Cox, and I could take it away on my hands. Not like that brown stuff, Camay, my mom had at home. I boarded with Grandma Cox the first year I was in college, so I have a long history with that soap. I have no idea what Laura uses in the shower, but I may track down a bar of Sweetheart soap for her for Christmas.

In other nice things, Laura, Emily and I are all leaving town next week. Emily is going to band camp, Laura is going to horse camp with Cousin Caroline, who is an old hand at horse camp and champing to show Laura what it’s all about. And, I’m taking my camera and going to Wisconsin. After an extremely intense and unhappy executive session at the township this week, the trustees wished me a good trip, and one trustee wistfully said, “I’ve always wanted one of those cheese head hats.” We all looked and he mumbled, “I just think they’re cool.”

He is the director of our library and runs a great children's program. He came to another very important board meeting this week in his best batman tee shirt. It was the children’s talent program day at the library. We just let all the VIP’s in the meeting conclude for themselves this trustee knows his township business, too. I’ll bring him the hat, and he will say, “Holy cheese head hat, Robin.”


35 comments:

  1. I remember sweetheart soap!! And that lovely smell! Have a good trip. Sounds like fun!

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  2. I'll have to track down a bar. My father's mother used a lavender coloured bar that I think was also Sweetheart soap. I found some Pear's soap, which my maternal grandmother often used, and I think of her every time I wash my hands.

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  3. If I didn't make soap myself, I might track down Sweetheart. My grandma too always had it in her bathroom, along with all her Avon stuff... lots of Avon. She sold it. I love the task backslash on that sink. We have an old one waiting to be installed that has the same type of backslash. What a great idea that was!

    Band camp and horse camp sound like fun, but I'd choose horse camp!

    Did your grandma use Fels Naptha for laundry?

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    1. I'd forgotten the Fels Naptha. Actually that bathroom had a door less than five feet high, like my Grandma. Steps went down to a small circular room, probably dug when the bathroom was put in. The small room was lined with bricks and contained a wringer washer. Why there, I wonder. It could not have been any housewife's dream.

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  4. Hari oM
    Now I am intrigued... is the soap in the region of 'imperial leather' odoriferous, or are we talking more 'lily of the valley' (each of my grandmothers were one of these!)??? Oh for smelly-net... Have a super trip Joanne; bring us back plenty (noncheesy) photos!!! Huggies, YAM xx

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    1. It's not lily of the valley. I can only say, it's Sweetheart soap. I'll try to smell Laura tonight, when I deliver her to Aunt Beth's. If she even sits in the front seat, after this morning's embarrassment.

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  5. Sounds like that trustee is the King of Whimsey. I like him from afar.

    Sweetheart soap!! This immediately takes me to 1950-something and my Girl Scout troop. Our leader's perennial Christmas project was painting all the curlicues and dots on a bar of soap (with what paint, I now wonder?) and we'd all go home bearing our bars proudly as gifts for mom or grandmom.

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  6. Enjoy your trip! I'm sure the girls will enjoy their adventures too :) I am not sure I am familiar with Sweetheart soap; but it does sound wonderful based on your description of it.

    betty

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  7. Such memories, Joanne! I will have to find a bar of Sweetheart soap next shopping time.

    An elderly "tramp" (can't think of a correct word) walked from our small town to another (15 miles), stopping at every farm house on the way, to sell that soap. And he would collect bottles along the road. He did this for years. Mom would always give him a cup of coffee, a slice of pie, when we bought 2 bars of soap.

    Have a great time in Wisconsin!

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  8. Fun how a simple smell brings back so many memories.

    The thing I liked about those old rubber stoppers was unlike the fancy stoppers today they WORKED!

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  9. Not a soap I know.
    Smells are one of THE most powerful memory triggers aren't they? For good and for bad.
    I hope all of you have a wonderful week away.

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  10. I like the smell and feel of soap too it brings back memories of my Aunties place she had a old fashioned bathroom too not huge but wit all the old fixtures and it always smelt of soap.
    Merle......

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  11. Sweetheart soap, Camay, and Ivory. They are the smells of our childhoods. I di not realize that they still made Sweetheart soap.

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    1. EMMA... sweetheart soap is no longer made. I WOULD BUY A TRUCK LOAD IF IT WAS STILL MADE.The fragrance was out of this world.At one time one could purchase the soap from "The Vermont Store".I don't think they carry it any more.

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  12. Funny how a smell can trigger a memory.

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  13. Every now and then, my nose is filled with teddy bear-shaped soap smell from my childhood. I know what you mean.

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  14. Have a wonderful trip and take lots of pictures.

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  15. Oh yes..I remember that soap....it came in lilac scent and before i became allergic to scent I absolutely loved the stuff.

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  16. Somehow our scent memory is better than any other kind. Funny how a whiff can trigger a whole scenario like your recollection of the details of your grandmother's bathroom. Hope you post some Wisconsin photos when you get back.

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    1. And hello to you. If you're back from camp, summer must be almost over!

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  17. Smells are so evocative, in both good and bad ways. I like to have the good ones surround me. I don't think I've ever run into Sweetheart soap, but now I wish I had!

    Have a good trip. I love that you're going to get that guy a cheese head hat. Please report back :)

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  18. I, too, as someone mentioned above, used to paint the curlicues and dots on the soap using silver and gold paint. The little paint bottles were the same used to paint model cars like my brother built. My aunt taught me to cut out flowers from greeting cards and glue it on the soap to cover up the name. I can only imagine my poor painting skills. My mother kept it in the bathroom, though. Oh, the things we keep around from our kids.

    Have a great trip.

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  19. Not sure if my nose knows Sweetheart but do know that out smellers can take us back many generations and scenarios. Wonder what Laura actually used? I am sure she would tell you. How I wish I could jump on the wisconsin bus. My heart with be traveling with you. Be safe, say hi to all humans and pets and have a wonderful restful time. See you when you return.

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  20. I remember Sweetheart soap, Joanne, and I always loved it! Thanks so much for taking me back in time, I really enjoyed, and needed this moment tonight.

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  21. Sweetheart soap sounds divine. Good trips to one and all x

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  22. I remember Sweetheart Soap... although we used Camay.......... and my Grandma used Palmolive (wasn't that the one that was red in color?). That one was on the washstand (pan of water set on a wooden stand.. towel along the edge... mirror on the wall... so guys could see to shave)... and Grandma used Woodbury for her personal use. Your blog sure brings back some memories! Mum deorderant! What was the perfume that was in a blue bottle and you could buy it at Woolworth's?

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  23. I do not remember Sweetheart Soap, but I do remember Camay. I loved that smell.

    Have a great trip to Wisconsin, Joanne.

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  24. Sweetheart soap....WOW. It was a staple in our house. That for us and Lava for the hired men.....

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  25. I've never heard of Sweetheart soap, but we've had Camay here in Australia. Not for many years now, but I remember my dad buying it, it only came in pink. When it was discontinued, he bought Cashmere Bouquet, it was awful, I hated that smell. Palmolive green will always remind me of mum.

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  26. Enjoy your trip to Wisconsin and take lots of photos to post, too.

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  27. fragrances are often overlooked and some fragrances bring back memories of those long since gone. All the senses should be enjoyed I think.

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  28. Hope you enjoy Wisconsin. Over here we have something called "Wrights Coal Tar Soap" (do you have it in the States?) and that has an aroma that always transports me back 50b years or more.

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  29. don't know sweetheart soap. but I do remember loving my mother's While Shoulders cologne. so old fashioned. I love fragrant soap and have found a woman who makes goat's milk soap. it is so yummy.

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  30. I've never heard of Sweetheart soap either. Now I'm really curious. I'll keep my eyes open for it.

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