conjures up a whiff of the past like the sense of smell.
Aside from destroying thousands of brain cells, a sniff of Tabu
perfume takes me back to my eighth grade year. Tabu was dark,
heavy and thick, and could strip the membranes from a nose in
three seconds flat. My older sisters stashed it away in the bathroom
cabinet, right beside the Emeraude, the Arpege and My Sin. No
wonder my mother anguished over her daughters, with the lascivious
potion they were dabbing behind their ears.
And then the pristine White Shoulders came along, in an apparent
attempt to preserve the purity of the '60s girls, but who were
they kidding? The delicate Victorian lure of White Shoulders led
more teens to Lovers Lane than Tabu ever dreamed of. One whiff
of White Shoulders, and my sisters drooling dates scooped
them up in their arms and whisked them away, like any true knight
No, desire wasnt truly squelched until the designer collections
made their debut. These perfumes consisted of a mere name: Bill
Blass, Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, and Ralph Lauren. Sure, they
smelled OK, and they were certainly trendy, but the passion was
not in the bottle. Tabu, be it ever so heavy, would take you there,
all the way to desperate searches for hicky-hiding turtlenecks,
and sometimes all the way to the delivery room.
I received my early lessons in love from watching behind the scenes.
I viewed these clandestine scenes from a chair in my bedroom,
where I would stand on tiptoe and stare into the mirror above
the mantel in the living room, which was conveniently located
in front of the happening place, otherwise known as the couch.
It was great stuff, yet sometimes predictable. My oldest sister
would sit there with her boyfriend, reeking of Tabu and staring
into his pleading eyes. Then they would kiss and tenderly place
their hands on each others cheeks and ever so slowly but
oh so predictably, would slide out of view, into a semi-reclining
position on the arm of the couch.
The middle sister, interestingly, would do the same thing as the
older sister. Were they genetically programmed to gaze, kiss,
touch cheeks and recline? Where was their sense of creativity
and adventure? It was obvious they had watched way too many episodes
of All My Children.
I wanted some real action. Just once, I wanted my mother to dash
out of her bedroom in her pink sponge hair curlers and Ponds
cold cream slathered on her face. I wanted my father to lunge
out with his hair sticking up like a troll on Brylcreem and say,
Just what are you two doing out here? Is there a sign that
says 'orgy' in our living room? And young lady, whats that
blob on your neck? I dont recall you being born with a pond-shaped
And then my sister would plead, It was the Tabu, Daddy.
We just couldnt help ourselves. Please dont be mad
at us! We were under the spell!
And then, in a simple twist of fate, my father could have leaned
over to my mother and whispered, Where the hell does she
keep that stuff?
It could have happened.
Anonymous Mother has lived in the middle Tennessee area most
of her life. Her weekly column, The Anonymous Mother,
has been published in The Daily Herald in Columbia, Tennessee,
since July 2000. In addition to the weekly column, she also writes
feature stories for area newspapers, and she will soon complete
her first novel.
Anonymous Mother is actually a normal person, complete with husband,
kids and cats. It was on a day back in February 1997 that the
idea struck her: I am going to write a column called The Anonymous
Mother, and the rest will be history. A friend took a photograph
of her new persona, then drew the sketch from it that now appears
beside her weekly column.
sketch seems to provide ample identity in itself, for The Anonymous
Mothers readers often e-mail her, indicating a bond with
both her and her writing. Many of them specifically request that
she never reveal her true identity, and for now she is honoring
is a big no-no in publishing, she says, but somehow
this works. The mystique has created a certain appeal that allows
for a freer voice through which others can vicariously live. I
write about the things people feel but are often unable to express,
and this provides much-needed relief for us all.
Anonymous Mother Website
The Anonymous Mother
The Anonymous Mother