I clutched my one dollar allowance as I rode my blue bike with multi-colored plastic handle bar streamers to Woolworth’s to buy my favorite perfume. I loved to hear the clickity-click of the cards that were in my spokes as I rode along. I was prepared for shopping with my white basket, painted with pink and yellow flowers adorning the front. The birds were singing, and so was my heart.
It was a warm Saturday in 1958—a great day for a twelve-year-old. As I pedaled, I imagined the sweet lingering smell of roses in the Blue Waltz perfume and saw the heart-shaped bottle with the blue top. I had tested every bottle the week before, but this was the only fit for me to wear to the seventh grade dance. It was my first bottle of perfume, and it had to be the right one.
I parked my bike and raced inside to the perfume counter. My heart dropped. Where was it? I looked for the blue top. “Please,” I asked the saleslady in panic. “Could you help me find some Blue Waltz Perfume?” She looked through all the colorful bottles and titles—pink, amber, and blue ones with special names like Perfect Rose or Midnight in Paris, but no Blue Waltz. She saw the tear that ran down my cheek.
“Wait a minute!” she exclaimed. “Last night when we were closing, I saw a bottle under the counter that another clerk was saving for a customer, but she never returned for it. It’s yours.” I held out my dollar, and walking to my bike, pressed the bag with the sacred scent close to me. I opened the bottle for one intoxicating whiff before putting into my basket and pedaling home.