Jicky is a spunky, sassy, gorgeous scent (Guerlain 1889). I’ve read that it’s a predecessor of Shalimar and I can see how that olfactory evolutionary connection is made ( it also reminds me a bit of other Guerlains actually – Vol de Nuit and Chamade) but I don’t think it is at all fusty or less rambunctious than Shalimar actually… It’s a bit wilder almost than Shalimar to my nose. There’s the note of leather combined with basil, bergamot, Brazilian rosewood and sandalwood (or is it the jasmine too or no?) that seems almost animalic. If Shalimar is a flapper than Jicky is a naughty socialite from the Victorian Era who carefully guards her secrets under a cloud of elegant Guerlinade to protect her reputation. Many also claim to detect a strong note of vanilla, especially in the drydown, and while I can certainly detect it, I find it overpowered by the other more powdery, saucy notes.
No, Jicky is not a prim and proper scent, unless you neglect to read past the first lines…
Top notes: rosemary, bergamot, lemon and mandarin. Middle notes: orris root, rose, vetiver, tonka bean, jasmine and basil. Base notes: benzoin, amber, sandalwood, leather, civet, spices, vanilla and Brazilian rosewood.
Lil’ and Lex: Part III of IV
It was a cloudy, overcast day in late June when I found my Grandma Dory sitting in her room staring at a photo album while she sat on her bed at the nursing home. Her hair was still in curlers and she sat with a cup of hot tea at her side, her blinds still drawn shut as tears fell down her cheeks.
“What’s wrong Grandma?”
She turned her face away and tried to compose herself as quickly as she could before responding. “Oh, I’m just being a sentimental fool. That’s all kiddo.”
Grandma Dorothy shakes her head and then meets my eyes. I can see that far away look behind the shades of blue and it instantly hits me that she might be thinking about “him” again. How fortuitous….
“What’s that album of?”
She suddenly smiles and shrugs. I sit on the bed next to her and ask, “Can I look at it too?” She pushes it in my direction in response.
“Those are photos of your Grandma before she got old and ugly.”
I look up at her and smile, “Grandma you could never be ugly.”
She grins sweetly in response and doesn’t even attempt a witty, sarcastic comeback. I can tell that she really is deeply affected by whatever is in this album and the memories that go with it…
Then I see Lex. He’s gorgeous. And I see Grandma and she’s breathtaking and I stop. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen my Grandma Dorothy looking this happy or beautiful in any other photo I’ve ever seen of her. That feels tragic to me…
“Who are these photos of?”
“You know who they’re of.” She looks at me and grins knowingly. I’m shocked.
“How did you know that I knew?!”
She taps her head. “You’re a very perceptive girl. I just knew.” She glances at me and for a second I feel outside of time. I feel the wonderful weight of familial love and a sense of perspective often sadly lost in most everyday moments.
“So what happened?!”
“You want to talk about it, huh?” It’s about right now that Grandma would have lit a cigarette and started puffing away with almost menacing sharpness, but she didn’t smoke anymore.
“I do. Is that bad?”
“No, I suppose I need to tell someone. I told your Aunt Carol some of it,” she looks off now and murmurs to the side with a bit of irony and mirth, “maybe she told you too.”
“I had a wild, wonderful romance with a boy named Lex in the late 1930’s. I met him at a spring party at my Uncle Lester, your Great Great Uncle Lester’s place in Vermont. We started talking and we found we had so much in common. He was raised in California too but had family back east, and he was the best conversationalist. I fell madly in love with him the minute he opened his mouth…”
“He died in World War II though right?”
“Yes, he did…” Silence.
I look around the room at the cool shades of blue and white that surround us. Soft fabrics drape over hard surfaces and pops of yellow add hope and light to the quiet, serene elegance of my Grandma Dorothy’s decorating. A bouquet of bright yellow daffodils catch my eye and retain my attention long enough for my Grandma to notice.
“He was the love of my life,” She says bluntly and draws my focus back toward her face.
“More so than my Grandpa?” I ask just as bluntly in reponse.
“More so than any man ever. He was just the best…”
“When you die, I hope you meet him in heaven,” I say quietly.
Dorothy shifts her head to the side and a whimsical, telling look lights her face. “Oh, I think I will. I just wish it didn’t mean saying goodbye to all of you…”
The ride home from the nursing home that day was speechless. My father and I didn’t say a word to each other. I just stared out the window and thought about what would happen the day Dorothy left us.