Leather and Ozone

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Reader’s Digest asked it’s readers to finish the following question

“The smell of my childhood is…”

Leather and ozone.

Growing up, I lived near a store named Haggerty’s Department Store in Rapid City. Haggerty’s was a local department store that carried clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, home goods, and musical instruments in the back. The also carried shoes.

I loved going into this store. The air smelled of fresh leather. It was stronger as you entered near the back entrance, but it was noticeable either way. It was a crisp scent, mixed with the air conditioned air. It was overwhelming initially, and eventually acclimated to a pleasing aroma that followed you out the door as you left.

I loved going into this store. The music department was a fun and interesting place to wander around in and touch. I couldn’t play the instruments, but they were shiny and wonderful. They smelled of leather.

I loved going into this store. The boy’s department eventually turned into the men’s department. We couldn’t afford the clothes in this store, but occasionally something special would come. I recall buying a belt in this store. It smelled of leather.

I loved going into this store. The ladies department was boring and uninviting to a young boy, but my grandma loved the clothes here. She couldn’t afford this store either, but she would happily spend time browsing through the racks. They smelled like leather.

I loved going into this store. My best friend Vic shopped here often. He would stop in and pick up random clothes as he needed them. I remember his buying a pair of shoes here once. They smelled of leather.

I loved going into this store. It was bright and friendly. It has a multitude of items to look at and it was inviting. I loved the fact that it had a front and back door. It always smelled of leather.

I have never smelled the same combination of leather and ozone since. The store is closed now. A grocery store now occupies the building that it was in. Unfortunately, it no longer smells of leather.

Bound memories

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m9867aMy grandma’s bathroom was nothing special. It was a small room with green carpet, the kind that was popular in the 70’s and 80’s. It had a formica sink in a small vanity and a bathtub with no shower. She had a selection of little soaps that she had collected over the years. They had a small layer of dust on them as they were not to be used, only enjoyed.

A small radio hung from the cabinet. It housed a toilet paper roll, although the radio never picked up any stations. The closet held the usual amount of items, including towels; soaps; and personal hygiene products. The toilet had a fuzzy cover over the lid, making it fall while it was up – which was challenging for a boy to go pee.

Beside the stool, in a little wooden container, lived her Reader’s digests. This little magazine in this little bathroom brings back memories for me. I would steal moments of time reading her copies. I fell in love with this magazine in her bathroom. The stories were entertaining and simple. The jokes tickled me and the stories made me smile.

Twenty-five years later, I am a subscriber to Reader’s digest. In this day, I can get information electronically at the touch of a cell-phone button. Television has 200 channels and runs 24-hours a day. But this little magazine, full of stories and jokes, quotes and quizzes, still attracts my attention.

I collect the issues and read them when I can. The magazine reminds me of simpler times. It reminds me of my grandma. The stories are both current and nostalgic. They make me smile and they make me cry. They make me think and they make me forget. I read them, dog-ear the issues where I have been, and I tear out the pages. I use the stories to provide motivation or insight. I find interesting ideas to use and I find fun ideas to implement. I have a file of pages the I have torn out that I plan on using to help me make this blog wonderful.

Reader’s digest is a wonderful memory to me. I am so happy that in this digital age, it is still printed in it’s traditional size. It fits just right in the basket that I keep next to my toilet in my little bathroom.