Monday, November 22, 2010

What I Love, #6

I love Ivory soap.

I don't particularly think it's the best soap- it doesn't create many suds, it doesn't get rid of anything oil-based, and it's very mild. It has a pleasant scent, I suppose, but as a soap, it doesn't have the qualities that I really appreciate (chemicals that will scour everything off of me).

However, I will always love Ivory soap because it reminds me of my maternal grandmother, who passed away rather unexpectedly a few years ago. She was the perfect epitome of a grandmother- jolly, always had candy, made copious amounts of food, and had a laugh that could carry for what seemed like miles.

Being Asian, my grandmother was very wrinkle-free, save for her laugh lines that creased around her eyes. She had smooth, chubby cheeks that bounced when she chortled, eyes that became half-moons when she smiled.

Grams (what my sister and I call her when we speak about her in English) looked like a cartoon character- she had a roly-poly middle that tapered into fragile wrists and ankles. She had the smallest little feet, and always picked her way delicately across rooms. She always had a distinct smell, as everybody does, but when I suddenly catch a whiff of something that reminds me of her, I am always instantly brought to tears.

I miss my grandmother terribly- though she and my mother were really nothing alike (my mother looks like a female clone of her father, and they have the same personality, to boot), she raised my mommy. There is something to that link. I think in the love, stress, pressure, protectiveness, and nurturing that she delivered to my mother, she also delivered to me, but without the stress or pressure. That's what grandparents are, to me- unconditional love, as from a parent to a child, but without the worries and the scolding.

I needed to buy soap (I need bar soap in my house at all times, as well as body wash) and while I was wandering around Target, I came across Ivory soap. The little cakes are not what I remember- they used to be smoother, didn't they? with nicely beveled edges?- but the smell is the same. I will forever remember my grandmother telling my mother (nagging, really) that we, her granddaughters, should use Ivory soap to wash our faces. This was when we were in Korea, the year between my fifth and sixth grades. I won't ever forget using Ivory soap in her house, in that strange bathroom (I wasn't used to Korean bathrooms at the time).

Though I didn't live in the same country as her and I only saw her infrequently, at best, I am so glad that even something as mundane as soap can instantly remind me of my grandmother.