I perused the aisle of cold and allergy related products and discovered Sinex by Vicks. I didn’t realize that Vicks still made products. It cost $6.—so I purchased it. When I sprayed it into my nostrils, a myriad of childhood memories emerged.
When I was 4 years old, Grandpa cared for me. He had a special treatment for colds. First, I enjoyed a warm bowl of homemade chicken soup—one of Grandpa’s signature recipes for a cold. Soon, I was dressed in my pajamas but the tops were delayed in being put on while Grandpa slathered this cool petroleum jelly which had a strong menthol scent all over my chest and neck. The aroma filled the whole room. When Grandpa placed the pajama tops on and buttoned them up, the jelly magically became warm and soothing. Then a towel was wrapped around my neck and pinned shut.
If I had a congested cold, Grandpa would get a large pot of hot water and spoon off some Vicks in it. I would place my head over it with a towel draped over my head and inhale deep breaths.
Finally, Grandpa tucked me into bed to have a good night’s rest and recover from the cold. I fell asleep feeling cared for and loved. I often felt much better in the morning when I woke up. If not—I could look forward to more loving care from Grandpa with assistance from Vicks and chicken soup to pamper me back to health.
I was glad that Vicks Vaporub still existed so that more children and adults could experience these strong olfactory memories that conjured up so much nurturing in me.