I recall one very hot day when my
parents were in the jeep heading out the pipeline road towards
Dabajuro on a picnic/hunting trip and my brother and I came
along. It was one of those days during depths of the dry-season
when the cattle died of starvation and the lack of water
and the sweet stench of death hung in the air anywhere you
saw buzzards clustering on the little breeze there was.
We caught a whiff of something sweet
in the air and in this case it was like orchids but not
quite. As we drove along the scent became stronger and eventually
we could see a cab in the distance going in the same direction.
The scent was quite nice and clearly it was emanating from
the cab and the source was identified as we came upon the
cab -- It was the cologne that the passenger had on. The
guy was dressed in whites with a white Panama hat. Dad drove
You see, when one did not have water
to bathe in one resorted to the use of colognes for special
occasions and that was very common in the early years in
Venezuela. Not unlike most of the French and the Germans
I knew when in the Military Service in Europe in the late
‘60s who, only when they absolutely had to, applied
cologne except they had water.
Anyway, that was all there was to
that day that I recall. I did not think it had made that
much of an impression on me until I was in a Hecht’s
department store in Baltimore about 1970 and I am a sucker
for nice men's colognes and I was testing the samples at
the counter when I held a bottle of cologne to my nose and
took a whiff and I stood there having a flash-back where
momentarily I was in the jeep looking at the guy in the
cab on the Dabajuro road. It was the cologne that I had
smelled on the drive all those many years ago. It is “Glockengasse
N° 4711”. To this day, I keep a
bottle in the medicine chest.
What's the point you ask? Well this
website and the stories that many of you have shared have
been #4711 for me. I see names of my childhood friends and
their parents, stories of times and places that I know and
it has been a great experience and I want to thank you all.