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 on by.

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.

 

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