My hair smells like the ’70’s.

When the current unique combination of sulfate- free shampoo, Moroccan oil conditioner, coconut oil spray, argan oil and “It’s-A-Ten” leave in product are added to my hair, it equals:  Sandalwood.

And the smell of Sandalwood brings me right back to the ’70’s.

Back to the days when I burned sandalwood incense in my bedroom, behind a doorway full of plastic beads that rattled against my hollow bedroom door when I shut it behind me.

My dad hated the smell of sandalwood, and the sound of the crashing beads drove him crazy, but since he didn’t want the smell of incense to interfere with the cloud of cigarette smoke, I closed the door.

And behind that door, I watched the single stream of smoke rise from the cone as I played my 45 records and my mother’s 33 LPs  on a portable record player: Jonathan Edwards, Jim Croce, Elton John, the Beatles, T-Rex, Three Dog Night, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and The Grateful Dead to name a few.  Or I listened to the radio – Janis Joplin, The Doors, Santana, The Who, Rod Stewart….and on and on.

Sometimes I did yoga, or played my guitar and sang the songs of Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Carole King…

My world and my hair smelled of sandalwood.  The faint smell was with me everywhere I went.  When the breeze blew through my hair I smelled sandalwood in the air.  The rest of the time it left a subliminal trace in my heart.

When I burned a hole on the top of my dresser because I burned a cone of incense directly on it (I must have been feeling genius-like that day), my dad put an end to my incense burning days.

But the mark it left still smelled of incense.  Sometimes I put my nose to it to make sure the smell was still there.  Other times I rubbed that spot with my finger.  I can’t remember now if it was with regret for my mistake, or hope that it would disappear. Maybe a combination of both.

But the time came when I left my room, and my home, and went to college.  In 1977 I was 17 years old.  And I didn’t think about incense or sandalwood anymore.  My burned bureau was left behind with the plastic beads in my doorway.

My hair is no longer the rich dark shiny color it once was.  It is dyed to match that color as closely as possible, but it is not the same.

So today, when I blew my hair dry, and I smelled sandalwood,  I was that young girl again.  The fact is, I am still her, and I always will be.

You never know what will suddenly remind you of a part of your life that you may never consciously think about.

Smelling that smell did more than remind me.  It allowed me to feel what it was like back then with the wisdom that I didn’t have all those years ago.

And while I will never be young again, I can catch a whiff of my hair and enjoy a sweet flashback of an innocent time in my life.

I can even crank up those same tunes tunes on an iPod or Pandora…because classics, like the 1970’s, never go out of style.


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