At one point, my dad was allowed to pick two apothecary jars to keep. He selected one with a powdery mint green substance, and another with a sugary substance. I was with him when he chose them, and I remember my awe at the array of jars. For the rest of my childhood, those two jars sat on our mantle. Every time I looked at them, I remembered the collection, and wished I could see it again.
Now, in the present, the rest of the jars have come to my parents' house. Full of tinctures and potions, I still adore them.
I stood at the collection for quite some time, inspecting and curious. Wondering what each one was used for, back in the day. My mom remembered actually using some of them as a kid. Some of them had fused lids, but some were easily opened. I started sniffing them. Some smelled awful. Others smelled alright. One was distinctively cinnamon, and another camphor. One made me cough. After a while, some of the smells made me a little light-headed, and my brother John came in to the room and warned, "Be careful - If you smell certain ones, they will make you woozy". Good advice, I thought, as John wavered slightly in my vision. Of course John took the chloroform - although if he sniffed it he's not fessing up. Honestly, I don't recommend smelling chemical substances from the 19th century - my curiosity just got the best of me.
My parents told my brothers and I would could pick some to take. It was a difficult decision. I chose 16. I know what a few of them were used for, but others I still need to google. They are displayed on my kitchen cabinets.
A small part of me feels a little bad about splitting up the collection, which has been in tact for over 100 years. But it is nice that my two brothers and I and my parents all get to enjoy a piece of them every day in our homes.
It's like having one of the most magical moments of childhood bottled up on my cabinets. They make me smile each time I see them.
Readers, do you fondly remember any mysteries from your childhood?