The 1950’s was a time when industry was going strong in Marietta. Lots of new “chain” stores were trying to make their mark on the town. When a new store opened, there would always be a give-away of some sort. And my Nannie loved to be one of the first day shoppers because she was lucky. I mean real L.U.C.K.Y. She won a lot of stuff. I have a picture of her standing beside a refrigerator that she won! My Dad was impressed. Well, so was I. She could sign her name and drop it in the box and 7 times out of 10 she would win something. But I am not going to write about all the things she won. I am just going to tell you about the “pinching” Nannie.
My Nannie always smelled good. She did not load up on perfume the way some folks do today. She taught me the acceptable rules for using perfume. You put a tiny dab behind each ear and a smaller dab on each wrist. That was all. She smelled like White Shoulders. Always. I loved to be curled up against her and read. Sometimes I just moved my head closer to hers so I could get that whiff of White Shoulders. The strange thing is that when my Mom wore White Shoulders, the smell was a tiny bit different. Not quite as sweet-perhaps. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Nannie said that my Mom maybe used a dab too much. I loved to watch them “do” the perfume ritual and I couldn’t see a single thing different. What was that extra tiny sweetness?
As I began to approach the preteen years, I finally discovered the extra odor that my Nannie had. You may be shocked to learn she dipped. Yep she dipped. For all you uninformed folks everywhere—that means she dipped sweet snuff! Snuff dipping was a common practice for women that had been raised in the country. All her sisters dipped, too. Cigarette smoking was more a man thing. Snuff dipping was private and gave you the same jolt as cigarette smoking. I never saw her with a spit jar. I never saw her spit at all. Ever. I only saw her maybe twice putting that pinch in her cheek. And it was jest a pinch.
Did the fact that my Nannie dipped change my feelings for her? Nope. Did she ever talk to me about tobacco? Nope. Ladies didn’t do that. Was she the sweetest Nannie in the world? Yep! And you know why!!!