It WAS a lovely time, in a place which made it much like the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, for we were still on that innocent cusp, and our immediate world was way too much with us, in ways we did not yet realize.
But the scents and colours of all the lovely things-wrapped-in-tissue and our humble gratitude for such sweet remembrances---those are memories shaded in a soft light of pure youth. It was just what your friends and neighbours did for you, and your family in turn, or for years before, honored the next and the next, in a kind of genteel potlatch stretching decades.
Every now and then, maybe at a flea market, I see an old cologne bottle, perhaps with a bit of long-ago trapped beneath the glass, and I open the lid and inhale those Emeraude- and Woodhue-scented moments so far past.
In Living Memory---isn't that a lovely, encompassing phrase?
Please see Part I below, for the beginning of the story.