I grew up with my Grandma Hope always keeping a bottle of the green Palmolive dish soap either sitting in the corner of her kitchen sink or neatly tucked under the cabinet. She had used it for so long, her kitchen had a faint scent of it lingering in the air. If you never used Palmolive, the scent is hard to describe because it wasn’t fruity or flowery but it was clean, pure, classic, nostalgic even and unmistakeable to Palmolive and my grandmother’s kitchen.
I am almost 48 and up until very recently washing dishes with this particular brand of dish detergent used to always evoke strong emotions of my Grandma Hope, her kitchen and the warmth of my moments by her side as we cleaned together. What didn’t go into the dishwasher, she would wash and I would dry as we told stories, laughed, caught up on life, the days and just general kibitzing. These are fond memories – me, my grandmother, and Palmolive.
As years have gone on and my grandmother has been long passed since my 20’s, I actually would look forward to opening a bottle of Palmolive to purposefully squeeze it just to get a whiff of that scent and be reminded of those warm moments by her side. As you can well imagine, I became a loyal Palmolive customer. Everytime I am in the store aisles buying detergents, I may look at the others, have even tried them a time or two but I always find myself gravitating back to the good old green stuff and putting it in my cart. When something is good and pure, it just make you happy. Even something as simple as dish soap! Yet sadly this had to change as Palmolive decided to fix something that wasn’t broken!
Unbeknownst to their customers, Palmolive changed the scent that was so well known to those of us that loved and were loyal to that silly green bottle of dish soap! Now it smells like all the other generic fruity or flowery soaps. The first time I noticed it, I thought I mistakenly bought a wrong bottle or maybe it was just a seasonal change? I looked, nope – same green bottle, same name, no indication of change. Then I thought maybe my nose had gone haywire, so I pulled out a half used bottle shoved to the back under my sink, and took a sniff – for sure there was a change! I was horrified, indignant…and most of all, sad…why would Palmolive do this?!? I felt as if it were a personal attack on my memories, like somehow they had been stripped! To be clear, I get change, and I generally embrace it. Change is refreshing, fun and exciting yet when something is good and pure, evokes nostalgia and is a personal tradition or ritual that has become your own, you don’t always want it or appreciate it. Humans tend to dislike change that they don’t understand or when there are strong emotional attachments involved and emotional attachments are what create loyalty and object constancy versus rejection or resistance. So when you have to accept something that isn’t understood or creates emotional discord, you almost feel provoked.
I know I felt provoked…but then I reminded myself that I still had all my same memories and love of my grandmother, and my Grandma Hope was a woman who appreciated change and often lead the charge of her cultural time with change.
She was what they called “progressive,” back in her day, and I certainly am progressive too. When we understand that we find it hard to change because our brains are always fully committed to the patterns they already know, it makes it easier to accept or focus on new patterns that will work for us too. Afterall, we have to always stay mentally nimble! I know my grandmother certainly did…
Yet it doesn’t change that I stick with buying that green bottle of goodness in secret hopes of popping the lid open on a new container one day to find that nostalgic smell we all grew up with and learned to love…
As always…Go in love,