Human Experimentation? Weird Drugs? What Was My Dad Up To?

There comes a time for many people when they find themselves having to go through their parent’s things. Back in 2008 my dad passed away. The other day I revisited a toiletry bag of his, filled with a bunch of oddities.

I came into possession of this toiletry bag after my mom died some 10 months following my dad. It was in a box of old photographs and negatives I am now trying to digitize.

I vaguely remember opening the bag years ago, but as it is a new year and there is some purging going on, it was time to throw away the little, red toiletry bag.

But first, what really was in this thing?

Oldness Lives Here

Various items that were in my dad's toiletry bag.

Opening it up brought the expected smell of oldness. There were some pictures of girls my dad must have known in high school, a picture of some strange dude, my dad’s dog tags from The Korean War, I’m assuming his Army Infantry buttons, dice, a power tape measure, comb, and some mementos from his visits to Chicago. I know St. Peter’s Church is still in Chicago, but the Oh Henry Ballroom, which eventually became the Willowbrook Ballroom, burned down in 2016.

Little Glass Tubes of Danger?

But then I saw them, these little, glass tubes, about two inches long, filled with liquid. The tips had different colors.

Perfume Points, a.k.a. Perfume Nips

My thoughts became sinister.

Why, in his toiletry bag that seemed to have things from his travels including his time in the United States Army, would my dad have some little vials of liquid? They seemed too small to be vials of illicit drugs, you know, like the ones you see in the movies, but maybe they were like, antique one-hitters of the drug world?

Now my thoughts shifted to his Army days.

Did the Army do some weird, human experimentation by testing some crazy performance concoctions on him, and did my dad smuggle some home when he got out? Maybe they were tiny vials of nitroglycerin, and I really shouldn’t be shaking them? That would be weird since my dad was a radio-man in the war, stationed in Germany, but what the heck, my mind was heading down all kinds of weird paths.

Goodness, gracious, what was my dad up to?

Google searches for “little vials of liquid Korean War” didn’t turn up anything that looked like the tubes. I even tried taking pictures of them and using the Google “image search” feature to get a result, but that led to nothing but big ol’ test tubes.

Bing Defeats Google

I was then thinking that maybe I should just throw them away. I didn’t want the FBI or some secret, government agency at my door, but then, somehow, I ended up searching capillary tubes. Suddenly there it was on the Bing search side, a picture of similar looking vials that included a little, cardboard tube looking thing.

The caption? Perfume nips. These are also known as perfume points. That’s what they were.

What a let down.

PM - An Exceptionally Fine Whiskey - Perfume Point Holder

Yup, had I looked at more of the items in the bag prior to my deep dive into thoughts of the underworld and secret human experimentation carried out by the Army, and put together two parts of a tube that were in the toiletry bag, I might have noticed “PM – An Exceptionally Fine Whiskey” on one side of the completed tube, and on the other side “Perfume Points.”

Sadly the little, glass tubes were filled with perfume.

A perfume points holder.

As I read more about it, in years gone by, perfume samples would come in little, glass tubes that you would break open use (yea, that seems safe). At times companies would make promotional items with the perfume points, and while the tie-in with PM Whiskey didn’t really make sense, I guess it was sort of the norm of the day.

It seems that all that was in my dad’s toiletry bag was a bunch of mementos. No great treasure, no sinister story involving my dad, little glass tubes, and human experimentation, but the question still remains: What was my dad up to? I mean, why did he keep a promotional tube of perfume points in his toiletry bag all those years?

And if you were wondering, yes, I cracked open one of the tubes. Some of the perfume spilled on my fingers, and I fear the smell of “vintage,” very bad smelling perfume, may linger with me for days.