Answer: I just learned something new! I've been looking all over for a lilac to fit your description, to no avail. All the plants I read about bear their flowers in clusters, unlike the plant you describe.
Then I consulted the New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture, and discovered that the name 'syringa' is sometimes used as a common name for mock-oranges, of the genus Philadelphus, a group of plants unrelated to true Syringas! (Another good example of how common names can confuse things.)
I bet the plant you had was Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus', or Golden-leaved mock-orange. This compact shrub grows 3-6' tall, with bright golden foliage and bright white, fragrant flowers. It is available from ForestFarm, 541-846-7269, <www.forestfarm.com>
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