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Thursday, November 6, 2014

It smells like yesterday

 photo smells-like-yesterday_zps38d7fa3c.jpgWhat do you remember from your childhood? Or your college years? Or a home you once lived in? I have memories that are visual; I can see in my head what my bedroom looked like when I was in the 3rd grade. I can remember experiences -- scenarios as they unfolded so many years ago and how I felt about them. For me, the most powerful memories come as what I call "sense memories" built on notable smells.

Today I was walking down the athletics hall at Charlie's school. All of the sudden I smelled the locker room area of my own high school. The smell was a combination of musty and bleach. It wasn't unpleasant; in fact it was kind of comforting, connecting me to a happy time in my life. 

Earlier this summer, Charlie got in the front seat of the car. Immediately, I was greeted by a scent that took me a moment to recognize. Soon, the memory formed in my head. I was smelling Drakkar Noir, the cologne that Mike wore while we were in college. If I closed my eyes, I could see myself snuggling in close and burying my nose in the sparse hairs lightly sprinkled across Mike's chest. I breathed in deeply and smiled at the at memory. I could see my fingers tickling across his chest, my...WAIT A DAGGONE MINUTE! 

I snapped to, realizing that this woodsy citrus smell wasn't coming from the chest of my husband of 20 years. No, this scent was coming from my 15-year old son who was sitting in the car next to me. Aw heck no! I couldn't have my son wearing cologne that drew me back to his father's room in college.

Thanks to a well-timed pitch from a PR company who offered a free bottle, Charlie now wears British Sterling H.I.M. Private Stock cologne.

Another scent that transports me in time is pipe tobacco, which conjures up memories of my Grandpa before he gave up the habit. Pipe smokers aren't very common these days, but if there is one within 20 feet of me, I'm six years old on my Grandpa's lap again. 

You would think that given my round shape, I would have olfactory memories tied to food -- cakes baking or Thanksgiving turkeys, maybe. But I don't. I wonder why that is? My poor kids will probably have memories triggered by the smell of burning food

Do you have any memories that are triggered by certain smells? What are they? 

3 comments:

kimybeee said...

Yep, the barn. Sometimes we smell something that reminds us of the fair. And the animals. Puppy breath. Cat fur.

As round as I am you would think it would be food for me too lol. Animals are my passion!!

And I love the smell of my husband when he has been outside! Hay, dirt, hunting, even manure lol. And I don't associate those smells when I smell them on my son lol lol. I associate that with a mess lol

Beth Snow said...

The smell of sunshine on slightly dusty pine trees...always reminds me of camping :)

Tricia Meyer (sunshinegirl) said...

I absolutely have so many scent memories! The ones that are really weird are the ones that make me actually FEEL something and not just remember. When I went through Sorority Rush at Ball State I wore a pink shirt was washable silk of some kind. I never wore it again. If I am in a store and walk past that same fabric and smell it, I immediately start feeling anxious and apprehensive. It is the strangest thing!