Friday, July 15, 2016

Did you smell that?

Smell is a potent wizard that can transport you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.—Helen Keller

Sense of smell is most closely linked to memory; smell is also emotive.

When I was a kid, we lived across the street from a large manufacturing company which produced cans for a variety of products: Anheuser-Busch beer, shortening, food, soda, and baby food.
The memories of the emissions from that factory still reside in my olfactory bulb —a part of my brain— pungent, offensive; a sickening blended smell of ether and some sort of petroleum product.

That particular odor triggers so many childhood memories:

Searching for bits of colored glass on the gravel parking lot to add to my empty mayonnaise jar.
Mary Jane candies, better than Bit-o'-Honey from the penny candy counter at the confectionery.
Wild sunflowers along the back fence which towered over me, leaves large enough in which to stash a childhood dream.
Catching grasshoppers that spat brown juice into my hand.
Floating Ivory soap and emerald green Prell shampoo.
Itchy mosquito bites.
Friday Night Fights on TV... falling asleep during the Gillette Razor blade commercials.

Take a moment and think of an olfactory memory that triggers 2 other memories, for example:
Vanilla-scented candles casting shadows on old family portraits.
Makes you remember... crocheted doilies on Grandma's furniture, which leads to memories of...
dipping Hydrox cookies, better than Oreos, in a glass of milk with Grandma at her chrome and Formica kitchen table.

Care to share an olfactory memory and let readers see where it leads?


Connie said...

The smell of lilacs on the breeze makes me think of my Mom hanging clothes outside on the clothesline. I also think of swinging on the nearby swing set and pointing my feet up high toward the sky.

Sioux Roslawski said...

The smell of crushed sycamore leaves reminds me of my grandparents' home. They had five or six huge (old) trees lining their driveway. The smell of cinnamon... my grandma's homemade cinnamon rolls.

The sense of smell is so powerful, and is the keeper of so many memories. Thanks for the nudge, Linda.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Oh, my...the scent of lilacs brings me back to my grandmother's yard and her massive stone house with the laundry chute that dropped four floors into the basement...the basement smells of dankness and laundry products and old tools...that always sent me scurrying back upstairs which always smelled of baked goods like cream puffs and rhubarb pie. Gosh, I could go on forever like this. lol

Pat Wahler said...

Both my mom and grandmother were extraordinary cooks. The scent of anything baking; bread, cookies, a savory roast beef are all very nostalgic for me.

Critter Alley

Val said...

The smell of water from a warm garden hose takes me back to watering seedlings protected from the lawnmower by little wire fences. My grandpa, who lived next door, did that every evening (with my barefoot help) at the time when lighting bugs started blinking, and the Tastee Freeze truck came by.

Janet, said...

Charley always wore British Sterling when we dated. Every time I smell it, I think of that time when we dated. The smell of honeysuckle reminds me of my grandpa. It grew along the path to his house. And, believe it or not, Dove soap takes me back to my Junior High HomeEc class. We sewed together a sponge fish with Dove soap inside it to use in the bathtub :o)

Mary Horner said...

My grandpa wore flannel shirts that always smelled of pipe tobacco. And my mom's sister lived in a small Florida town with some sort of orange processing (I'm guessing juice) factory that had the most unique and powerful smell. I've never smelled it anywhere else, but it always reminds me of hot Florida.