"For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it's a pity that we use it so little." - Rachel Carson
It's funny the smells that I remember......I remember how my grandmother Mamie's back door step smelled, an odd mix of red clay, old wood, coffee grounds, and lavender. Before our shaggy dog, Charlie passed away earlier this year, I swear he use to spend time with her( and she has been dead over thirty years). He would bark and want a hug, usually when I was really down, and he would smell just like walking out Mamie's back door.
I remember how my dad smelled the last time I ever hugged him.......Old Spice, Dial Soap, and Brill- cream hair tonic.
Most of us love and remember the smell of freshly fallen snow, rain on dry earth, and an ocean breeze.
Flowers evoke memories good and bad......carnations remind me of funerals, violets and gardenias of spring here in Alabama, and peonies and lilacs remind me of my mother.
My very first real perfume was Ambush.......I bought it with money my parents had given to me the Christmas I was thirteen. My girlfriend, Debbie and I had ridden the bus to Birmingham to go shopping for clothes, and I brought back this big bottle of Ambush. I still remember that sticky sweetness, but I wore it until my senior year, then I wore Chanel # 5..........I thought I was so cool.
In college, musk and patchouli oils became my scent and then someone gave me Shalimar, that is when I began to fully understand the power of scent. Scent creates memories that are as distinct as color, or sounds. To this day, I can remember the smell of stale beer, cigarettes and urine .......a memory from my childhood in Chicago.....walking down Wilson Avenue, in the winter on Sunday morning, passing the bars as the cleaning crews opened the doors and swept out Saturday night's remains.
Even as a young child, I must have realized how important scent was.....everytime the Avon Lady came to call on my mom, I begged for Daisies Won't Tell, right now if I close my eyes I can smell that scent,
remember that chubby little six year old begging for it.
I remember the smell of coal burning in our furnace, and of the mix of coal and damp dirt in our basement where the coal bin was. I remember the softness of mimosa blossoms that bloomed in our front yard, a light powdery scent.
When it's cold, I can close my eyes, and smell my mom's kitchen......the smell of coffee, bacon, and vegetable soup......and if I try really hard......the smell of her home made sauerkraut "working" in the crock.
I love driving to the beach, when you get that first sniff of salty air, before you ever see the ocean.
I love the smell of play dough, paste and crayons........my favorite smells from grade school.
Isn't it amazing when you start to think about smells, all the memories, good and bad that flood your brain? The sense of smell really is quite powerful!