The Perfume of Memory

AP-avatar Cara/Andrea here,

O'brian-book-cover I’ve bee re-reading some of the early Aubrey-Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brian, savoring not only the rousing descriptions of naval battles during the Napoleonic Wars, but the far more nuances textures of character that he creates. Friendship, fear, love, loss, bravery, boredom . . . O’Brian is a wonderful writer, with wry wit and black humor interspersed with lyrical observations of nature. But for me, what makes his prose even more memorable are the short passages—a paragraph, perhaps—where he suddenly makes me stop and take a deep breath, for the words evoke such a visceral reaction.

Here is a passage where Stephen Maturin, the strange, secretive ship’s surgeon has just smelled a certain scent of perfume on the coat of his best friend—the distinctive scent worn by the woman he desperately loves.

“It is unspeakably childish to be upset by a whiff of scent; but I am upset. . . He poured himself out a wineglassful of laudanum, closed one eye and drank it off. ‘Smell is of all senses by far the most evocative: perhaps because we have no vocabulary for it—nothing but a few poverty-stricken approximations to describe the whole vast complexity of odour—and therefore the scent, unnamed and unnamable, remains pure of association; it cannot be called upon again and again, and blunted by the use of a word; and so it strikes afresh every time, bringing with it circumstances of its first perception . . ."

I found this very poignant—and true. Scent stirs such sudden, visceral memories, perhaps even more so than pictures, touch or words. After I read this, it got me to thinking about my own reaction to scent. . . and here are a few of the smells that trigger strong memories from the past

Grass New-mown grass: When I was a child we lived in a house built into a hill. My little bedroom had windows high on the wall that were barely above ground level. In summer, my father would mow the lawn in the early evening, and the scent of the grass, lushly sweet with the sun-warmed perfume of the long, lazy day, would flood the air. I’d watch his legs and the mower go back and forth, and then usually run out to walk along with him. A whiff of fresh cut grass carries me back to being seven or eight, and the simple delights of a summer evening.

A&D-beach The brine of the sea: I loved taking my bucket to the beach and exploring the tidal pools, finding all sorts of fascinating snails and minnows and mussels (that prompted turned into a noxious ooze when I brought them home.) But I loved the sense of wonder, of discovery, and I would happily putter for hours . . . cracking oysters to look for pearls . . . digging for pirate treasure. Today, the fresh scent of salt and seaweed conjures up memories of those afternoon adventures.

Apples Apples: We had orchards near us, and fall always meant buying baskets of fresh picked apples. When I went away to college, my parents would always bring me and my roommates a big basketwhen they visited . . . the crisp scent of Macs, rosy with the first touches of cool air, always remind me of freshman year in Vanderbilt Hall.

Wisteria Wisteria: The first house I owned, a quirky little weekend cottage with lots of eccentricities, had a huge screen porch, covered with wisteria vines. In spring, the flowers would bloom and the scent enveloped the whole house in a fairytale sweetness. Wisteria still reminds me of my first step into real adulthood.

ELauder Estee Lauder Super Cologne: My mother wore one brand for years, and somehow it seems to pervade all her possessions—books, papers, clothing. It was simply part of her, part of her essence. Nowadays I sometimes open a box of journals or photos, or storage bag of gloves and hat, and it’s there, still lingering—that soft swirl of scent that makes me stop and smile.

Toward the end of the book, Stephen walks through the woman's deserted house—she's run off to be the mistress of a rich, handsome man.

“In the waste-paper-basket there were some balled-up sheets, the only imperfection, apart from the living clock, in this desert of negation . . . they were lists in a servant’s hand, quite meaningless . . . He tossed them back, stood for a long moment listening to his heart, and walked straight into her dressing room. Here he found what he had known he should find: the stark bareness, the pretty satinwood furniture huddled against the wall was of no importance, did not signify; but here, coming from no particular shelf or cupboard, there was the ghost of her scent, n
ow a little stronger, now so tenuous that his most extreme attention could hardly catch it."

So what about you? Have you any special scent memories that conjure up vivid emotions?

85 thoughts on “The Perfume of Memory”

  1. What a wonderful reverie, Andrea! It made me think of Diane Ackerman’s A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SENSES, in which she discusses all the sense with the combined talents of a poet and a naturalist. And scent is surely the most primitive and powerful of all. Like Proust and his madelines.
    I think all of us could compose a mental scrapbook of scents as you’ve done–anchors to the past. Now I’m thinking about what I might put on such a list. Not new cut grass but new cut hay, the scent of a farm in summer, where I grew up.
    And the dark and moldery smell of an old, earth floored basement in a century old farmhouse. That one I don’t recommend!
    But black walnuts take my siblings and I right back to autumn in Upstate New York…

    Reply
  2. What a wonderful reverie, Andrea! It made me think of Diane Ackerman’s A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SENSES, in which she discusses all the sense with the combined talents of a poet and a naturalist. And scent is surely the most primitive and powerful of all. Like Proust and his madelines.
    I think all of us could compose a mental scrapbook of scents as you’ve done–anchors to the past. Now I’m thinking about what I might put on such a list. Not new cut grass but new cut hay, the scent of a farm in summer, where I grew up.
    And the dark and moldery smell of an old, earth floored basement in a century old farmhouse. That one I don’t recommend!
    But black walnuts take my siblings and I right back to autumn in Upstate New York…

    Reply
  3. What a wonderful reverie, Andrea! It made me think of Diane Ackerman’s A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SENSES, in which she discusses all the sense with the combined talents of a poet and a naturalist. And scent is surely the most primitive and powerful of all. Like Proust and his madelines.
    I think all of us could compose a mental scrapbook of scents as you’ve done–anchors to the past. Now I’m thinking about what I might put on such a list. Not new cut grass but new cut hay, the scent of a farm in summer, where I grew up.
    And the dark and moldery smell of an old, earth floored basement in a century old farmhouse. That one I don’t recommend!
    But black walnuts take my siblings and I right back to autumn in Upstate New York…

    Reply
  4. What a wonderful reverie, Andrea! It made me think of Diane Ackerman’s A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SENSES, in which she discusses all the sense with the combined talents of a poet and a naturalist. And scent is surely the most primitive and powerful of all. Like Proust and his madelines.
    I think all of us could compose a mental scrapbook of scents as you’ve done–anchors to the past. Now I’m thinking about what I might put on such a list. Not new cut grass but new cut hay, the scent of a farm in summer, where I grew up.
    And the dark and moldery smell of an old, earth floored basement in a century old farmhouse. That one I don’t recommend!
    But black walnuts take my siblings and I right back to autumn in Upstate New York…

    Reply
  5. What a wonderful reverie, Andrea! It made me think of Diane Ackerman’s A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SENSES, in which she discusses all the sense with the combined talents of a poet and a naturalist. And scent is surely the most primitive and powerful of all. Like Proust and his madelines.
    I think all of us could compose a mental scrapbook of scents as you’ve done–anchors to the past. Now I’m thinking about what I might put on such a list. Not new cut grass but new cut hay, the scent of a farm in summer, where I grew up.
    And the dark and moldery smell of an old, earth floored basement in a century old farmhouse. That one I don’t recommend!
    But black walnuts take my siblings and I right back to autumn in Upstate New York…

    Reply
  6. LOVE those passages. What a heartbreaking memory. Scent can be so comforting, evocative and yes, heartbreaking.
    My maternal grandmother wore Sand and Sable. She was a great storyteller, full-blooded Creek Indian and one of the strongest women I have ever known. Just a hint of the scent of Sand and Sable brings tears to my eyes. She’s been gone over twenty years and I still miss her.
    I spent so much of my youth around horses, the three best years in England, and to this day the smell of a horse’s coat takes me back to those days and makes me smile.
    And it is funny you mentioned wisteria. I have two purple and one white wisteria vine that have taken over my yard. It has wrapped itself around my house and when it is in bloom it is heavenly!

    Reply
  7. LOVE those passages. What a heartbreaking memory. Scent can be so comforting, evocative and yes, heartbreaking.
    My maternal grandmother wore Sand and Sable. She was a great storyteller, full-blooded Creek Indian and one of the strongest women I have ever known. Just a hint of the scent of Sand and Sable brings tears to my eyes. She’s been gone over twenty years and I still miss her.
    I spent so much of my youth around horses, the three best years in England, and to this day the smell of a horse’s coat takes me back to those days and makes me smile.
    And it is funny you mentioned wisteria. I have two purple and one white wisteria vine that have taken over my yard. It has wrapped itself around my house and when it is in bloom it is heavenly!

    Reply
  8. LOVE those passages. What a heartbreaking memory. Scent can be so comforting, evocative and yes, heartbreaking.
    My maternal grandmother wore Sand and Sable. She was a great storyteller, full-blooded Creek Indian and one of the strongest women I have ever known. Just a hint of the scent of Sand and Sable brings tears to my eyes. She’s been gone over twenty years and I still miss her.
    I spent so much of my youth around horses, the three best years in England, and to this day the smell of a horse’s coat takes me back to those days and makes me smile.
    And it is funny you mentioned wisteria. I have two purple and one white wisteria vine that have taken over my yard. It has wrapped itself around my house and when it is in bloom it is heavenly!

    Reply
  9. LOVE those passages. What a heartbreaking memory. Scent can be so comforting, evocative and yes, heartbreaking.
    My maternal grandmother wore Sand and Sable. She was a great storyteller, full-blooded Creek Indian and one of the strongest women I have ever known. Just a hint of the scent of Sand and Sable brings tears to my eyes. She’s been gone over twenty years and I still miss her.
    I spent so much of my youth around horses, the three best years in England, and to this day the smell of a horse’s coat takes me back to those days and makes me smile.
    And it is funny you mentioned wisteria. I have two purple and one white wisteria vine that have taken over my yard. It has wrapped itself around my house and when it is in bloom it is heavenly!

    Reply
  10. LOVE those passages. What a heartbreaking memory. Scent can be so comforting, evocative and yes, heartbreaking.
    My maternal grandmother wore Sand and Sable. She was a great storyteller, full-blooded Creek Indian and one of the strongest women I have ever known. Just a hint of the scent of Sand and Sable brings tears to my eyes. She’s been gone over twenty years and I still miss her.
    I spent so much of my youth around horses, the three best years in England, and to this day the smell of a horse’s coat takes me back to those days and makes me smile.
    And it is funny you mentioned wisteria. I have two purple and one white wisteria vine that have taken over my yard. It has wrapped itself around my house and when it is in bloom it is heavenly!

    Reply
  11. Louisa, your adjectives are so perfect! Comforting—that’s the smell of Christmas cookies baked by my Swiss grandmother! And perfume . . , poor Stephen’s reaction was what reminded me so strongly of my mother’s scent. Most of the time I smile, but sometimes, when it hits me at an unexpected time, it does evoke a glimmer of tears.
    Love yur horse memories. And isn’t wisteria a powerful perfume. I wish I add vines now—I love it.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
  12. Louisa, your adjectives are so perfect! Comforting—that’s the smell of Christmas cookies baked by my Swiss grandmother! And perfume . . , poor Stephen’s reaction was what reminded me so strongly of my mother’s scent. Most of the time I smile, but sometimes, when it hits me at an unexpected time, it does evoke a glimmer of tears.
    Love yur horse memories. And isn’t wisteria a powerful perfume. I wish I add vines now—I love it.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
  13. Louisa, your adjectives are so perfect! Comforting—that’s the smell of Christmas cookies baked by my Swiss grandmother! And perfume . . , poor Stephen’s reaction was what reminded me so strongly of my mother’s scent. Most of the time I smile, but sometimes, when it hits me at an unexpected time, it does evoke a glimmer of tears.
    Love yur horse memories. And isn’t wisteria a powerful perfume. I wish I add vines now—I love it.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
  14. Louisa, your adjectives are so perfect! Comforting—that’s the smell of Christmas cookies baked by my Swiss grandmother! And perfume . . , poor Stephen’s reaction was what reminded me so strongly of my mother’s scent. Most of the time I smile, but sometimes, when it hits me at an unexpected time, it does evoke a glimmer of tears.
    Love yur horse memories. And isn’t wisteria a powerful perfume. I wish I add vines now—I love it.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
  15. Louisa, your adjectives are so perfect! Comforting—that’s the smell of Christmas cookies baked by my Swiss grandmother! And perfume . . , poor Stephen’s reaction was what reminded me so strongly of my mother’s scent. Most of the time I smile, but sometimes, when it hits me at an unexpected time, it does evoke a glimmer of tears.
    Love yur horse memories. And isn’t wisteria a powerful perfume. I wish I add vines now—I love it.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
  16. Andrea, what an absolutely lovely and haunting post. One of your best! And thank you, oh THANK you for including those two poignant O’Brian passages. I remember them so well, and remember my heart aching for poor Stephen every time I come across them. O’Brian was a master at using the senses. It’s one reason why his writing is so visceral and full-bodied.
    Scents–I am an emotional person, and scents can trigger instant responses in me. Mary Jo, I’m with you re the new mown hay. In my rural community the scent of hay has been permeating the neighborhood for weeks. I love it.
    An ex-boyfriend of mine used to wear this wonderful after-shave, and shortly after we’d broken up, I’m ashamed to admit that I bought a bottle of that cologne to comfort me. Oddly enough, we’ve remained friends during the 40 years since our break-up, and despite the passage of time, that scent still reminds me of him.
    Like many of you, I adore the scent of new mown grass, and my yard has two very distinct grass scents. The front yard has the typical rich green scent, but the side yard has a different kind of grass that gives off a wonderfully sweet aroma that lingers for 3-4 days after mowing. My bedroom faces the side yard, and I always open my slider at night so I can smell that lovely scent as I go to sleep.
    I’m stopping now, because I could go on and on about odors/scents/smells!

    Reply
  17. Andrea, what an absolutely lovely and haunting post. One of your best! And thank you, oh THANK you for including those two poignant O’Brian passages. I remember them so well, and remember my heart aching for poor Stephen every time I come across them. O’Brian was a master at using the senses. It’s one reason why his writing is so visceral and full-bodied.
    Scents–I am an emotional person, and scents can trigger instant responses in me. Mary Jo, I’m with you re the new mown hay. In my rural community the scent of hay has been permeating the neighborhood for weeks. I love it.
    An ex-boyfriend of mine used to wear this wonderful after-shave, and shortly after we’d broken up, I’m ashamed to admit that I bought a bottle of that cologne to comfort me. Oddly enough, we’ve remained friends during the 40 years since our break-up, and despite the passage of time, that scent still reminds me of him.
    Like many of you, I adore the scent of new mown grass, and my yard has two very distinct grass scents. The front yard has the typical rich green scent, but the side yard has a different kind of grass that gives off a wonderfully sweet aroma that lingers for 3-4 days after mowing. My bedroom faces the side yard, and I always open my slider at night so I can smell that lovely scent as I go to sleep.
    I’m stopping now, because I could go on and on about odors/scents/smells!

    Reply
  18. Andrea, what an absolutely lovely and haunting post. One of your best! And thank you, oh THANK you for including those two poignant O’Brian passages. I remember them so well, and remember my heart aching for poor Stephen every time I come across them. O’Brian was a master at using the senses. It’s one reason why his writing is so visceral and full-bodied.
    Scents–I am an emotional person, and scents can trigger instant responses in me. Mary Jo, I’m with you re the new mown hay. In my rural community the scent of hay has been permeating the neighborhood for weeks. I love it.
    An ex-boyfriend of mine used to wear this wonderful after-shave, and shortly after we’d broken up, I’m ashamed to admit that I bought a bottle of that cologne to comfort me. Oddly enough, we’ve remained friends during the 40 years since our break-up, and despite the passage of time, that scent still reminds me of him.
    Like many of you, I adore the scent of new mown grass, and my yard has two very distinct grass scents. The front yard has the typical rich green scent, but the side yard has a different kind of grass that gives off a wonderfully sweet aroma that lingers for 3-4 days after mowing. My bedroom faces the side yard, and I always open my slider at night so I can smell that lovely scent as I go to sleep.
    I’m stopping now, because I could go on and on about odors/scents/smells!

    Reply
  19. Andrea, what an absolutely lovely and haunting post. One of your best! And thank you, oh THANK you for including those two poignant O’Brian passages. I remember them so well, and remember my heart aching for poor Stephen every time I come across them. O’Brian was a master at using the senses. It’s one reason why his writing is so visceral and full-bodied.
    Scents–I am an emotional person, and scents can trigger instant responses in me. Mary Jo, I’m with you re the new mown hay. In my rural community the scent of hay has been permeating the neighborhood for weeks. I love it.
    An ex-boyfriend of mine used to wear this wonderful after-shave, and shortly after we’d broken up, I’m ashamed to admit that I bought a bottle of that cologne to comfort me. Oddly enough, we’ve remained friends during the 40 years since our break-up, and despite the passage of time, that scent still reminds me of him.
    Like many of you, I adore the scent of new mown grass, and my yard has two very distinct grass scents. The front yard has the typical rich green scent, but the side yard has a different kind of grass that gives off a wonderfully sweet aroma that lingers for 3-4 days after mowing. My bedroom faces the side yard, and I always open my slider at night so I can smell that lovely scent as I go to sleep.
    I’m stopping now, because I could go on and on about odors/scents/smells!

    Reply
  20. Andrea, what an absolutely lovely and haunting post. One of your best! And thank you, oh THANK you for including those two poignant O’Brian passages. I remember them so well, and remember my heart aching for poor Stephen every time I come across them. O’Brian was a master at using the senses. It’s one reason why his writing is so visceral and full-bodied.
    Scents–I am an emotional person, and scents can trigger instant responses in me. Mary Jo, I’m with you re the new mown hay. In my rural community the scent of hay has been permeating the neighborhood for weeks. I love it.
    An ex-boyfriend of mine used to wear this wonderful after-shave, and shortly after we’d broken up, I’m ashamed to admit that I bought a bottle of that cologne to comfort me. Oddly enough, we’ve remained friends during the 40 years since our break-up, and despite the passage of time, that scent still reminds me of him.
    Like many of you, I adore the scent of new mown grass, and my yard has two very distinct grass scents. The front yard has the typical rich green scent, but the side yard has a different kind of grass that gives off a wonderfully sweet aroma that lingers for 3-4 days after mowing. My bedroom faces the side yard, and I always open my slider at night so I can smell that lovely scent as I go to sleep.
    I’m stopping now, because I could go on and on about odors/scents/smells!

    Reply
  21. I have memories connected with perfume. My mother used to have two perfumes when I was little, one for every-day wear and one for special occasions. The every-day one was Charlie (if anyone remembers that), and that brings up memories of mom at home, reading to me and my brother. The other one was Chanel no. 5, and that brings up memories of her getting dressed up and ready to go out with my father, then coming home late and tucking me into bed, because I would usually wake up and get out of bed to greet them when they came back.
    Other scents that can bring back vague memories of my childhood and teens is the sweet smell of hay, the musty scent of horses, the pungent smell of salt fish and the loveliness of fresh-baked bread.
    There is also a smell I don’t notice until it’s removed from my nostrils: the sea. You can smell it nearly everywhere in Iceland (where I live), and when I arrive in land-locked place like Minneapolis I always feel a little lost because it doesn’t smell like home, i.e. like the sea.

    Reply
  22. I have memories connected with perfume. My mother used to have two perfumes when I was little, one for every-day wear and one for special occasions. The every-day one was Charlie (if anyone remembers that), and that brings up memories of mom at home, reading to me and my brother. The other one was Chanel no. 5, and that brings up memories of her getting dressed up and ready to go out with my father, then coming home late and tucking me into bed, because I would usually wake up and get out of bed to greet them when they came back.
    Other scents that can bring back vague memories of my childhood and teens is the sweet smell of hay, the musty scent of horses, the pungent smell of salt fish and the loveliness of fresh-baked bread.
    There is also a smell I don’t notice until it’s removed from my nostrils: the sea. You can smell it nearly everywhere in Iceland (where I live), and when I arrive in land-locked place like Minneapolis I always feel a little lost because it doesn’t smell like home, i.e. like the sea.

    Reply
  23. I have memories connected with perfume. My mother used to have two perfumes when I was little, one for every-day wear and one for special occasions. The every-day one was Charlie (if anyone remembers that), and that brings up memories of mom at home, reading to me and my brother. The other one was Chanel no. 5, and that brings up memories of her getting dressed up and ready to go out with my father, then coming home late and tucking me into bed, because I would usually wake up and get out of bed to greet them when they came back.
    Other scents that can bring back vague memories of my childhood and teens is the sweet smell of hay, the musty scent of horses, the pungent smell of salt fish and the loveliness of fresh-baked bread.
    There is also a smell I don’t notice until it’s removed from my nostrils: the sea. You can smell it nearly everywhere in Iceland (where I live), and when I arrive in land-locked place like Minneapolis I always feel a little lost because it doesn’t smell like home, i.e. like the sea.

    Reply
  24. I have memories connected with perfume. My mother used to have two perfumes when I was little, one for every-day wear and one for special occasions. The every-day one was Charlie (if anyone remembers that), and that brings up memories of mom at home, reading to me and my brother. The other one was Chanel no. 5, and that brings up memories of her getting dressed up and ready to go out with my father, then coming home late and tucking me into bed, because I would usually wake up and get out of bed to greet them when they came back.
    Other scents that can bring back vague memories of my childhood and teens is the sweet smell of hay, the musty scent of horses, the pungent smell of salt fish and the loveliness of fresh-baked bread.
    There is also a smell I don’t notice until it’s removed from my nostrils: the sea. You can smell it nearly everywhere in Iceland (where I live), and when I arrive in land-locked place like Minneapolis I always feel a little lost because it doesn’t smell like home, i.e. like the sea.

    Reply
  25. I have memories connected with perfume. My mother used to have two perfumes when I was little, one for every-day wear and one for special occasions. The every-day one was Charlie (if anyone remembers that), and that brings up memories of mom at home, reading to me and my brother. The other one was Chanel no. 5, and that brings up memories of her getting dressed up and ready to go out with my father, then coming home late and tucking me into bed, because I would usually wake up and get out of bed to greet them when they came back.
    Other scents that can bring back vague memories of my childhood and teens is the sweet smell of hay, the musty scent of horses, the pungent smell of salt fish and the loveliness of fresh-baked bread.
    There is also a smell I don’t notice until it’s removed from my nostrils: the sea. You can smell it nearly everywhere in Iceland (where I live), and when I arrive in land-locked place like Minneapolis I always feel a little lost because it doesn’t smell like home, i.e. like the sea.

    Reply
  26. I cleaned out my attic and was having a “garage sale” last month. I was not prepared for my reaction to the scent that escaped from the hot curler case, of all things, that’d been in my attic for 30 years and unused for even longer. When I opened the case immediate memories of being a teenager in the 1960’s flooded my eyes in the form of tears! It was only a plastic smell–not some sweet perfume–but distinctive enough to evoke memories of a chaotic time in my life. I sat with the memories for a few moments–running through 45 years of life and how sweet my life had become. I wonder, years hence, what will evoke this time in my life when I lift the lid or open the bottle of some long forgotten relic?

    Reply
  27. I cleaned out my attic and was having a “garage sale” last month. I was not prepared for my reaction to the scent that escaped from the hot curler case, of all things, that’d been in my attic for 30 years and unused for even longer. When I opened the case immediate memories of being a teenager in the 1960’s flooded my eyes in the form of tears! It was only a plastic smell–not some sweet perfume–but distinctive enough to evoke memories of a chaotic time in my life. I sat with the memories for a few moments–running through 45 years of life and how sweet my life had become. I wonder, years hence, what will evoke this time in my life when I lift the lid or open the bottle of some long forgotten relic?

    Reply
  28. I cleaned out my attic and was having a “garage sale” last month. I was not prepared for my reaction to the scent that escaped from the hot curler case, of all things, that’d been in my attic for 30 years and unused for even longer. When I opened the case immediate memories of being a teenager in the 1960’s flooded my eyes in the form of tears! It was only a plastic smell–not some sweet perfume–but distinctive enough to evoke memories of a chaotic time in my life. I sat with the memories for a few moments–running through 45 years of life and how sweet my life had become. I wonder, years hence, what will evoke this time in my life when I lift the lid or open the bottle of some long forgotten relic?

    Reply
  29. I cleaned out my attic and was having a “garage sale” last month. I was not prepared for my reaction to the scent that escaped from the hot curler case, of all things, that’d been in my attic for 30 years and unused for even longer. When I opened the case immediate memories of being a teenager in the 1960’s flooded my eyes in the form of tears! It was only a plastic smell–not some sweet perfume–but distinctive enough to evoke memories of a chaotic time in my life. I sat with the memories for a few moments–running through 45 years of life and how sweet my life had become. I wonder, years hence, what will evoke this time in my life when I lift the lid or open the bottle of some long forgotten relic?

    Reply
  30. I cleaned out my attic and was having a “garage sale” last month. I was not prepared for my reaction to the scent that escaped from the hot curler case, of all things, that’d been in my attic for 30 years and unused for even longer. When I opened the case immediate memories of being a teenager in the 1960’s flooded my eyes in the form of tears! It was only a plastic smell–not some sweet perfume–but distinctive enough to evoke memories of a chaotic time in my life. I sat with the memories for a few moments–running through 45 years of life and how sweet my life had become. I wonder, years hence, what will evoke this time in my life when I lift the lid or open the bottle of some long forgotten relic?

    Reply
  31. Sherrie, so glad you enjoyed the post. Isn’t O’Brian an amazing writer? I am really enjoying going through the books again—haven’t read them in a few years and am rediscovering the wonderful ways he uses language.
    It seems many of us have really strong memories of scent and an individual in our lives.
    And LOL on stopping. When I started to get going, I realized I could have kept filling the pages. Have been more aware of scent in the last few days, and that’s what I love about good writing—it makes us think!

    Reply
  32. Sherrie, so glad you enjoyed the post. Isn’t O’Brian an amazing writer? I am really enjoying going through the books again—haven’t read them in a few years and am rediscovering the wonderful ways he uses language.
    It seems many of us have really strong memories of scent and an individual in our lives.
    And LOL on stopping. When I started to get going, I realized I could have kept filling the pages. Have been more aware of scent in the last few days, and that’s what I love about good writing—it makes us think!

    Reply
  33. Sherrie, so glad you enjoyed the post. Isn’t O’Brian an amazing writer? I am really enjoying going through the books again—haven’t read them in a few years and am rediscovering the wonderful ways he uses language.
    It seems many of us have really strong memories of scent and an individual in our lives.
    And LOL on stopping. When I started to get going, I realized I could have kept filling the pages. Have been more aware of scent in the last few days, and that’s what I love about good writing—it makes us think!

    Reply
  34. Sherrie, so glad you enjoyed the post. Isn’t O’Brian an amazing writer? I am really enjoying going through the books again—haven’t read them in a few years and am rediscovering the wonderful ways he uses language.
    It seems many of us have really strong memories of scent and an individual in our lives.
    And LOL on stopping. When I started to get going, I realized I could have kept filling the pages. Have been more aware of scent in the last few days, and that’s what I love about good writing—it makes us think!

    Reply
  35. Sherrie, so glad you enjoyed the post. Isn’t O’Brian an amazing writer? I am really enjoying going through the books again—haven’t read them in a few years and am rediscovering the wonderful ways he uses language.
    It seems many of us have really strong memories of scent and an individual in our lives.
    And LOL on stopping. When I started to get going, I realized I could have kept filling the pages. Have been more aware of scent in the last few days, and that’s what I love about good writing—it makes us think!

    Reply
  36. Lilacs (spring); honeysuckle (summer); fresh mown hay (July); snow (I love the smell of snow); Old Spice (Dad); Shower to Shower body powder (Mom); Drakkar Noir (boys I had a crush on in high school); horses (I love the sweaty, pure scent of horses); leather (reminds me of Dad’s workshop)

    Reply
  37. Lilacs (spring); honeysuckle (summer); fresh mown hay (July); snow (I love the smell of snow); Old Spice (Dad); Shower to Shower body powder (Mom); Drakkar Noir (boys I had a crush on in high school); horses (I love the sweaty, pure scent of horses); leather (reminds me of Dad’s workshop)

    Reply
  38. Lilacs (spring); honeysuckle (summer); fresh mown hay (July); snow (I love the smell of snow); Old Spice (Dad); Shower to Shower body powder (Mom); Drakkar Noir (boys I had a crush on in high school); horses (I love the sweaty, pure scent of horses); leather (reminds me of Dad’s workshop)

    Reply
  39. Lilacs (spring); honeysuckle (summer); fresh mown hay (July); snow (I love the smell of snow); Old Spice (Dad); Shower to Shower body powder (Mom); Drakkar Noir (boys I had a crush on in high school); horses (I love the sweaty, pure scent of horses); leather (reminds me of Dad’s workshop)

    Reply
  40. Lilacs (spring); honeysuckle (summer); fresh mown hay (July); snow (I love the smell of snow); Old Spice (Dad); Shower to Shower body powder (Mom); Drakkar Noir (boys I had a crush on in high school); horses (I love the sweaty, pure scent of horses); leather (reminds me of Dad’s workshop)

    Reply
  41. Scents are so evocative, aren’t they? My favorites have to be the smell (and the crunch) of fallen leaves every autumn, snow (as someone mentioned earlier), and the scent of freshly cut lumber, which reminds me of my Dad’s woodworking shop.

    Reply
  42. Scents are so evocative, aren’t they? My favorites have to be the smell (and the crunch) of fallen leaves every autumn, snow (as someone mentioned earlier), and the scent of freshly cut lumber, which reminds me of my Dad’s woodworking shop.

    Reply
  43. Scents are so evocative, aren’t they? My favorites have to be the smell (and the crunch) of fallen leaves every autumn, snow (as someone mentioned earlier), and the scent of freshly cut lumber, which reminds me of my Dad’s woodworking shop.

    Reply
  44. Scents are so evocative, aren’t they? My favorites have to be the smell (and the crunch) of fallen leaves every autumn, snow (as someone mentioned earlier), and the scent of freshly cut lumber, which reminds me of my Dad’s woodworking shop.

    Reply
  45. Scents are so evocative, aren’t they? My favorites have to be the smell (and the crunch) of fallen leaves every autumn, snow (as someone mentioned earlier), and the scent of freshly cut lumber, which reminds me of my Dad’s woodworking shop.

    Reply
  46. And the smells aren’t always pleasant reminders. During my first pregnancy (in the ’60’s), I was sick for the entire first four months – not just in the morning, but all day and night. Even today, a whiff of the brand of hair spray that I used during that time makes my stomach churn.

    Reply
  47. And the smells aren’t always pleasant reminders. During my first pregnancy (in the ’60’s), I was sick for the entire first four months – not just in the morning, but all day and night. Even today, a whiff of the brand of hair spray that I used during that time makes my stomach churn.

    Reply
  48. And the smells aren’t always pleasant reminders. During my first pregnancy (in the ’60’s), I was sick for the entire first four months – not just in the morning, but all day and night. Even today, a whiff of the brand of hair spray that I used during that time makes my stomach churn.

    Reply
  49. And the smells aren’t always pleasant reminders. During my first pregnancy (in the ’60’s), I was sick for the entire first four months – not just in the morning, but all day and night. Even today, a whiff of the brand of hair spray that I used during that time makes my stomach churn.

    Reply
  50. And the smells aren’t always pleasant reminders. During my first pregnancy (in the ’60’s), I was sick for the entire first four months – not just in the morning, but all day and night. Even today, a whiff of the brand of hair spray that I used during that time makes my stomach churn.

    Reply
  51. When I was young the smell of new Crayolas in the box was a smell like no other. To this day I still like to smell Crayons…the real ones….not these wannabes. I used to embarrass my daughter at the toy store when I’d open a box of Crayolas just to smell them . Lilacs hold a special memory for me as well…my grandmother had lilacs on the farm in Colorado and when I’d visit they were in bloom and smelled so beautiful….sadly where I live lilacs won’t grow…I miss that fragrance.

    Reply
  52. When I was young the smell of new Crayolas in the box was a smell like no other. To this day I still like to smell Crayons…the real ones….not these wannabes. I used to embarrass my daughter at the toy store when I’d open a box of Crayolas just to smell them . Lilacs hold a special memory for me as well…my grandmother had lilacs on the farm in Colorado and when I’d visit they were in bloom and smelled so beautiful….sadly where I live lilacs won’t grow…I miss that fragrance.

    Reply
  53. When I was young the smell of new Crayolas in the box was a smell like no other. To this day I still like to smell Crayons…the real ones….not these wannabes. I used to embarrass my daughter at the toy store when I’d open a box of Crayolas just to smell them . Lilacs hold a special memory for me as well…my grandmother had lilacs on the farm in Colorado and when I’d visit they were in bloom and smelled so beautiful….sadly where I live lilacs won’t grow…I miss that fragrance.

    Reply
  54. When I was young the smell of new Crayolas in the box was a smell like no other. To this day I still like to smell Crayons…the real ones….not these wannabes. I used to embarrass my daughter at the toy store when I’d open a box of Crayolas just to smell them . Lilacs hold a special memory for me as well…my grandmother had lilacs on the farm in Colorado and when I’d visit they were in bloom and smelled so beautiful….sadly where I live lilacs won’t grow…I miss that fragrance.

    Reply
  55. When I was young the smell of new Crayolas in the box was a smell like no other. To this day I still like to smell Crayons…the real ones….not these wannabes. I used to embarrass my daughter at the toy store when I’d open a box of Crayolas just to smell them . Lilacs hold a special memory for me as well…my grandmother had lilacs on the farm in Colorado and when I’d visit they were in bloom and smelled so beautiful….sadly where I live lilacs won’t grow…I miss that fragrance.

    Reply

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