terri, scott and i                                I’m on the left, Scott is the one on the right

I think we all have them… that file of memories tucked somewhere inside of each of us that snaps us back like a rubber-band. That place when we smell or taste something familiar or hear a song that sends us back to a different time in our memories. I even have a time of day that hits me in a way that I just feel safe. As if someone has just told me that it is all going to be okay. For me it is around two PM.  That time of day must have been about the time when I’d wake up from my daily nap to my mom’s warm welcome back. A time before bills, a time when someone else took care of all my needs.

Whenever I taste chocolate milk, (BOSCO to be exact) I always think of my friend Scott who lived nextdoor. His mom would set up a little table under the tree in his front yard and make us peanut butter and honey sandwiches and chocolate milk. Such a decadent treat back in those simple days. I can still taste it. I remember walking into his kitchen,  and the scent of plums and peaches filling my head. His dad had a grocery store a few block away and every once and a while, I get a whiff of what that grocery store smelled like, and it snaps me back into those carefree wonderful days. It was a combination of the produce and deli departments and the memory of buying pixi stix for a penny each that still can prick my heart.

Bactine and Dippity Doo, Coppertone,  and the smell of tar and asphalt all have the same effect (The tar smell probably because there was a freeway close to our school that they always seemed to be working on. As a kid, I also loved the smell of a restaurant as you walked through the door. You know that first whiff. A combination of cigarettes and coffee. Every now and then I smell it but now that they don’t allow smoking in restaurants, that exact whiff is few and far between.

One of my favorite memories is falling asleep in the car as a kid. Watching the moon follow me home as I drift off and then feel my dad pick me up and carry me inside. As he unlocked the door and that first whiff of “HOME” would hit me. I can’t explain it, nor have I ever been able to duplicate it,  but I can still smell it in my head. And it was the BEST! I think it was a combination of a million things. But most of all, I think it was just  that it was that  time in my life when someone else was in charge of worrying about everything. Maybe there is a special scent for feeling carefree? If not, there should be!

How about you? What do you remember? What are some of your best  memory smells? You know, those first whiffs moments that you will never forget?

26 thoughts on “That first Whiff

  1. humm I have to tell you have been enjoying today. Sitting back and playing catch up on your post.. I am lazy yes I admit it! My whiff moments.. Kerosene every time I get a whiff of it I am transported back to my grandmothers house.. and fried fish (I hate seafood by the way) every Wednesday he fried fish.. A nice gentle sea breeze takes me back to my youth growing up on the beaches of North Carolina fun times.. Thank you for taking me back kid! Love you

    1. Tracey~
      You are so sweet. I love that you are wandering through my blog. I sure wish that there was a way that I could meet you here literally! And we could visit. I have met some people here that I wish lived across the street or next door and we could have bbqs and talk over the fence and go shopping or argh work out together or at least go on walks… and you are one of those ones that I wish we could break past the technology and meet in person! I think that one of the best gifts I can ask for is someone reading my archives. Not a lot of people have seen anything I wrote before 2013 and yet I wrote almost half of my blog before then. Funny…. it is kind of validating. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for the flashbacks– especially on the “Bosco.” However, some of the memorable smells weren’t so favorable during my kid years of the 1950’s. There was the leather factory, about 5 blocks from my family’s apartment. The Sealtest slaughterhouse (at the time I only associated that company with milk deliveries), where we kids would climb up the stack of pallets to peek at the carnage through an open window. The oil refinery in Linden, NJ, which didn’t seem so bad when we attended the outdoor public pool in summers. And, believe it or not, I liked the smell of new tires from the local automotive shop. Of course, my favorite aromas arose from Mom’s cooking and Hanewald’s Bakery (miss those eclairs.) Have a wonderful day! Peace.

  3. Diane,
    Thanks for the olfactory reminiscences. Unfortunately, I’ve never had well-developed nostrils, so my sense of smell has been dulled since childhood.
    HOWEVER, that being said, I remember the sweet aromas floating my way every time I’d go to my Grandma Sawyer’s house. She was a home-ec major in college and baked and cooked all the time. It was a passion for her. And her passion translated into fond memories of the smells of her fresh baked pies (her apple and cherry my favorites). She had a fresh-baked (that day) dessert for my grandpa (and us when we ate over there) every night at supper. And her Christmas sugar cookies are the best in the world. I loved watching her mix and bake them, then smell the heaven as she took them from the oven. They were so good, I still bake them from her original recipe on a few Christmases.

    1. Steven,
      Just getting back here!
      Love your memories. I really can smell them too! Sugar cookies are the best smell! My grandma B had a walk in pantry with a cookie jar filled with those or molasses ones!

  4. Di, I think we grew up in the same neighborhood a few thousand miles apart. Bosco, and peanut butter sandwiches…. !!! Used to like to lay out in the yard at night and watch the moon and stars til I fell asleep. Have to say that you were a very cute kid ! G’nite ! 🙂

  5. Tea Tree Oil. I am immediately back to Saint John New Brunswick, early spring, snow is still on the ground and it is cold. I am perhaps 8 years old and exploring in a pine forest. I can smell the cold dirt, the pine needles and the wet air. I’m a kid again.

  6. I know these exist and I know I have them, but for the life of me I can’t remember one at the moment. I’ve used memory smells in the fiction I write. At least once or twice. They are there. What are mine? Errrggghhh!!!

      1. All great, great smells, but none of which bring back anything specific for me. 😦 They do offer a great opportunity to use those to create a story though. I’ll have to ponder that.

          1. Thank you very much. If you get to my Thinks I’ve Been Thinking #3 you’ll see that I’m working on something. But I also desperately need some motivation and inspiration for something new.

            Enjoy your Sunday.

  7. Yes! I also associate smells with experiences. I remember my Nana’s scent of ivory soap. The smell of my stepdad’s tobacco pipe. The chalk from school classrooms & who can’t remember the cafeteria…gross! Then there’s my father’s smell which was alcohol. Today I wear sandlewood in hope that my grandson will remember me.

  8. There are two that I remember. The first is the smell of my grandmother’s yeast rolls, that my father used to refer to as “light bread.” I am reminded of it every time I go to Bob Evans restaurant, where they offer them with every meal. The second is my first puppy always smelled like bologna, and I have no idea why. I am a sucker for dogs, particularly puppies, and so am gratified any time I open a package of bologna! Thanks for tickling that memory rib!

    1. I love it! You totally got this post! I love hearing about other people’s memory scents and why! It kind of snaps you back and hearing about yours made me smile! Thanks for sharing (Still smiling!) 🙂

  9. Ah!!! The Memories…..

    ” Memories are the one thing we have that when viewed correctly, will help us move forward stronger and better”.

    ” Memories help us fix the mistakes, fix our issues, so we can move forward on our paths along this journey through life”.

    1. Right… But I was thinking more about the memory scents and how they move us back to a different place and hoping others would share theirs as well. Do you have any?

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