Friday, July 18, 2008

Flashback Friday: The Smellomatic Version

Isn't that sweet? It's from Mommy Always Wins.

I've had smells on the brain lately, mostly bad ones. But certain smells bring me back to my childhood in a good way.

* Clover. Sitting in the backyard making chains of clover--one year I tried to break a world record for the longest clover chain. For all I know I did, does anyone hold a world record for that?

* Pipes. My best friend's dad smoked a pipe, it was a spicy-sweet smell when he did. I always had fun at her house and her family treated me kindly. It's rare now to see anyone smoke a pipe, but when I smell one, I'm transported back to Lakeshore Drive in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

* Burnt sugar. Makes me think of roasting marshmallows over fires and that, in turn, makes me think of camping trips and parties which are always good memories.

* Gasoline. It brings me into my grandpa's welding shop--a huge, dark, concrete space filled with machines and parts and the permeating smell of gasoline. The shop was always cool, my grandpa's hands always lined with grease--capable hands that fixed everything and invented anything.

* Wrigley's Doublemint Gum. Why, grandpa's gum, of course. He chewed it all the time (he never smoked) and I'd find packages of it around his shop, his house, his boat and his camper. He always shared it when I'd find a pack.

* Fresh cut grass. Charcoal grills. Chlorine. Rain. OFF. All smells of summertime when we lived in Wisconsin.

* Dead fish. Not a pleasant smell, I'll admit, but when I smelled dead fish, I knew I was near the shore of Lake Michigan or Lake Winnebago and good times lay ahead.

* The humid smell of the woods, the cool, frondy, fern-filled low areas that mist rises from. If you ride your bike on the Elroy-Sparta trail you will smell this as you approach the 3 tunnels. If I could bottle that smell, I'd wear it every day.

Spill it, readers. What smells bring you back in time?


  1. My dh aftershave: reminds me of when I met him!!!

    Rain: reminds me of being a little girl stuck inside.

  2. Fresh bread - reminds me of childhood, Mama baked everyday. Around 4pm two loaves of hot fresh bread would come out of the oven and if the child there at that moment Mama would cut off the steaming heel, slather it with butter, sprinkle it with brown sugar and hand it to you.

    The Creek. - Mossy rocks warmed in the sunlight light, damp decaying leaves along the banks. I spent hours and hours in the creek.

  3. School bus fumes, belching as they round a corner, remind me of September and starting school, a new year stretched out in front of me, new books, new pens and pencils--nirvana!

    Musty, slightly moldy paper from the bowels of the library, where I spent way too much time searching for the next good reads.

    The back of a baby's neck brings me back to my son in infancy. Such wonder, such innocence, such a good smell and I'd created that good thing!

    Citrus: lemonade stands that never made much money but were fun to man; fresh squeezed orange juice the first time a lover broke my heart and I ran away to visit a friend in Florida.

    Bergamot: England and High Tea, elegance and travel.

    Lavender: Rows upon rows of the stuff growing in Provence,opening the windows and breathing in deeply and stopping myself from running through the perfect lines in a tizzy.

    Coconut and Almond: The smells of my two favorite Good Humor ice cream bars, the bells alerting us to grab change and wait on the corner to flag the truck down.

    Burning leaves: See bus fumes and new school year.

  4. gasoline, fresh cut grass, fresh baked bread, all those sound wonderful and remind me of my childhood

  5. A certain chemical/plastic smell produced by the Black & Decker plant where my father used to work 35 years ago.

  6. Oddly enough, the vague scent of moth balls mixed with cigarette smoke reminds me of my grandparents house. Gross, I know, but it is what it is. Many fond memories come with that scent.

    Wool - I used to have this sweater that I bought in Ireland when I was a teenager. The sweater never lost it's wooly scent, especially if I wore it in the rain. It was such a comforting scent.

    Relish - every fall, my mom would make this relish out of peppers, onions and I don't know what else. But the whole house would smell like it for days - a scent that takes me right back to Indian Summer days in New England with school just starting and upside down glass jars all over the place. I can almost hear the relish jar lids popping right now...

  7. Oooh - great flashback theme! I may steal it and do my own!

    pipes - my gradeschool soccer coach smoked one - brings back memories of my own!

    spart/elroy trail - we have a lot of family that lives out that way - have biked it, though not for a few years

    other smells for me? there's a perfume my aunt barb used to wear that makes me think of her and my childhood. I have no idea what its called, but I smell it every now and then and boy... I always wanted to be like her!

  8. Old Spice. My dad used it.
    Cigars. My grandfather smoked them when I was little.

  9. My Dads shirts always smelled of Old Spice and gasoline.I can't catch a whiff of either without thinking of him.

  10. My Mom wore Shalimar for about a zillion years, and my Dad wore Aramis. Even though they have both moved on to new varieties of stinky stuff, I still can call up the memory of those scents and it is forever tied to my childhood memories of every special occasion.
    My grandpas all smelled of cigars, and I still have a cigar box that I can open to smell the faint aroma...

  11. It's not a flashback because I smell it every morning, but my husband's Givenchy smell lingers in the walk-in closet after he leaves. Since he gets up at 5 and I don't, it's nice to have that reminder of him when I do get up.

    The smell of the ocean; so many beach camping memories.

  12. I swear to you, I was just going to do a similar post. My post was prompted by the smell of fresh-cut grass the other day (reminded me of my Chicago childhood for some reason) and Sebastian Shaper hairspray and L'Oreal sealily lipstick, which instantly transport me to high school.

    Also, I LOVE Sheboygan! It's been awhile, but I'd go as a kid.

  13. There's a smell of some sort of desert - I don't have any idea what it is, but I immediately become 9 again and am walking into my grandmother's house.

  14. Smells that bring back wonderful memories...Skin so Soft hand lotion. Every time my mom put it on, I knew she was going out with my dad on a date (back in my young, naive days, when I thought they had a typical, happy marriage), the early morning Up North smell reminds me of my years at summer camp (not sure why I went to camp every year since we lived in the Northwoods ourselves), fresh cut grass, clothes that have been hung on the line to dry, the smell of my four babies (definitely the neck area, there's just something about it), leaves burning, the smell of a new year of school (Elmer glue and new notebooks I think, I really loved school, I was a bookworm and loved to learn) - both smells remind me of fall, my favorite season. If I ever had the chance to smell side pork frying, I would be thinking of my adopted grandma with whom I visited every day after school and played 500 Rummy.

  15. Diesel. My dad's boat had a diesel engine, so it brings back great memories.

    Ylang ylang, which is used in some perfumes, brings back memories too, because we had a tree in our yard as kids. My friend Victoria and I used to make "perfume" with the flowers.


Spill it, reader.