Memories and the sense of smell..

February 20, 2009

Isn’t it funny how you can be in the most random place, smell something familiar and have it trigger a flashback of childhood and times long gone? Or how a smell will immediately think of one thing, good or bad..just because of how you were brought up?

I can’t help but think about how special it is, how our brains work..to lock in these smells to memory to trigger things special (or not so special..) to you. Why am I on this topic? I don’t know really..I have lit a lilac candle in our den the past few days and each night I blow it out as to not burn the house down while we sleep. I’ll leave to do a few of my night time to do’s and come back into the den to smell the scent of a candle blown out and can’t help but immediately think of childhood and blowing out the candles on my birthday cake. Each year around thanksgiving I’d have a birthday party where all my friends from school would come celebrate with me, usually at Major Magic’s, Chuckie Cheese or the local bowling alley. Each party my parents let me pick out a double layer half sheet cake with buttercream frosting (usually chocolate cake with strawberry filling!). It was always decorated with little scenes and figurines of what I liked at the time..Winnie the Pooh, Barbie..you know what I mean 🙂 I was always so excited blowing out those candles on my special cake..and each time I smell the smell of a candle gone out I can’t help but feel a little warm and tingly inside, no matter what my mood is at the time.

This has happened before too with smells that just randomly come out of nowhere at remind me of someone I love who has passed on. I remember in 02 or 03 I was in Quality Market food shopping on main Street in Williamsville and happened upon a spot in the store that succinctly smelled like my Aunt Lynne had just been standing there. She passed away when I was 13..I was locked in that spot in the middle of the freezer section just taking it in for a moment, while it was there..remembering how when I smelt that specific smell in the past she was there with me. This has happened on and off again over the years..Whenever I smell someone smoking a pipe I’m immediately taken back to sitting with my Great Grandpa Charlie who always sat at the kitchen table with a pipe, smoking and telling us stories of his childhood in Germany. Another time more recently (probably about 3 years ago) I went into Atlanta Mills Bread Company and immediately thought of my grandpa Joe who died in 2004. He was in the coffee business, supplying commercial coffee makers and coffee to local businesses and his house always had this specific coffee aroma whenever we visited. Well that smell seems to be locked in the doorway of Atlanta Mills..at least whenever I visited there in Buffalo.

I wish there was a way of bottling up these scents. When you’re having a hard day it’d be nice to sit down and reminisce about the people I loved so very much and feel like they are in the room with me…

I wonder what other smells will become locked into my memories as I continue on in life..I can’t wait to find out 🙂

So how about you? Are there certain smells that make you warm and tingly? Smells that remind you of a loved one? Don’t be shy..comment away! I’d love to hear.. 🙂

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