Tag Archives: memories

The Smell of Memories


Today as I was washing the dishes, I got three distinct odors wafting under my nose; dish soap, Mexican seasonings and chlorine bleach.  It was quite a combination I can assure you, but it brought to mind my Gramma Lou. That got me thinking about how smells trigger memories.

The smell of chlorine bleach brings thoughts of all the times spent at my Gramma Lou’s house because she always seemed to have her white’s hanging on a line down in the basement.  To this day, the smell of wet, bleached clothing is my favorite smell.

The smell of grilled hot dogs brings camping memories of dear friends, laughter around the campfires, and my daughter’s childhood.

Freshly cut wood makes me think of my husband since he loves to work with wood.

Cinnamon, cranberry, praline, and caramel scented candles remind me of the wonderful days I spent working at my favorite shop years ago and the woman who owned the shop and how I was privileged to help her walk down that pine needle path to her forever home.

The smell of gasoline, tires, and oil takes me back to when my dad worked a second job in a full-service gas station and how he would take my sister and I there when he wanted to wash his car using their equipment and how if we were lucky enough to get a candy bar from the candy machine in the office, how it tasted like gasoline.

The inexplicable smells that came from certain stores like Woolworth’s (it had to do with the lunch counter space, probably the grill and the oil….but I can still smell it in my mind) or Glass Block (once you got in through those revolving doors, you could smell “class”.

The old beautiful musty smell of the libraries of my childhood, the dust sparkling around in the late afternoon sunshine, the quietness…almost a reverence.  I miss that and the ease of use of the 3×5 index cards in the card catalogue cabinets.

The odd smell that would permeate the West End of Duluth (way before the waste transfer system was there), I never knew if it was from the two bread making companies or the Arco Coffee company roasting their coffee beans.

The smell of the girl’s shower room at the old Goodfellowship Club, which by the time I used it was at least 50 plus years old.  The dankness of the  past lingered in those old peeling cement walls.

The overwhelming scent of hairspray and perm solution in the beauty salons where I would wait for my mother and once had my own hair done and they put glittery sparkles in my hair (little did they know they would spark a life-long passion of having unusual stuff/colors in my hair!).

The smell of sweetness and tobacco and old building at the liquor store my grandfather used to bring us to in Oliver, WI.

The awful smell of alcohol and disinfectant at the hospital and doctor’s office.  Just walking in there would make me sick to my stomach.

The feminine scent of talcum powder brings my darling Aunt Mayme to memory.  A beautiful soul who spent most of her life looking after everyone else and had the first place of her own at the ripe age of 81.

The smell of leather recalls the old man at the shoe store who always made me feel a bit uncomfortable for reasons I don’t think I could articulate back then.

The scent that has never gone away of the girl’s bathroom in the catholic grade school I attended and has not been used as a school since 1969 but all through the years I have attended functions there and have used the bathroom, that same smell is there.

The smell of iron in water teleports me back to my aunt and uncle’s house out in the country (I always hated to have to have a drink of their water since it tasted “funny” to this city kid).

Those are just some of my memory smells, the odors that transport me back to the 1950’s and 60’s.

Today’s smells that will take me back to this time in the future are the smell of my grandchildren; the unpleasant smell of decay in my old dog, Maxx; the smell of Mod Podge and chalk paint; and smells that I encounter now that I do not place any value in, once smelled in the future may bring back a memory of just this exact day.

Care to share any Smell Memory with me?  I am sure we all have them but perhaps they come and go and most folks never pay them any mind.

My sense of smell is acute (that is why my nose is bigger!) and my mind is always active so I am more sensitive to “Smell triggers” than many people.

So are you taken down Memory Lane when you smell a certain smell?  Please share.

Until the next thought pops up here,

I remain your smelly Queen




ANYWAY you put it, old friendships are truly golden.

Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of meeting with three old friends for a long lunch.  We practically had the whole restaurant to ourselves and so we felt no need to hurry along. I think this lunch was 4 hours long (last year it was close to 6!).

I’m sure we probably brought up some of the same funny stories that we did last year but since none of us (except for Miss Terry) seems to remember everything, it was like telling it for the first time.

There is such a warm feeling of  connectedness when you share old memories.  Since we all grew up in the same tiny community, there is usually nothing we do not know about each other and our family dynamics.  But every now and again, a fact would come up that one of the ladies did not know about and that made for some enlightening and hysterical conversations.

But the funniest segments were when one of us wouldn’t remember an incident and our resident Mega Memory Queen would berate us for not remembering!   Only with old friends can you be called on the carpet for a bad memory and laugh about it.

I love these ladies.  Love them like sisters.  We never get together as families or even talk much (if at all) on the phone but there is that “childhood link” that binds us together and I believe, that no matter what the need, all it would take would be a phone call and each one of us would be at each other’s side in a New York minute (which, by the way, I don’t have a clue as to what that means but I like to drop it into my conversation every now and again to seem more cosmopolitan than I really am).

I am blessed with true friends both old and new that accept me, blue~snowflaked hair and all and look past my flaws (except it was pointed out to me yesterday by someone sitting across from me, that my right arm is bigger than my left because of a large fatty tumor that sticks out so now I am going to be seriously self-conscience about that, so thank you very much Miss Perfect Hair and Body).


And I was laughed at because I brought my own eating utensils and napkins and a bag of wet wipes and ordered a bottle of fake beer and wiped down the top and neck before I drank from it and had Mac and Cheese cause it was the only thing I could think of that would be the least touched by stomach flu~tainted hands!  If you read my last blog post, you know that being out at this time of the year is very hard for me and I was taking no chances of picking up those germs from touching anything or using anything that might not have been sterile!  Yes, my friends got a big HA HA from that but you know what?  They accept it as “That’s Robyn”  tho one of them threatened to put it on FB (I bet you can guess who….see photo above).

Yup, just like sisters!!!

Love from your Crazy Queen who will be waiting with fear until 48 hours are over since I figure that’s how long it would take to pick up the flu…….