Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Tea


Not too long ago I was standing in line to pay for a purchase when suddenly memories of being seventeen years old at the beach with my girlfriends were flooding my mind.

I could almost hear Hermit's Hermits or Paul Revere and the Raiders melodies coming from the radio set to WLS Chicago.

The boardwalk at our family's favorite beach

For just a moment I didn't realize what had brought the memories but then I got a whiff of the woman who stood in front of me... Coppertone suntan lotion.  That was the scent which took me back in time.  Her deep tan was an indication that she had recently been to the beach.  :)

Isn't it amazing how our memories are linked to a scent?  Along with Coppertone, there are a few other scents which could take me back to the early 1970s... Wind Song, Heaven Scent, Musk Oil... just to name a few perfumes.


Various scents coming from the kitchen have a similar affect.  The aroma of bacon sizzling as coffee brews will always remind me of waking up at my mother's house when we would visit.

The smells surrounding a Thanksgiving meal brings back years and years of spending the Holiday with my in-laws.  Even today we have to taste the turkey and have someone comment that it is dry, just as my melancholic mother-in-law stated every year.  :)


Of course, there are the aromas of Christmas... perhaps the most magical of all scents from my childhood. 

Few adults would think the combination of peppermint, chocolate, ham, caramel, fudge, mashed potatoes, green beans cooked to death in pork, and evergreen trees could possibly be beautiful... but they were to a six year old!  The combination meant Christmas Day.


The aroma of woodsmoke on an autumn day in combination with Sweet Annie always brings memories of walking through The Feast of the Hunter Moon as the days of the French and Indian traders were reenacted. 

When we traveled back to our parked car on a shuttle bus each year, I knew we had to return to present time but for a few hours we were transported back to the 18th century.


I love the smell of old books.  Even today when I open an old book, the aromas of musty papers and old leather not only make me sneeze but they can transport me to the original County library of my childhood. 

It was a magical place, beautiful in Gothic architecture.  It was like going to a Cathedral.  I don't know how any child spending time there could not fall in love with books.

As I pondered these things in the past week, I thought of how... once again... it was the little things that brought the fondest memories.  :)

12 comments:

Vee said...

You nailed it! I'm right there with you down to the smell of Coppertone, WindSong and turkey...dry. (Of course, you know by now that great suggestion of Deanna's (CCottage) where everyone at my Thanksgiving table said in surprised tones, "This turkey is delicious." Ha!

Books...my eye went directly to Girl of the Limberlost. Wonder where my copy is...

Oh and did you know that The Vermont Store sells WindSong and HeavenSent. Wonder if those fragrances hold up today.

knittingyoyo said...

Oh my, Coppertone..I still love it. I could smell all those wonderful scents you described. I had forgotten about Wind Song.

Cheryl (Copperswife) said...

Oh, my, yes, the best memories are definitely of the "little" things. The scents that bring memories of my childhood home are similar to yours- turkey roasting, my mom's applesauce cake baking. Coppertone brings back memories of summer vacations, riding for hours in the back seat of a car with no air conditioning to see the Grand Canyon, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, etc.

WindSong!! The song that played during WindSong commercials will now be playing through my head all day! "I can't seem to forget you, your Windsong stays on my, Windsong stays on my mind.".

Anonymous said...

What a sweet special post this was. British Sterling and Old Spice..boyfriends and my father. Ahhh. The smell of burning paper on the 4th of July brings back so many memories of fireworks displays at the city park each year when I was growing up. I even remember the fragrance of Tangee lipstick. The only lipstick mother would let us girls wear because it was light and natural looking! :) By the time you mentioned the smell of books I was in tears. That did it! Books bring back sooo many wonderful memories of our own Cathedral looking Carnegie Library and books at all the relates, special teachers and especially books at home. Home which had its own scent of cinnamon toast and coffee, family dinners and special events of pop corn strings and smores and fried chicken. Plus all the holiday scents of pine needles and so many things wound up into love. Sarah

Beth said...

Oh my, yes! Scents do bring back fond memories. Windsong and Sweet Honesty, the smell of coppertone and chlorine sends me back in time to summers when I lived at the swimming pool. Chanel #5 always brings my mother to mind. The aroma of pipe tobacco reminds me of my daddy. The scent of woodfire brings back memories of family camping trips. The scent of baby powder reminds me of when I held my little babies (who are now all grown up). And Brut cologne is still my husband's scent.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Morning's Minion said...

The library in the little town of my childhood was in a lovely old house that had been converted with beautiful oak shelves and fittings to create a multi-roomed treasury of books. Mock orange and bridal wreath framed the front steps. Even when they weren't in bloom there was a particular elusive scent which welcomed one into the front hall with its sweeping staircase; a mounted snowy owl in his glass case looked down from a niche at the bend of the stairs.
I always hope any house I live in has a pleasantly memorable smell--in spite of sharing it with an assortment of cats.

TeresaAngelina said...

Oh yes! I read earlier this year a book by William Deresiewicz "A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship and The Things That Really Matter." In it, in an opening chapter, he mentioned that "life is lived on the level of little." Scent is so small yet so large in life. Me too. I will when walking down a path have the scent so very briefly of a wildflower I remember when living as a very small child in Goose Bay Labrador (yes, it does exist...still does in fact) and suddenly I am 3 or 4 years old again. And I wonder: will so much electronic books, how will that wonderful scent be reproduced? I have the same result; old books, fresh love and remembrance.

Anonymous said...

You are so right...scents DO bring back memories...ah Fame cologne (and it was SO CHEAP too when I first began to get it)...one guy told me I smelled like an angel when I was wearing that. Wanted to buy his girlfriend some...heehee...must not have known that not all perfumes smell good on a person...we all have different chemistry!! I think the stuff we got a couple years ago was from the Vermont store...yes, it is SIMILAR...but not exactly the same...argh!!

Mama Squirrel said...

On the smell of books--I have a particular nostalgic fondness for the sharp smell of British printer's ink. It reminds me of the children's weekly papers my dad used to bring home.

Mrs.Rabe said...

"Your WindSong stays on my mind....." Ah, memories!

It is amazing how our senses can take us back in time....

And why we will always have sage dressing at Thanksgiving...my memories of helping my grandma make it on Thanksgiving day!

Deanna

Sunshine said...

OH yes! The smell of books can instantly transport me to the magic of school days when it was our class' turn to visit the library! Or the smell of wood smoke lingering makes me want to curl up in chair with a cup of coffee and a great book, or the sounds of Little House on the Prairie or the whistling at the intro of Andy Griffith meant dinner time :). Suntan lotion and aqua net smells transport me back to summer camp :).
Sunshine

Front Porch Grace said...

True, so true.

I can understand your love for each one of those smells.

Remember Love's Baby Soft? That sends my mind soaring to the late seventies.

The smells of fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, bacon cooking in the morning...so comforting.

But the smell of old books? Heaven. New books, too. Ahhh.