Sunday, March 08, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - The Power of Scent

This past week, a scent took me quickly back to another day and another age.  I thought of writing about such a thing when I remembered... I already have.  Which, if you come to think of it, is not surprising in one's ninth year of blogging.  Here is a repeat of that Sunday Afternoon Tea post.

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 (that was when it played all pop music).

The boardwalk at our family's favorite local 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.  :)


Vee said...

The "little things" always bring the smiles and the welling joy of remembering. I love this post. Hope that I might have said the same thing last time because I have a vague memory of mentioning Wind Song. A lady wearing it went through my cash register aisle and she smelled sooo wonderful I had to ask her. She readily told me. I bought some that very day after work and wore it for years. Thank you for re-posting this one!

Anonymous said...

You are so right. I love the 'old papery' smell of a used book store.
Also the smell of the earth in spring. (come on spring!)

judy said...

I read that the way to know if a very early memory is really a memory and not something you were told, is it being associated with a smell or feeling. It seems to be true.

Rebecca said...

I got hung up on the "Wind Song" and "Heaven Scent" references!!!! They were two of my all-time favorites. (Now I seldom wear a scent--have a few vanilla-based ones lingering in my bathroom cabinet....)

LauraC said...

My family spent a week in Rockport, MA when I was about 13 or 14. We were walking on Bearskin Neck, a street of shops, when Paul Revere and the Raider's "Indian Reservation" came over an outside speaker (this would be about 42 years ago). I always associate that song with Rockport and the ocean. I saw them at a car show in Dallas TX in the mid-1980s too.
As a 2 and 3 year old, I used to carry an empty old pink skin cream bottle around because I loved the smell. About once a decade, or so, I catch a whiff in the air and immediately think, "pink bottle." THAT would be over 50 years ago!

Brenda Leyland @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Lovely post!

Today I'm smelling the wonderful outdoors as I open my windows for the first time in months. So fresh and refreshing.

I love the smell of old books too.

Happy Sunday,

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

"Your Wind Song stays on my mind!" I remember that perfume and Heaven Sent.

I also have scents that bring memories and onions and celery are one of them for Thanksgiving.

I love old books too.


Sunshine said...

The smell of french fries in a cold car remind me of Christmas time, that was the one time of year my mom could splurge and buy me a happy meal. :). Love this post!!! Sunshine

Debbie said...

I see we share some of the same taste of authors and old books. :) Is it any wonder that I became a librarian at one point in my life? I still collect old books and love to ready them.