Musings from Home

The Sweet Smell of Memories

The other day a friend of mine wrote about flower smells that she particularly liked and disliked. This got me thinking about scents (some floral, some not) that are particularly pleasing to me and I realized that certain smells appeal to me because they bring with them memories of somebody I love.


By far, my favorite flower scent is lavender, not just because of its lovely fragrance, but largely because it reminds me of my mom  sitting in the chair by the window in my living room commenting on how lovely the smell of lavender was coming through the window (we had a couple of large lavender bushes right outside that window). Mom left this world for a better place almost 9 years ago and I cherish the moments when the image of her inserts itself into my mind even for a split second (which happens often). It brings a smile to my face.

Pumpkin pie in the oven is another special smell to me as it brings my mom into my kitchen lickety split. Her homemade pies from fresh pumpkins were a family tradition that began in my childhood and continues to this day in my home.

The smell of fresh cut grass ushers forth the image of my dad sitting on his big orange tractor mowing the four acres around the house of my childhood. He spent many summer hours on that vehicle and I can picture him now just as he was then, especially when those newly-mowed blades hit the lawn. [He passed away 16 years ago.]

Turkey cooking on Thanksgiving brings back family holidays of old and blends them with the wonderful ones of the present. Back then, we all ate meager snacks early in the day, saving room for a gorging to match all gorgings when that roasted bird came out of the oven and joined cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, olives, (probably some long-forgotten vegetable), and my grandmother’s chestnut dish on the dinner table. Our menu is much the same today, with a few items subtracted (that veggie I can’t remember and the chestnut dish no one but me likes) and a couple added (rolls and green bean casserole).

The fragrance of baby shampoo that fills the room as I give our puppies a bath summons memories of shampooing Emerald and Sapphire’s abundant and slightly curly hair when they were babies. The curls gave way to fine straight hair at the first haircut.

Time passes so quickly and phases of our lives change, but I will always have reminders of times gone by — pictures both in my mind and on paper, and smells that waft in unexpectedly and tap me on the shoulder to say “remember when . . . ”

So who’s with me? Are there any scents that mean something to you in addition to being pleasing to your nose?


Comments on: "The Sweet Smell of Memories" (5)

  1. Yes Andrea – agree wholeheartedly. The scent of Almond Extract brings me back to being a small child sitting on the counter ‘helping’ my Mom make Christmas cookies….beaters in hands and batter all over my hands and face!

  2. Well, my childhood is best forgotten so I like smells that have become meaningful to me as an adult. One of my best friends is Native American so I have come to cherish the smell of sage, white sage in particular, as she has used it so often to bless me and my home. I also love the smell of roses, Rosebud was the first dog I had as an adult. I planted mini rosebushes out front and she always sends me special blossoms from heaven on her and my other dogs’ birthdays. Smell is so meaningful to me I make my own aromatherapy sprays with essential oils. Deborah, you might enjoy using Dr. Bronner’s almond castille soap in the shower – I smell like a Christmas cookie after using it. Yum!

  3. Remember how we were moving to TX and Jim had to come about two weeks before the rest of us? When I got here he was moved into the house and he had one of those oil diffusers set up in the living room. It was frankincense. Although, they don’t sell that scent at the place we used to buy it, it’ll always remind me of moving here and into this house I love so much! I really miss that smell. Time to do some online shopping for it! You’ve reminded me how much it defined my home.

  4. Coffee percolating in an old fashioned pot reminds me of visits to my grandparents’ house and how they’d get up at 5 a.m. every day and start off with black-as-tar coffee.

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