Smells That Evoke Memories

Today it’s cold, 16 deg inside until I switch on the Air Conditioner and outside it’s pathetic drizzling rain on and off, not the weather you see on promotional  programmes about  Australia. I decided to light a perfumed oil burner, I find them comforting. The oil I put in today is Patchouli and Sandalwood. Patchouli always reminds me of the 1970s, it goes with bead bangles, folk music and freedom. I know some people say Patchouli incense was burnt to mask the smell of marijuana but not for me.

The perfume of Johnson’s Baby Powder is another comforting smell for me, it’s one product which has kept the same scent over many, many years.

The smell of Lavender always seemed so old fashioned when I was a child, the perfume came in fancy  little bottles, I actually felt sorry for Mum when Dad gave it to her as a present. I was sure she felt it was an old person’s fragrance. “Apple Blossom” appealed to me then and when I first went out working “Tweed” was all the go. I remember the first time I smelt Estee Lauder’s, “Youth Dew” I thought it was very sophisticated but then it seemed to be everywhere. David Jones,  Adelaide shop reeked of it and I found it cloying.

Smells other than perfumes evoke memories. Wet feathers remind me of the time we decided to kill a batch of roosters we’d produced. Killing and cleaning them was horrible and the meat was tough so it was something that happened only once but the smell is locked into my memory.

Another, in my memory, is a smell I couldn’t possibly explain but it was associated with my brother’s old school book covers. I think the material would have been expensive, today’s equivalent would be “Contact” or whatever the brand is you know, with various patterns printed on the material. Maybe it was wax printed, I don’t know, but it had a very distinctive smell. Other smells I remember are chook food in hessian bags, the cellar in my grandparent’s house, spent gunpowder after Guy Fawke’s Night and the strong orange smell put out by Citrus Swallowtail caterpillars when they are threatened. It’s quite intriguing when you become aware of a familiar smell from the past and then try to work out its significance.

Time now to top up the Patchouli and Sandalwood, the Air Conditioner is on but it has no smell and no history.

Shame you can't smell it.

Shame you can’t smell it.

Does this ring any bells with you?

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