Thursday, January 21, 2010

Childhood stinks

I'm loving these audience-participation posts. I have to say, you folks are a triple threat - great taste in tv, music AND books! Thanks for chiming in.

Here's another.

This week, a colleague of mine brought in a twelve-pack of Pepsi Throwback. Have you heard about this product? It's a limited release brand of Pepsi that is made with real sugar, as it was before they switched to high fructose corn syrup in the early 1980s.

My friend handed a can of Pepsi to anyone who'd take one, and when I cracked mine open, the smell that hit my nose transported me instantly to the 1970s. I don't remember the Pepsi formula changing. I'm not sure I even knew it happened. But, I'll tell you, the smell was unmistakable: it smelled like childhood.

It started me thinking about the smells that bring me back.

Like this: There's some kind of floor cleaner out there that, to me, smells strongly of green lollipops. I don't smell it often, but when I do, I am instantly walking through the side door of my elementary school. (As it turns out, according to what I've been reading, it's not a very good sign that this is the sort of smell that triggers my childhood memories. But, there you have it.)

So, what are the smells that bring you back? What do they smell like and where do they bring you?

22 comments:

Robin said...

honeysuckle always reminds me of Florida, my nana and the walks we would take together.
I miss her.

Hoofer said...

My favorite smell-memory is coming home from school when my mom had been cooking pasta sauce all day. I would open the door and instantly know what yumminess was for dinner that night.

JoyMama said...

The smell of a dish known in some circles as "leather britches," dried green beans reconstituted and simmered for hours with a bit of ham or bacon. Grandma made it for family gatherings. Totally unique odor.

So now that there's Pepsi Throwback with real sugar, who's up for some Diet Pepsi Throwback with real saccharin? :-)

r.b. said...

My Dad always wore Old Spice. When we were kids we always played in haystacks. These are good smells.

What I remember growing up in the Midwest was the smell of (ew!)cattle feed lots, an ammonia smell. Dad always said it smelled like money!

For Mom, Avon cream lotion...

The smell of suntan lotion probably takes me back the most...we were water babies!

Dang, somebody put a nickle in my nickleodian!

Anonymous said...

When I go to the locker room here, I am taken back to my high school and junior high school experiences in the locker room (nothing traumatic mind you). I was kind of a gym rat in those years and have lots of good memories associated with the gym.

Anonymous said...

Four (toxic) words: Super Elastic Bubble Plastic.

Claire said...

Hmmm- I'll have to try the Pepsi- is it good?
For me, it's the smell of Bonnie Bell Lip Gloss combined with hairspray- we used to gob that stuff on. Lip gloss and teased hair- hoo boy!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I remember Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, too! For me, it's chicken soup on the stove, Play Dough and sweaty kids at preschool, Coppertone by the pool, Love's Baby Soft for junior high dances, and my uncle's great cologne.

Jen said...

Old Spice is a favorite - I'm instantly in my grandparents' house - both long gone.
The smell of new plastic - weird - but I'm taken back to Christmas in my childhood :)
Smelling gummy bears puts me back on the tiny ski hill we had in our home town - riding the chair lift and sharing the bears from the snack machine, playing Ms Pac Man in the lodge when your feet got numb, then heading out again once you could feel them...
Gonna have to find me some Throwback Pepsi :)

Anonymous said...

Jen, I like new plastic too because it smells like a new babydoll on Christmas morning. Tide and Downey remind me of laundry day in my parents' basement.
Kathy

Christine said...

There is a certain kind of lemon smell that you find in household or industrial cleaners that always makes me think of the lemon flavored fruit loops.

mommy~dearest said...

Pink dove soap. Smells like my Grandma. I can't use it because it makes me miss her.

Ange said...

Ready for weirdness? I started dating my husband in HS, he worked in a butcher shop (a real one, small-time grocery where they processed meat, deer season, the whole bit); we lived where country smells were in your skin and hair. We don't live too far from where we grew up, but it's no longer country, and we've been married for 12 years? I think? Anyhow, after my cat spends the day outside, I love to bury my face into her fur. Smells just like my husband did nearly 2 decades ago when we first met...all warm, musky, and country butchershopish. He laughs at me, and I know she probably smells like that from running in the woods and torturing rabbits, but...it makes me feel that naive teenage love. :)

K said...

Mennen Speed Stick (yes, the deodorant) reminds me of the first boy I ever kissed. Take me to CVS, pop the cap off one of those and I will swoon.

Telemommie said...

I'll have to go with the "Old Spice" crowd. Reminds me of a certain friend but also those teenage years.

medrecgal said...

Lilacs from Grandma's back yard; sometimes she'd bring some into the house and they'd smell up the whole place.

Old Spice is reminiscent of Grandpa, Stetson of Dad when he went out to someplace special.

Strangely enough, the smell of gasoline always reminds me of the family vacations we took every summer. Saw lots of interesting places.

White vinegar brings me back to Grandma's, dyeing Easter eggs every spring. Got a whole list, but then again, there's just something about odors that's a more surefire trigger than many other senses. Don't know if that's "normal" or an ASD thing, but it makes life interesting.

Rachel said...

The scent of lilacs reminds me of running outside to the backyard as a child, on those spring days when the air had completely lost any hint of the coldness of winter. We had a lilac bush, and I was happiest when it was in bloom. The scent of lilacs makes me feel light and carefree decades later.

Pia said...

When I was in high school I lived in Finland for 6 months. In the area of Helsinki that I lived they had wild rose bushes everywhere... that smell brings me back every time. And, strangely enough, the smell of diesel fuel does as well... they also had a LOT of buses!

Island Mom said...

Ack! I remember that floor cleaner smell!! my school smelled like that too.

Dove soap -- Grandma's apartment in Queens, NY

Automotive grease on cold concrete (repair shop smell) always makes me think of my Grandpa who ran a rag business.

A certain specific misty ocean smell in the morning sunlight = riding my bike to work at 5:30 a.m in Los Angeles when I was 21 ( a long time ago).

Dawn said...

Cigars/pipes. My grandfather rarely smoked, but when he did it was either a cigar or pipe. Brings him back in an instant.

Black licorice. We had a cough syrup that smelled like this and the odor takes me right back to that stuff.

drama mama said...

Oh my God. The lollipop smell. We went to the same school.

This is called "sense memory" in actor parlance, and it's a very powerful tool to use.

For me, it's Avon Pink Bubble Bath. 1974.

~Kassie~ said...

oh what a fun post... i have to chime in here... mostly because what i read I didnt see anyone mention my "scent"! LOL

Elmers school paste...

nothing else in the world smells like it does, and it totally screams KINDERGARTEN!