Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds

Old smells, that immeditately transport you back in time?

Inkstainedwretch

One Too Many
Messages
1,023
Location
United States
I've read that our sense of smell is located in the most primitive part of our back-brain, where our animal instincts are situated. Once, it was vital to our survival, and that is why we "remember"smells and associate them strongly with particular times and places. You can detect a smell that you haven't encountered in many decades, and instantly remember where and when you smelled it before. Once I caught a scent in a completely unfamiliar setting. It was that of a medicinal salve that had been applied to me as a child in 1953, when I was 6 years old. It brought memories flooding back of the time and place and circumstances, after almost 60 years. I would not have been able to recall them without that scent.
 
Messages
15,569
Location
New York City
Mine's Old Spice. It always reminds me of my dad. As kids that was tradition for my sister and i to buy my dad Old Spice for Christmas. i have never worn it but now that i have little ones I told them they could get me Old spice for Christmas. LOL

Mennen's Skin Bracer is my dad, he put it on every morning after shaving and that was his scent. No cologne for that man, soap (Ivory) and Skin Bracer. It's him, even at 51 and with him gone for over 25 years now, if I catch a whiff of Skin Bracer anywhere, anytime, I am a kid again standing with my dad.
 

Juanito

One of the Regulars
Messages
227
Location
Oregon
Field burning, when you used to be able to do such "outlandish" things. Nothing like smoke in the air in the late summer, early fall.

There's also a certain, very heady perfume (Laura Ashley?) that was worn by a majority girls when I was in college. I hadn't smelled that until I went back to Oregon State for a football game, and got a whiff of it from a 40 something alumnae at a pizza place I used to frequent when I was in school--immediately cut 25 years off my age and put me right back to 1990 in an instant.
 
Last edited:
Messages
15,549
Location
East Central Indiana
Mennen's Skin Bracer is my dad, he put it on every morning after shaving and that was his scent. No cologne for that man, soap (Ivory) and Skin Bracer. It's him, even at 51 and with him gone for over 25 years now, if I catch a whiff of Skin Bracer anywhere, anytime, I am a kid again standing with my dad.

Same here with my Dad. He's been gone since 1984 (1905-1984) I've always used Mennen's as well. It reminds me of him every time I put it on.
HD
 

emigran

Practically Family
Messages
719
Location
USA NEW JERSEY
First time reading this amazing wonderful presentation of memory after memory... It seems I almost share every single one of them even though I never have smelled a newly cut cornfield. or what all else listed here...
Thanks everyone for the exquisite imagery.
 

p51

One Too Many
Messages
1,086
Location
Well behind the front lines!
Burnt meat. Reminds me too much of a horrible smell I'll never get out of my nose after a helicopter crash in the Army.
That, and the smell of MRE heaters or rubberized canvas with dust combined. If I never smell any of them ever again, it'll be way too soon.
I'll never understand the people who see my 1944 Jeep at shows and talk about how great the smell of treated canvas is. I never saw much treated canvas in the military but I have no idea why people would like that smell anyway...
 

emigran

Practically Family
Messages
719
Location
USA NEW JERSEY
This is not a smell but a taste memory... early-mid '50's...
As a young boy I would visit my great grandparents' summer cottage deep in the woods, seeming hours away and well up a very long steep log marked pathway. Nearby was a "lake" with a floating wooden platform diving raft and a "beach" that had grill pits and picnic benches scattered about. There was also a nearby concretebasin water fountain bubbler with a brass spigot. The fountain was fed from the adjacent springs and dispensed the coldest spring water with the most distinctive delicious tasting water ever. whenever I drink water now I still long for that taste...and...
recently I came across a bottled water that almost made me gasp in amazement as I was instantly transported to that spot in my memory... Crystal Geyser... who knew...!!!
 

Redshoes51

One of the Regulars
Messages
273
Location
Mississippi Delta
What is it about lawnmowers? That gassy smell combined with warm, cut grass always makes me think of being 5 years old...

My take is a slight bit different... I had sinus surgery once upon a time... and later came to realize that I had lost my sense of smell... talk about a life-changing event...

Anyway... I was leaving work one afternoon... and the grounds crew was mowing the grass on campus at the same time that a thunderstorm was approaching...

... and just for a moment, I could smell the lawnmowers, the cut grass, and the approaching rain... and I just stopped in my tracks... it didn't last long, but I was immediately transported back in time...

~shoes~
 

Thunderhead19

New in Town
Messages
15
Location
Canada
The smell of cinnamon and cloves in my grandma's pantry. It was a little room built into the kitchen. Granny would babysit me and my twin brother every once in a while. She'd go in there and get the fixin's for our lunch, and we'd slam the door and it would get jammed shut. Hilarious stuff. Grandpa would get home 30 minutes later and let her out. I don't remember ever getting punished for that.
 

philosophygirl78

A-List Customer
Messages
445
Location
Aventura, Florida
I'm currently (ie; five mins ago!) creosoting some joists of wood, and as soon as the smell of the creosote hit me, it took me back to childhood and my Uncle James out in the country painting the fence!

Also (I seem to be on a roll on this one![huh] )...I have a couple of old 1970's green slug army sleeping bags which I now throw on the floor for the dogs to curl up on (they love em!!).
Every so often (like last night) I give them a good shake and puff them up for the dogs, and the smell of the bag (old army sweats will understand) just takes me back to times lying out in the bag or being a various barrack blocks.

Cut the grass the other day and the smell of the freshly mown grass and the sun beating down always takes me back to a moment in time playing cricket at school during the summer term...ahhhh, good days :)

Walking into an old school (the ones that still have the old wooden floorboards and wax polished floor tiles, and the old cast iron radiators), well...that smell just throws me back to school days.

Your turn....;)
wooden boxes.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
When I was in law school, I read horn books and delved inside my
local library's law stacks held for the courthouse across the street.
Some of the older Illinois Reports hadn't been opened in decades
and the musty smell tinged with a sense of the past lingers in memory.
Courtrooms in old courthouses all have a certain smell. I can't really describe it, but anyone who has been in a one-hundred-year-old courtroom will know what I'm talking about. I don't much notice it now, but in a couple of decades when I'm long retired, I'm sure that a breath of that old courtroom smell will take me back to now.

Atticus

Found some ancient law tomes inside a second hand bookshop the other night that the owner claimed "no one ever buys."
For some reason I wanted to find a Prosser torts text just for a trip down memory lane, but the musty scent alone brought back memories.
 

p51

One Too Many
Messages
1,086
Location
Well behind the front lines!
Coal smoke. I'm a train fan from way back and on the east coast, almost all steam locomotives were coal-fired. I live in the Pacific NW now and almost all those were oil-fired. It doesn't smell the same way at all.
In September, I went to the NE corner of the country and got to ride the Strasburg RR again for the first time in several years. Ah, that coal smoke smell. Felt like home to me.
IMG_7332%20800x577_zps4un9tjyw.jpg
 

JimWagner

Practically Family
Messages
946
Location
Durham, NC
Sometimes the smell of vinegar takes me back to family Sunday dinner gatherings at my grandmother's house. She used to make a fresh cucumber dish that was basically fresh sliced cucumbers and onions heated in vinegar and black pepper just enough to soften the cucumbers. Aunts, uncles, cousins and sisters everywhere. It took 2 card tables for all the kids.
 

Inkstainedwretch

One Too Many
Messages
1,023
Location
United States
Perfumes that were once employed by former girlfriends or female associates. I can be on a subway train, take a whiff.. and the image of a particular face is immediately on my mind. Decades after the fact.
A few years ago I was in a department store and caught a whiff of perfume and was instantly transported to a certain back porch in Texas in 1963. It was the perfume worn by a girlfriend of that day. I'd climbed over her back fence to be with her and that scent remains lodged in my medulla or wherever.
 

sufidancer

New in Town
Messages
28
Location
Texas
Mennen's Skin Bracer is my dad, he put it on every morning after shaving and that was his scent. No cologne for that man, soap (Ivory) and Skin Bracer. It's him, even at 51 and with him gone for over 25 years now, if I catch a whiff of Skin Bracer anywhere, anytime, I am a kid again standing with my dad.
"Byyyyyyy------Mennen!"
 
Top