childhood

What’s That Smell?

In keeping with the theme that I seem to have been creating here lately, I kept on thinking more about the things that trigger certain memories. Smells seem to be the most compelling trigger for me.

We have two rose bushes in front of the house. I didn’t plant them, they were here when we moved in. I had no idea what color they were going to bloom, so I was awaiting the display once spring came around. They turned out to be a beautiful yellow with just a hint of pink on the buds before they opened and very fragrant. In this case it was the color that brought back to mind my first “crush” in 4th or maybe 5th grade. For my birthday that year he gave me a choker necklace – I’m sure his mom picked it out – but it was a gold wire with 3 beads in the middle. They were heart shaped white beads with yellow roses painted on either side. To this day when I see yellow roses I am reminded of him.

Any time I smell burnt toast I am reminded of childhood and our neighbors across the street. They had a big family, 5 or 6 kids depending on who was home from school at the time. When ever I would go to their house, no matter the time of day, there was a lingering smell of burnt toast. When I smell that today, I can vividly picture their house in my mind, the plastic slip covers over the furniture, the vinyl chairs around the kitchen table, the laughter and shouting that came along with such a big family.

Honeysuckle is one of my all time favorite scents. The memories that surround that smell are many. Ask my parents or other close family members and they will certainly relate the story of my trying to make honeysuckle flower honey and wanting to sell it to the neighbors. When the process became to tedious, the friend that was helping me and I came up with the plan to stuff the baby food jars we were using with the blossoms and sell them as “do it yourself” kits. 5 cents a piece, it was a bargain for sure. And don’t you know, we sold out of those kits that same afternoon.

The late summer nights spent playing with friends, the air heavy with the scent of honeysuckle, cut grass, a charcoal grill, and the many other fragrances of flowers blooming around the neighborhood – any of those take me back to a simpler time. Because we lived close enough to the zoo we could hear the lions roar at night and the peacocks squawk during the day. The animal noises from the zoo, along with the whirring of the box fan in my window, was the soundtrack to my childhood bedtime routine.

Tell me, what are some of the smells, sounds, or tastes that bring back memories for you?

honeysuckle

Advertisements

Miss me?

Okay, so I said a while ago that I was making some changes. Then life happened. And this little corner of my world was neglected and set aside. I did make some behind the scenes changes. Nothing that the average reader would notice. Yet, for some strange reason there has been a lot of traffic through here lately. Not sure why. But hello again. I’m back.

dandelion_small

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about memories. Not anything on a scientific level, as in what makes a memory, why do we remember some things but not others. But of actual memories. Events from my childhood, my high school years, and into my adult years. Although I’m still  not convinced I’m actually an adult yet. But that’s for another post.

I grew up in an amazing neighborhood. It was a dead end street. Everyone knew each other, all the kids played together. The older kids would babysit the younger kids, and as the younger ones grew up, the responsibility was passed on. We would walk to the zoo, play in the park nearby, run in and out of each others houses whenever we were awake. The parents would get together on someone’s front porch during summer evenings while the kids tore up and down the street on their bikes, played kick the can, hide and seek or any other game we could come up with. We weren’t worried about kidnappers, predators, or any other scary monster, other than the old man that lived in that house. I don’t know why all the kids were afraid of him. I’m sure he was a very nice man.

We had block parties every 4th of July. The street would be closed off, the kids would decorate their bikes for a parade, games were organized, the fire hydrant opened up for everyone to cool off in, and food would be served. One side of the street was responsible for dessert, the other side for the vegetable/salad/side dish. That responsibility would alternate every year, and you could always count on certain families to bring their specialty creations. Each house would bring their own meat to grill. Hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, kielbasa, chicken, anything that could be cooked on grill probably was represented there. We would set up tables and chairs in big rows. Families combining to make even bigger groups, until you couldn’t tell where one ended and the next one began. After the fun and festivities of the day, the evening would be filled with more games, a pinata, square dancing, sparklers, and even some fireworks. Laughter filled the night air, and no one wanted the day to end. I’m happy to say the tradition of the block party continues, with the old families that remain sharing the tradition with the new families that have embraced the neighborhood.

It definitely was a different time back then, and the neighborhood has gone through some changes. I’ve been gone from there for many years, as have many of the other families I grew up with. But taking a trip back through, walking down the old cobblestone street, there are still certain aspects that remain the same.  And while the street looks smaller to my grown up eyes, the memories are just as big as if it was yesterday, and not so many years ago.