Today I smelled two smells I hadn’t thought about in a long time. I was walking down the hall of my building when they hit me.
The first time, it smelled EXACTLY like an old family friend’s pantry. When I was little, I was a fairly nosy kid (not that I ever grew out of it) and I liked to look around in people’s closets, pantries, drawers, etc. You get the picture. She used to let me look all I wanted, rearranging things in her pantry, picking my own neon colored straw for the drinks she always provided. I thought it was great fun. And her pantry always had this distinct smell. I couldn’t explain what it smelled like, it just smelled like her pantry. She got older, things started to confuse her more and more each day, and now she happily lives in an assisted living home. Oh yes, and my grandmother now lives in her old house, so I still see the pantry, but it does not smell the same. I guess it was some spice or something she kept in there.
Anyway, I was walking down the hall when it hit me. I closed my eyes and it was like I was four years old again, standing in front of her pantry.
The second time, I was walking down the hallway in a different direction, and I smelled another familiar smell. The smell of another old family friend’s home. It smelled vaguely like soft perfume, cigarettes, and clean dog. (Clean dog is not a bad smell, not at all.) I hadn’t thought about this woman in a long time. I remembered her and her little miniature poodle that I delighted in playing with when I was little. She passed away several years ago, but I have always had fond memories of her. She was an interesting lady. She had immigrated from Germany and had many interesting knick-knacks in her house.
So twice today, I smelled two familiar smells completely out of the context I remembered them in. I guess I thought it was a little odd, but not at all frightening or really even very strange.
This has happened to me several times before, not enough to be seriously weird or anything, but sometimes I’ll just catch a whiff of something that is familiar and comforting. One day while standing by my vanity I smelled my great-grandmother’s familar smell. Another day I might smell my late grandmother or my late great-aunt. My sister is the same way. I don’t know, maybe we have really powerful senses of smell.
They say that smell is the most powerful memory booster there is. We can recall so much more from a smell than anything else. I wonder why this is?