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LottaLiving.com • Is there a certain smell that takes you back?
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Is there a certain smell that takes you back?

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:41 pm
by Slim and Gabby
I wasn't sure where to post this, but; is there a certain smell that takes you back to when you were young? I'm not talking about everyday smells, but special/certain smells that you don't get all the time, and what do you call it? For me it's "old refrigerator smell", no not the old food and sour milk, but that dry-musty smell that you get with an old big-appliance like an old frig' or freezer; but the thing it makes me think of is being little and the smell of the insulated galvanized-box that the milk-man would leave the milk in. For Gabby, it's "old blender smell", the smell of old small-appliances; that smell of decades old grease/oil that's been heated and reheated hundred or thousands of times and the dust that collects on/with it. It's as if all of a sudden I'm transported back the late 60's, early 70's, and then I start getting flashes of things that I haven't thought about for decades, feelings, moods, etc. What say you?
Slim

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:18 pm
by sky
It's not that a current smell will transport me back, but occasionally I have a vivid olfactory flashback of my grandmother's sponge cake. Not only does that take me back to the late 50s early 60s, but I probably have that 50 year old cholesterol lining my arteries still. Well worth it, though.

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:12 pm
by robbhouston
No doubt...

Smell is a very strong memory trigger. Not to bring you down...but on rare occasion, I get a strong whiff of a certain floral fragrance that instantly brings me back to a funeral for a friend back in high school. Weird, I know. There's another perfume scent that takes me back to a girl I had a crush on as a teenager. Nice... :)

Around 1972, when I was a child, we moved into a new house. It was a home my parents had designed themselves (along with an architect). Lots of glass, stone and brick....very contemporary. Not dead on MCM, but a close early 70s version. There was a smell that first night we slept there (mattresses still on the floor instead of on frames, boxes all around, etc...), that I occasionally pick up. Not sure what it is, but it definitely brings me back.

Interesting, how scent can activate memories.

--Robb

Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:56 am
by sumu
when i smell night blooming jasmine, it makes me think of halloween and trick-or-treating as a kid.

Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:35 pm
by Izzy
good topic.
I smell gardenia and i am back in my grandmas house, sitting with her on the back enclosed patio while she smokes cigarettes and tells us funny stories
Hospital food smell makes me gag, my dad was sick for a long time when i was 10 - 12. i can hardly stand the smell to this day.
Cheap beer smells like high school :P
I'm not sure if this is the same thing but my dogs paws smell like corn chips. ??? :?
Dont get me started on the smell of babies heads! :cry: i could cry just sniffing that, they should bottle it.
Smells and Memories, i love it when that happens...

Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:01 pm
by Perks
I have no idea what the actual smell is, but I was touring a new home model complex in Bakersfield over the weekend (for the record, dear lord no, I am not buying a brand-new house!), and when I entered one of the houses, I instantly had a fragrance-flashback to being in my grandparents' house when I was a kid. Funny thing was, there wasn't a truly noticeable smell, but I knew it smelled just like their house anyway.

Otherwise, the smell of fresh apples instantly takes me back to my early childhood, living in the middle of an apple orchard outside Yakima, Washington. That brings me back like nothing else can.

Smell is a very interesting sense. Unlike other sensory systems, olfactory nerves bypass higher-level cortical processing in the brain and head straight to the amygdala, which is the emotion center of the brain. That's why smells can elicit powerful overwhelming emotional responses even years later. (Sorry, that's the armchair neuroscientist in me talking again.)

Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:03 pm
by Perks

Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:24 am
by jakabedy

Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:14 pm
by Slim and Gabby
Yep, I agree, about the jasmine thing, it took me years to figure out what that smell was; nice!
The smell of California sage-brush (not sage) is a pretty amazing smell too. Being in the chaparral at night is something that also takes me back.

Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:39 pm
by Perks
I think my herbal memory of choice is eucalyptus. Reminds me of many a cold, foggy-morning car trip through the old farm roads in Ventura County as a kid.

Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:46 pm
by rockland
My dogs feet smell like corn chips and popcorn.
I'll be at my childhood home tomorrow and i'll certainly be
thinking about smell. (it will smell clean!) My mother has always been clean.
We had a maid for a short time when i was 5. She quit soon after.
"I can't clean clean!"
Have a nice thanksgiving everyone.
I will even be nice to my big sister who made my life living hell when i was
a wee one. :D

Posted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:52 pm
by Don-O
The smell of freshly opened Vinyl! Actually, it's mixture of vinyl and cardboard that sets my brain cells into overdrive. First LP I freshly opened was ELO's 1979 LP Discovery and it was down hill since.

You can tell how many hundreds of records I have, don't ya?

Don-O

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:28 am
by T.O. MidMod
I work at a radio station and recently we had a bunch of small cans of Play-Doh come in for a promotion (not sure what the promotion was, since I work in a different department). I opened one for fun to mess around with it, but before I could even take the stuff out, I was instantly transported back to the rough green carpet on the living room floor of my childhood home in the early 70s. And there I was, sitting there with my Play-Doh and hearing my mom clank around with pots and pans in the kitchen. It was crazy!

The other one that gets me every time is the steamy laundry smell you get from the vent on the side of your house. I grew up in a tall, barn-shaped, 1920s home near downtown Toronto where all the homes were about 5 feet away from each other. Anyhow, I used to play in the narrow walkway-space between the houses with my marbles and whatnot. I guess I'd be sitting right there by the laundry vent so, again, that smell takes me right back to childhood.

Sometimes wet earth (mud) takes me back too: I was a kid that loved to dig up worms or blast big holes in the ground using the garden hose (which I'd fool my dad into letting me play with by convincing him I'd be "watering the lawn" with!)

Ahhh...memories.

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:55 pm
by phinz

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:33 pm
by VMacek
The smell of a 1930s car mohair upholstery. Takes me right back to trips to our grandmother's in northern Nebraska. She had a '33 Ford Victoria she drove well into her old age. It conjures up the big basement room full of very old comic books where all the kids were lulled to sleep in down-filled beds by the drone of trains just past the yard.

Pretty much any diner-style place with the mixed smell of breakfast and lunch recalls early road trips and the prospect of seeing new places - it still gives me a case of itchy feet.

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:39 pm
by roadsidepictures
For me, the smell of a vintage auto brings back memories. Boat exhaust also triggers memories of the many summer days I spent at Lake Mead as a kid.

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:09 am
by moderns-r-us
This is going to sound strange, but my father worked for a John Deere dealer or as a John Deere dealer all of my life. The smell that always takes me back is the smell of a diesel tractor shop. It is a curious mix of concrete, heavy weight motor oil tainted with diesel, hydraulic fluid, the faint smell of diesel from the diesel injection room and dirt on the tractors. Whenever I walk into a tractor repair shop I am instantly transported to my youth where I would play in the service shop, while my dad would catch up on some work in his office on the weekends. To me it smells like comfort or a safe, warm place to be.

Later in life my dad and I would work on cars together in that shop and it reminds me of spending time with my dad.

Car garages do not do it for me because it is lighter weight oil and absent the dirt, diesel and the hydraulic fluid. And the smell of any one or two of those ingredients does not trip that same nerve in my brain.

Does this make me weird?

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:37 am
by roadsidepictures

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:48 am
by Miami Modern
As already mentioned, cardboard LP sleeves. Plus, Catholic churches, old comic books, Carvel Ice Cream stores, old books, and my grandparents house had a wonderful scent; it also happened to be perpetually stuck in 1962, which is when they first bought it! Overrall, the scent that takes me back is a combination dry paper, woodsy scent. I'm paralyzed with nostalgia whenever I smell it!

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:31 pm
by Slim and Gabby
"I love the smell of malathion in the morning, it smells like victory"
When I was young, they sprayed for med-flies in California; they used the same Bell UH-1 Iroquois, as in the now famous scene from "Apocalypse Now". There's something about that smell that I love, and I can't tell you why either. Those huge turbine engines would rattle everything in the house with that DEEP BASS, the windows would just throb. You could hear them coming from miles away, and we'd scramble inside so as not to get nuked by the bug-juice.
Slim

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:24 pm
by spinsLPs
The smell of french fries at the beach. Really brings me back.

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:33 pm
by roadsidepictures
Another scent that brings back memories for me is the smell of a slide projector when it heats up. My dad shot tons of transparencies in the 1970's.

yep- slide projector almost as good as blender grease!

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:23 pm
by Slim and Gabby
yep- slide projector almost as good as blender grease!

And that old car trunk smell......ahhh.
Now y'all know why Slim and I insist on having so much original stuff. I want the SMELL..ya, that's it. Sure.

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 10:13 am
by Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap

hmmm-sea and ski for me...

Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 12:02 pm
by Slim and Gabby
Hmm.
Coppertone doesn't put me in the waaayback smell machine, but good ol' sea n' ski sure does!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/trywhistli ... 261876113/


Image

Neat old tv ad here....
http://www.tvparty.com/vaultcomsex.html

yep. I can smell it now!

Gabby

Posted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:22 am
by phinz
The smell of low tide takes me back to Galveston as a kid.

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:09 pm
by Futura Girl
ban de soleil - the late 60s hanging by the pool. mom used that while we kids had to wear some stupid white stuff.

i knew i was an adult grown up (when i was a teenager) when i could go and buy my OWN tube of orangey goooey ban de soleil and smell like that!