Sense Memory #637

August 30, 2010

noxema_tnLet’s say that you go to the drugstore to buy diapers and tampons and Vanity Fair magazine, and while you are there, you buy one of those little tubs of Noxzema – not the big one, the one that slides to one corner of the shopping basket and tips it with its weight, the little one that fits in the palm of your hand – and you take it home with you, whereupon arriving you take it immediately to the bathroom, thinking, I will just open it up and smell it, because you know that the smell will transport you, you know that it will make you feel fifteen again, and who doesn’t want to feel fifteen again, just for a minute, to feel fifteen the way that fifteen feels when a fifteen year old is standing in the bathroom with a tub of Noxzema in her hand, listening to the clatter of her parents in the kitchen downstairs, believing, knowing, that the thick smelly cream, deliberately smeared – upward, upward, so as not to pull down on the skin – will lift all the dark crud from her pores and from her anxious, adolescent soul.

So you stand by the sink and you open it, and you lean down to inhale (why do you bend to it? Why do you not lift it to your face? You wonder whether you do this with toothpaste, too, and briefly consider brushing your teeth to test the theory, but the Noxzema calls, and so you make a mental note for later) and the tip of your nose brushes against the thin blue edge of the jar and you inhale the cold, antiseptic smell (minty but something more than, other than minty; not the mint of toothpaste, but a sterile, flavorless mint, the crisp menthol of Irish Spring and Windex and pine and paste; flavorless, but nonetheless inviting to the teeth, a smell that you can feel push up against your gums and your tongue, a smell the texture of which you can imagine in your mouth) and you resist the temptation to just push it right up against the smooth white surface of the cream, you resist, because that small, unbroken expanse of white demands to be probed by fingers, so that the thick cold of it can be pushed upward like plowed snow to be plumbed and scooped and spread thickly across the nose and cheeks where it will immediately cause one’s eyes to water.

And that is exactly what you do, you plunge your fingers – forefinger and middle – into the thick cold cream – a cream that is almost too dense to be called cream, but still – and you scoop it and you lift it and you spread it down the bridge of your nose and then across, under your eyes, to your cheekbone, and from the moment that it touches your skin you are transported, transported, and you are fifteen again and all of the beauty and fear and angst and warmth of that is right there on the other side of your eyelids, which are squeezed shut, of course, tightly, because how else are you supposed to ride this moment, this moment that has taken you so completely out of your forty-year-old diapers-and-iPhones life and left you somewhere else entirely?

If only they still sold Love’s Baby Soft. You might never leave the bathroom again.


I’m sick, feverish-and-snotty sick, and Emilia has been asking about death again in that totally matter-of-fact way that sometimes unnerves me, and I am still struggling to work my way through all of the emails – some of which, weeks old – about and for Tanner and every one of those emails makes me cry – in a good way, but still – and I am exhausted, exhausted, and we’re going to have a holiday at the end of this week, just us, our family, and I’m beyond thrilled for that but I can’t be sick and exhausted for that, I can’t, so.

And then there’s Africa. I’m going to Africa in three weeks. (Someone could come with me. You could come with me. We could sing “We Could Be Heroes” to each other and try to be ironic about it. Then we’ll get there and cry a lot and be changed and we’ll try to not be ironic about that, either, because it’s lame to be ironic about that sort of thing, it totally is.) (I won’t have to try, actually, because I have a very hard time being ironic about anything, even though I have, at times, worked very hard at it. I am, at my core, sappy and credulous. I try to view it as a strength.) Anyway. I’m going to Africa. Lesotho. For this. It’s blowing my mind a little.

Not enough to stop my nose from running, though. That’s a real disappointment right there.



What’s your best sense-memory trigger? The smell of Bonne Bell lipsmackers? The taste of Coke out of a glass bottle? Frosted Lucky Charms? New car smell? Old Spice? Share it in the comments. I feel like doing some sense-memory tourism.

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    Jenn August 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Oh wow! Now I’m 15 again just reading this! Now I have to by Noxema immediately! This was just awesome.

    Linda August 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    You can!

    We all wore it in our early teens. In my memory, I can still smell it. Had the lotion and talc, too.

    Catherine August 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    @Linda, I am buying that NOW.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Sense Memory 637 =-.

    Sharon August 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Shortbread cookies baking in the oven brings me back to Christmas time as a child. Each year my mom would make the shortbread cookie dough found on the back of every cornstarch box. She would roll out the dough and my sister and I would stamp out festive shapes with metal cookie cutters. We’d then decorate them with coloured sugar and sprinkles and wait expectantly for the interminable 10 minutes while they baked, eating them fresh from the oven and burning our mouths even though my mom would tell us not too. She’d then put them into tupperware to be frozen for when company came during the holidays but my sister and I would break into the container and eat them frozen. Those things start at an early age, you know.
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..Why Does Swimming Make You Pee =-.

    Catherine August 30, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    @Sharon, the smell of almost anything my mom bakes takes me back in a flash. Christmas at home is one long sensory freak out. I’m a kid! I’m a grown up! I’m a kid! I’m a grown up! EXHAUSTING.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Sense Memory 637 =-.

    Amy August 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    My smell of my father’s aftershave on my lunch money.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..So Yeah =-.

    Saisquoi August 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Pipe tobacco and Andes Mints. My father stopped smoking except for the occasional cigar when I was in High School, but when I was a little girl, he would take me with him to the Pipe Store (smoke shop) in downtown. During the summer, we’d ride the trolley there. He’d look at pipe stuff, and I’d sit in the barber chair they had and eat Andes Candies until it was time to go.

    Sometimes I go into the Pipe Store just to smell the tobacco. Wish they still sold the mints and held on to the barber chair.
    .-= Saisquoi´s last blog ..Sassy =-.

    Catherine August 30, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    @Saisquoi, I have my dad’s pipes. He stopped smoking them a long time ago, but that smell is so specific to him that just passing one in front of my nose takes me back to my childhood, and to him.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Sense Memory 637 =-.

    Rhia August 30, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Ponds soap or Vanishing Cream and Oil of Olay take me back to being with my grandmothers.
    The smell of tempera paint takes me back to being so young and innocent and filled with the joy of creating.

    Catherine August 30, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    @Rhia, PLAY DOH.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Sense Memory 637 =-.

    Catherine September 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    did you know, actually, that Demeter does a Play-Doh fragrance?
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Breck Girls Never Had To Worry About Grabby-Handed Toddlers =-.

    Chrissy August 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Oh yes, Noxema. And Love’s. And Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflowers, how I coveted it. And new Trapper Keeper and Cover Girl Powder Compact (also had a minty powdery smell). Shalimar (my great-grandmother). Honeysuckle and magnolia (my childhood front yard).

    Sean August 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Amazing writing, Catherine. For me, it’s Vicks Vap’o Rub… my dad baking my late mom’s 6 p.m. buns recipe on a Sunday morning… handouts at school fresh off the Gestetner machine… Elmer’s white glue… Humpty Dumpty salt & vinegar potato chips
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..My P90X Journey – Day 57- The Home Stretch Begins =-.

    Catherine August 31, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    @Sean, Vick’s Vapo-Rub, YES. Also dill pickle chips.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Sense Memory 637 =-.

    Christy August 30, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Definitely the smell of Noxzema. Also, the taste of sugar cookie dough at Christmas. And, musty submarine smell when my Dad would walk through the door with his green duffel bag after being at sea for months.

    My grandfather died when my daughter had just turned four. She asked about death matter-of-factly for a few years.

    Amy K August 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    This isn’t the best sensory-memory trigger I can remember, but it happened just the other day so it’s still on my mind. I bought a bottle of Aussie 3-Minute Miracle conditioner for my hair, squirted it into my hand in the bathtub, and poof…it had the same syrupy, industrial fruity smell as the purple rubber worms I used as fishing lures when I was a kid. I was back at a lake in rural Missouri, wearing shorts and pigtails and trying to catch a bigger bluegill than my father or grandfather.

    Erin August 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I would’ve said Noxzema is that smell for me, and you describe it perfectly, so I’ll go with my second most-loved memory scent: Jean Nate. My grandmother used to wear it and it smells like femininity and love and home and someone I miss all of those things at the same time (which is silly because I’m loved and home already, but still). And now I wonder what my kids will have as their scent-memory? I don’t use Noxzema or Jean Nate. I bet they’ll remember the smell of lavender. I buy lavender hand soap. Lovely post.

    ahdra August 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    oh what a delightful post…

    noxzema, too, of course
    Aqua Net hairspray…extra mega hold (white/pink can)
    ivory bar soap
    palmolive dish soap, plain
    Vick’s vapo rub
    Folger’s coffee (my dad’s always present drink of choice)
    cigarette smoke, just after it’s started up (also dad – who, I should add, left our family when I was 12)

    Oh, how coffee and cigarettes carry an oddly (ironically?) soothing set of feelings.

    jaelithe August 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Peaches. I smell fresh peaches and I am ten years old in a house on a Mennonite farm. My mother the writer, who is Writing a Real Book, is speaking softly to the women who have come to see the midwife she is writing a book about. And I am sneaking glances across the room at a girl in a handsewn dress who was surely sneaking glances at me in my bluejeans. And I’m taking a bite of fresh homemade peach ice cream, made with milk from the cows out back and peaches from the tree in the yard, and HOLY MOLY, it’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted, ever, ever, ever, and suddenly I am terribly envious of the girl in the handsewn dress, the girl who, surely, I think, knows already at age ten how to make this ice cream which is THE BEST IN THE WORLD, and hell, she can probably milk a cow, too, and I no longer feel worldly or superior in comparison to her. In fact I realize in that flash of a moment that my bluejeans and my plastic toys and my ability to use the Apple IIe computers at my school do not in and of themselves automatically render my life superior to that of any other ten year old, anywhere, not on that farm and not in Communist Russia and not in the deserts of Africa, either. Because I do not even know how to grow peaches, let alone turn them into ice cream. And in that moment not knowing those things seems a terrible lack.

    Don’t get me started on old-fashioned roses. Those memories won’t fit in a comment.
    .-= jaelithe´s last blog ..Seeds =-.

    Catherine August 31, 2010 at 10:06 am

    @jaelithe, that was beautiful.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Sense Memory 637 =-.

    Kim August 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I saw Love’s Baby Soft in Rite Aid a few weeks ago !!! I had to smell it, I did. I was right back in Junior High again!
    .-= Kim´s last blog .. =-.

    Leigh Ann August 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Its amazing how scents can take you back…..noxema definitely does, Loves Baby Soft- I bought my teen daughter some just so I could smell it (grin), Jergan’s original lotion, Oil of Olay, Mink hairspray- you’ve GOT to remember it!! Oh to go back to the 80′s again if only for a day :)

    D. August 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Vick’s Vaporub, Nivea cream, and Pond’s cold cream remind me of my Mom. Gillette Menthol shaving cream remind me of my dad. And this is going to sound weird, but the smell inside of buildings on old college campuses takes me back to my days of summer camping on a small liberal arts campus.

    I had no idea they still made Love’s Baby Soft!
    .-= D.´s last blog ..To My Daughter on Her First Real Day of School =-.

    Chrissy August 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    @D., I have the same sense memory re: small college campuses/summer camps & workshops. It smelled like maturity, like what I thought I’d smell like when I got to college. I totally get it.

    Kristen (Rage Against the Minivan) August 30, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    The smell of Calvin Klein Obsession for Men. takes me back to some serious high school post-dance memories. Probably ones I shouldn’t speak of in public, if ya know what I mean . . . ;)

    SO EXCITED to hear about your Africa journey, and that you are leading the cause for AIDS prevention. It is one that is close to my heart.
    .-= Kristen (Rage Against the Minivan)´s last blog ..stirring the pot- on reclaiming civil rights and taking back America =-.

    Gappy August 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    It’s Nivea for me. Nivea cream and mints – the smell that always emanated from my Grandmothers handbag.
    .-= Gappy´s last blog ..The Fish and the Bicycle =-.

    jacqui August 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Old Spice and pipe tobacco. My parents divorced when I was young, 4 years old, and I still remember that smell when my dad would come to pick my sister and I up for the weekend. In fact, when I went to University, I used to follow another student around to smell his pipe tobacco!

    Then there is the ink from the photcopy machines in elementary school. Anyone else remember? It was a blue ink and they would come off the machine warm and fragrant…

    and of course Love’s Baby Soft for me too.. mmmmmm…

    Micaela August 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Love’s Baby Soft LEMON brings me to my knees with the sense memory of the past and hope for the future.
    I’m gonna order it now, dang it.

    And yes, Noxema cold cream takes me back, too …. and coffee and cigarettes, and a handbag from any woman born before 1950.

    Catherine August 31, 2010 at 10:07 am

    @Micaela, didn’t Love’s have a Soft Rain or something like that, too?
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Sense Memory 637 =-.

    Brenna August 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Scents that take you back in time… I was a gymnast and the smell of the chalk we used on our hands always takes me right back to the gym. Werther’s Originals always takes me back to summers spent with my best friend. Ponds, Oil of Olay, Dove Soap, and aerosol hairspray always take me back to when I was first learning about beauty products.
    .-= Brenna´s last blog ..Weekends… =-.

    Dawn August 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I wear Love’s Baby Soft ( I buy it at Wal-mart or Meijer). Most other scents give me a headache. I keep a bottle at my desk and let my students put on a squirt if they want some. I also keep Jergen’s lotion in my classroom…my students LOVE that and I love the way they smell 8- > Wow, while I’m thinking of favorite smells in my classroom…new Crayola crayons and Play-doh are right up there.

    Catherine August 31, 2010 at 10:07 am

    @Dawn, PLAY DOH. YES.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Sense Memory 637 =-.

    Issa August 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Listerine and Irish Spring bar soap. I’d never use either. But the combined smell brings me to my knees. The smell of my grandpa.
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..What do you say =-.

    Brigid August 30, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    With one whiff of Aqua-Net, I’m 7 years old, standing in my beloved grandmother’s pink bathroom. Pink tile, pink tub, pink sink, pink toilet, pink towels. With a little heater I could put my pink towel on so it would be warm when I got out of the tub.

    Yeah, Aqua-Net always makes me weepy.

    Judy August 30, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Vicks Vaporub. Tangee Natural lipstick. Grass being mowed. Rain on a hot sidewalk. The smell of snow. Apples.

    mama_k August 30, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    remember sea breeze astringent? oh the teenage angst! (along with debbie gibson’s perfume ‘electric youth.’) ivory bar soap, peppermint trident, garden dirt, onions, and dill reminds me of my late baba…i am tearing up just typing this. halls original and stale smoke…my auntie linda. irish spring, my dad (still). my mom? she just smells like home.

    GingerB August 31, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Ivory soap still does it, and I use it every day.

    Once, my husband kissed me shortly after he smoked a cigarette, and I was pregnant so not a current smoker, and the combination of the smell and pursed lips and a little bristly mustache made me four years old, I felt like I’d been slammed back through a time machine into my former self. It was really, really wierd.

    Hoppy beer, like Mickey’s big mouth, or Heineken, also makes me an assholish teenager all over again.
    .-= GingerB´s last blog ..Friday Haiku- a day in the life of Hannah =-.

    Rita August 31, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Ground coffee. Extremely early one Christmas when I was a kid, I was playing with my new tiny tea set and asked my mom to put some water in the itty bitty china tea pot.

    She set it back on the table filled with coffee. My brothers wheeled up in their new wagon and we all sat and drank that wonderfully smelling Christmas morning coffee.

    Never smell coffee grounds without remembering that Christmas 35 years ago.

    Remember all you moms out there, sometimes it’s so incredibly easy to create an everlasting memory for your children.
    .-= Rita´s last blog ..They KNEW- Dammit They Knew =-.

    Barnmaven August 31, 2010 at 8:36 am

    I had to close my eyes for a moment there, and when I opened them I was surprised to find it wasn’t 1980. Then you had to go and hit me with the Love’s Baby Soft…

    When I first moved back to my home state, we took the kids on a sightseeing trip near George and Vantage. As we drove down into the state park so the kids could play in the water, I could smell and taste Baloney sandwiches. When I was a kid and we would go across the state to stay at the lake cabin in the summer, Vantage was the halfway point. Mom would pack baloney sandwiches and Shasta Cream Soda in the cooler and that’s where we would stop and eat our lunch. The taste is still as vivid forty years later as it was then.
    .-= Barnmaven´s last blog ..Unexpected things =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 31, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Grape soda. Grape soda reminds me of being on my grandparent’s boat.

    Asa's Mummy August 31, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Noxzema, but combined with/tempered by Corn Husker’s Lotion. My Gramma used both… there was probably more than those to her specific scent, but these two stand out – astringent and sweet, indescribably HER.

    Probably not the strongest scent memory I have, but still tugging at my heart – Gramma died about eight years ago, but this past Mother’s Day, my first, as I stood by my son’s crib at 3am, I smelled that exact combination once again, and knew she was standing next to me, not wanting to miss my first Mother’s Day. It was so comforting to know that she had met my boy, that she was so delighted by him.

    Ah, and now to go find some kleenex and snuggle my baby.
    .-= Asa’s Mummy´s last blog ..Asas First Car =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 31, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve had that experience. With my dad. Feeling his scent around me. *choke*

    red pen mama August 31, 2010 at 9:40 am

    When I am pregnant (as I am now), Noxema is the only thing that prevents massive breakouts. I have the huge tub at home.

    As for sense memories: The smell of cut pine tree is the scent of childhood christmases, and I know that artificial trees that are pre-strung with lights are so much easier (especially with what is soon to be three children), but I can’t give up my live tree.

    And: a certain cologne with cigarette smoke reminds me of being a little girl and being hugged by my father. I never, ever saw him smoke a cigarette (and he quit in 1989), but he always had the smell of it on him. I figured it was because he worked with a smoker (in the days you could smoke everywhere), but my mom outed him to me when I was 16. But that smell on certain men is so evocative of a certain time in my life when my dad was my biggest hero and advocate.
    .-= red pen mama´s last blog ..Random Thoughts- Follow Up =-.

    jenn August 31, 2010 at 9:46 am

    cache lotion, my grandmother always use to wear it..fried cornbread reminds me of family gatherings. the smell of water coming out of a hose rushes my mind back to my childhood. the generic aftershave my papaw wore, that i still have a bottle of and when i feel him starting to slip from my memory i run to open it and breathe it in just to bring him back to me. the smell of Parmesan reminds me of when i was 9 or 10 and my uncle always would cook those boxed chef-boy-r-d pizzas. salt water/sand/beach remind me of home. pantene, my teenage years.
    .-= jenn´s last blog ..Side by SideYear by Year =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 31, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    There were Chef-Boy-R-D pizzas???

    Rebecca Buller August 31, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Old spice. I was a city kid growing up and always loved to visit my grandparents farm. That smell will always remind me of the wonderful times spent with my grandpa. He always wore old spice. Now that he has passed away I truly cherish those memories.

    Di August 31, 2010 at 11:17 am

    The smell of sugar-crusted raspberry jelly donuts, Old Spice aftershave and pipe tobacco.

    My Papa and Nana were in charge of the coffee hour at the church we all went to when I was very small. They bought trays and trays of donuts to share with their parish on Sunday mornings.

    I would sit in his lap, as he visited with friends and my Nana served coffee, and share a donut with him.

    Lara August 31, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I was in a drug store with my mom once, and she was paying at the counter while I browsed the gum and candy. I picked up a pack of Cinnamon Trident, put it to my nose, and breathed deep. My eyes teared up and I said to my mom, “It smells like Dad.” My whole life, I remember my dad chewing Cinnamon Trident, and after he died, I guess I didn’t realize how much I missed that cinnamon smell. Sometimes it’s nice to find a surprise memory lurking in the shadows.
    .-= Lara´s last blog ..Its Not a Career Its a Calling =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 31, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Surprise memories, yes. I’ve had that happen. Knocks you off your psychic feet.

    Karen B August 31, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Oh! Love’s Baby Soft takes me right to the back seat of a public bus giggling and sharing secrets with my friends on our way to our catholic high school as we put on the makeup and perfume that our parents wouldn’t let us out of the house wearing.

    Scent memories are so strong and immediate and can be imprinted on us so early. My 3yo daughter still cries when she smells Purell. She spent the first 4 mos of her life in NICU and I can only think her brain is wired to associate it with painful procedures.

    It took us the longest time to figure out why she would be just fine in the doctor’s office until the doctor approached. One day when she was @ 8 mos old I used the Purell in a restroom while we were out and she fell apart. The next time we went to the ped’s we asked her to wash her hands rather than use the Purell and sure enough my daughter was fine and pleasant even after getting a blood test. Still happens to this day if a new doc or lab tech etc… either doesn’t read the chart or thinks it’s hogwash because “Babies that young don’t remember anything” and uses Purell. She will begin whining, crying, and acting fearful even if she had been laughing with them a minute earlier. Such a powerful sense…

    Lynn @ Walking With Scissors August 31, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Reading through these comments has brought me back to my youth and not only the good memories, but also the bad, heartwrenching, heartbeat accelerating, nervous energy emanating ones. I’m not sure I like having those unsure feelings back. It makes me uneasy. Loves Baby Soft makes me uneasy. Noxzema makes me deliriously happy, though, so I’ll focus on that. And maybe go buy a pot of my own, just to breathe it in.
    .-= Lynn @ Walking With Scissors´s last blog ..&lt Insert Cutesy Alliterationalistic Title Here &gt =-.

    Lindsey August 31, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    White Diamonds perfume. My grandmother wore it on special occasions. I kept the bottle that was in her bathroom cabinet after she passed. Damn I miss her.

    Amy August 31, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Onions: 8th grade onion skin cell lab. It’s like being in Mr. Robinson’s class all over again.

    Dutch Masters cigars: My grandpa.

    YSL perfume and paperwhites: a dear old friend that I really should call.

    My grandmother is on her deathbed as I type this and I am pulling out all my favorite memories of her. I can smell her old house, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what that scent is. I guess it was a combination including decades of life in the house, cigarettes, bread pudding, and pot roast. Her couch had a certain smell too.

    WestendMom August 31, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    My baba lived in a one room farmhouse and had a wood stove. She would perk coffee in the mornings and the smell would call us from the “modern” house my uncle built that she refused to move into. I can still smell the coffee in the air and the feel the dew on my feet. English Leather aftershave makes me remember highschool dances and silly boys, baby powder is my mom, Hawian Tropic tanning lotion is THE smell of summer and the smell of fresh cut lumber will ALWAYS make me think of a stage being built, and the players that act upon it. It smells like possibility I guess!

    TheKitchenWitch August 31, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Well I am with you on the Love’s Baby Soft. That is innocence and adolescence and so much teen angst…but God. I love it.

    The first boy who ever really, brutally broke my heart wore Polo cologne. I cannot smell it without feeling my gut drop down to the floor.

    Her Bad Mother September 1, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I had a boyfriend who wore Eau Sauvage. Same thing. GUT DROP.

    foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) August 31, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    My grandma kept a bottle of Rose Milk hand lotion on her bathroom shelf, and every time we’d visit, I’d beeline for the bathroom, press up against the closed door for just a moment to drown out the noise of those outside it and to prepare myself for my little ritual, which involved unscrewing the pump dispenser, bringing the bottle to my nose, and inhaling. One, two, three times. Deep gulps of scent that smelled exactly as promised by the name. Roses and milk. I don’t necessarily remember my grandma smelling of Rose Milk lotion, but I liked to think of the ritual involved in applying it that she may or may not have had.

    Also, every Christmas, in my stocking, would be a massive bottle of Bonne Bell 10-0-6 astrigent. I never could finish an entire bottle before getting a new one, and I can’t adequately describe the scent of that amber colored liquid, but I remember always unscrewing the cap and inhaling it before every use.

    Sweetney August 31, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Old Spice, which my dad once wore religiously. It makes my heart swell, to this day. Like smelling the daddy my 7 year old self knew.
    .-= Sweetney´s last blog ..The big kid =-.

    zchamu August 31, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I wasn’t a Love’s Baby Soft wearer. Rather, I loved lemony Jean Nate in junior high. Then in high school I felt i needed a more grownup scent and wore Gloria Vanderbilt.
    .-= zchamu´s last blog ..Sick =-.

    Her Bad Mother September 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

    ooooh, Jean Nate. YES.

    Major Bedhead August 31, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Cigarette smoke and Chanel No. 5 mixed with bourbon. My grandmother smoked, would only wear Chanel and in the evenings, would have herself a little drinky-poo (her words) that involved bourbon & maraschino cherries. Maybe a side car? Or an old fashioned? I can’t remember, but I cannot smell any of those things without thinking of her, walking around our house at Christmas time, smoking, having her drinky-poo and trying, in vain, to teach me how to play Canasta. She’d sit me on her lap, brush my hair over and over again and then paint my fingernails a very pale pink. She died in 1983 and I miss her still.

    Her Bad Mother September 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

    My grandma drank whiskey and smoked and always wore red lipstick that had this waxy smell that I would recognize anywhere. She died in 1983, too, when I was 13, and I miss her more than I can say. **hugs**

    Asa's Mummy September 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    @Major Bedhead, I want to say that drink would be a Manhattan. I remember my Dad drinking something similar when we would go out to eat. If I’d been good, he’d give me the cherry… and I’d sleep GREAT that night. Double bonus, I guess.
    .-= Asa’s Mummy´s last blog ..Bathtime =-.

    AshevilleRN September 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    shampoos – Breck, Prell, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific and Clairol Herbal Essence (with the jungle scene on the bottle.)

    Julie September 1, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Here I thought I was in a very small minority who thought scent memories were THAT IMPORTANT. Yet, here I am, and reading through all of these comments, really brings me to my knees. I associate all my major memory events through scent. I don’t say it out loud most times, but they are one of my most treasured gifts I give to myself . . . that said:

    Polo cologne, in the green bottle. the original one. Reminds me of my first love, Terry, back in Maryland. He didn’t wear it, I think I bought it either for him, or for my dad to wear. Just the scent of it makes me fall back into time—1980-1982. I didn’t get to keep either one of these men in my life—my dad left when I was 5, and I got him back when I was 17-19, and that first love? I only had him for 13 months before I moved back to California. I could go pick up a bottle of Polo, sniff, and be right there, though.

    Oil of Olay. My best friend in high school and I would wear this–the original light pink lotion in the bottle with the black top.

    Bain de Solei tan creme. It was a dark orange clearish sun tan potion in the 70′s here in California. I think it’s still made.

    Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo—the green one.

    the perfume 4711–it’s German, and I used to go into a German/European store that I walked by every day on my way to high school, just to smell this perfume! I was poor growing up, so never could afford. Guess where I recently found it for sale? Sears. Sheesh, who woulda thought!

    For my kids -Diaperene baby powder. they are now 18 & 21 yrs old.

    The Vermont Country Store catalog has a bunch of old timey type products in it–soaps, perfumes, candy, medicines. All from another era, that must still be made somewhere. I love looking at that catalog and dreaming of childhood.

    Jeane Virdin September 5, 2010 at 7:01 am

    I’m kind of running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

    Kiki September 6, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Nivea cream – but not the kind they sell here, the kind they sell in Germany. My German grandmother wore it and when I went to Germany I bought a tin. I still have it and I use it whenever I want to smell like her. My father never really wore anything, so there’s unfortunately nothing to buy to bring that sort of sense memory back, but I still have some of his shirts that I took after he died. I put them in plastic bag to preserve the scent and every so often I open one to smell him. Plastic bags really work, btw.

    kawaly September 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Superb post, I want thank to admin because i’ve read here many good knowledge. Im waiting for more posts. Best regards

    shauna September 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Walking into an arena will send me spinning into my childhood. That ozone/cold ice smell takes me back to 6am figure skating practices and endless laps around the hockey rink pretending to be Dorthy Hamill.

    Craven A Menthols remind me of my grandma and cribbage while the smell of lake water puts me right back to my grandpa’s side watching him fillet the perch I caught.

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