Wednesday, October 25, 2006

That Smell Reminds Me of...

My friend Hannelie recently posted about smells. Our sense of smell can trigger emotions related to memories we don't consciously remember. It also can simply carry us back in time to pleasant moments. The smell of fresh, moist earth, for instance, takes me back to my Grandma's cellar. That particular cellar was carved out of the firm clay soil of middle Michigan. The walls and floor were earth. Against the far wall, across from the door, stand some shelves. They hold a number of glass kerosene lamps. To the left of the door is a worn, wooden counter or table, where Grandma sorted eggs. She kept chickens for a long time, and sometimes I helped gather eggs. Grandma had regular customers who bought these eggs. To the right of the doorway is the well pump. It didn't look anything like a pump. It was not an old fashioned handpump, but rather an electric pump that brought up well water into the house.

My mom baked bread frequently, because she enjoyed the process, and we all enjoyed eating it. The smell of bread baking doesn't trigger that memory, however. Instead, it makes me think of snow days, when the kids were little and we were a family all together. On snow days, when school was cancelled, I liked to bake bread and make chicken noodle soup. Unlike grandma, I didn't kill and pluck my own chicken. Like grandma, I cooked a chicken, or whatever pieces I had in the freezer, with good vegetables to make a rich broth, and just before suppertime, I added good, thick noodles. Once or twice I made noodles like Grandma always had - a lot of work! It was (and is) much easier to pour in a bag of Kluski noodles. They are almost as good!

What smells and memories are entwined for you?


Hannelie said...

I smelled this post was comming up so I came over for a bite!
I agree, the moist soil smell is just so the best, I enjoy reading about your memories. Chicken soup, yum

Seeker said...

Pencils, erasers, and floor wax for "back to school".
That "rubber/vinyl" smell of new dolls at Christmas.
These are just 2 of many.

Steve said...

There's a certain "crisp" smell that comes out in the fall right around the time of the first frosts that reminds me of playing with the boys in Illinois, the schoolgrounds there, and "exploring" the creek behind Robbie's grandparents' house.

Every spring there is a "fresh" or "new" smell that comes out that reminds me of the last month of school, where all the kids are winding down and frolic figures more actively in their plans than study.