Let's talk about your memories triggered by smells...

I was sitting in traffic today when I got a brief whiff of diesel fuel… Suddenly I was carried back thirty years to the farm where we lived for awhile when I was a small child. The great big barn behind our house was full of all kinds of cool old stuff, that little boys like to get into, like beat up old cars, machine parts, tools, farm stuff, and a general aroma of diesel fuel everywhere.

Another one: Mothballs. If I smell mothballs, I suddenly find myself in my first day at boot camp, trying on my brand spanking new uniform, still reeking of the mothballs they used to protect them in storage. Since my mom never used mothballs, I had never smelled them until I joined the Navy. Hence, the scent connection.

Fresias and exams. The fresias in everyone’s gardens always start blooming just around the beginning of exam time. The two are inextricably linked in my mind.

Strong artificial Vanilla --It reminds me of my oldest son as a tiny newborn. The pacifier they gave him in hospital was scented with it, to make it easier for him to find I suppose. He loved that pacifier, and when we lost it at a couple weeks he’d never take another one again. So it’s associated with such a brief, yet intensely emotional time, that each time I smell it I’m there again. Exhausted yet mesmerized. Feeling his warm, heavy weight in my arms as he nursed, the tiny little toes, his face smeared with milk. It’s as if I’m not just remembering these things, but actually feeling them and seeing them again. I’m amazed at how the brain can do that, make those links in such backhanded ways.

Sometimes as I sleep I catch a whiff of sweaty armpit (mine) that alows me to time travel back to 1981 to be in the arms of the hooker that i lost it to. serious.

The smell of baking bread. I think back to when I was a child and the smell of my great uncle’s kitchen in his restaurant, where he baked many loaves of Italian bread every day, and served Italian cuisine.

The smell of Lilacs. Takes me back, again, to when I was a child, free of any worries or concerns, where I would play for hours on end in the spring and early summer, in a big garden at home, full of lilac bushes in bloom.

Ah, the times, how they have changed!

Conversly… I could really be taken back by the smell of my 6th grade teacher rolling off a few copies on the old mimiograph (sorry if spelled wrong) machine. Oh boy to catch a whiff of that would be a real gem from the past.

Certain smells

A hot day
Dust in the air
Certain spices

will bring me instantly back to my India visits.

That citrusy vanilla perfume. That’s a memory just for me, though.

My sister bought me a certain cologne just before I went on a trip to the US a few years ago. I bought the same cologne again recently and the smell of it reminds of the two and a half weeks I spent in Chicago on that trip, which is great because I now have this daily reminder of that time which was just magic.

You know that “apartment” smell? I don’t know if it’s the cheap carpet cleaner they use, the cheap paint, the fresh extermination, but newly rented apartments often have that certain smell to them.

Back in 1981 I had a summer boyfriend. He was new to town so his apartment was newly make-readied and that smell was always heavily in the air. I spent lots of time in that apartment that summer and still carry very fond memories with me. Now, if I step into an apartment with that same smell I am suddenly whisked back 24 years, as if was yesterday.

Same when I hear a song from that summer, because they radio was almost always playing when I was there.

Shaniqua aqua-velva Jackson is that you babe?

Lilacs and daffodils together (my fave flowers) take me back to my Grandma’s when she lived out here in CA. She had a giant lilac bush in back with daffodils planted beneath. I spent many, many, many a summer day puttering around her backyard garden with her. She lives in CO now but still keeps lilacs - no daffodils though.

Also, Bed Bath and Body Works cucumber-melon scent. I was using that alot when I first moved in with The Highwayman. It reminds me of, uh, good times (not like the times now are bad, but you know how it is when you first move in together. . .) :wink:

Lilacs seem to click in this thread and as a kid my folks had a very large yard with many lilac shrubs that us kids would cut paths into in order to build small clubhouses. can’t say that they do anything for my pining memory today though.

Forty years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I had my first really serious boyfriend, with the making out and petting for hours and other things that teenagers used to do in those days when teenagers were trying not to “go all the way.”

The young man with whom I enjoyed this relationship always wore English Leather cologne. To this day, every time I smell English Leather, I get a bit damp in the pants. The memory of my first hot romance is so strongly tied to that scent that once I had a one-night stand with a man whom I found rather unattractive just because he was wearing English Leather. Fortunately, the word didn’t spread that I was easy pickins for anybody who wore a certain brand of cheap cologne.

I can’t get my husband to wear it. But I love him anyway.

Funny… Those smells carry me off to the first time I was at my mother-in-law’s house, 14 years ago, in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. (A region where I hope to be enjoying much of August :cool: ).

Play-Doh reminds me of being a kid. Seriously–every time I buy some for my daughter, I take a big whiff and remember Kindergarten.

Wite-Out reminds me of when I went to middle school in Houston, for some reason.

The strongest instance I can think of was several years after my dad passed away. My mother had finally decided to dispose of some of his old clothes she had put away, she had stored them in plastic storage bags and I was helping her. I opened one of the bags on on top was this very well worn budweiser tee shirt he wore Alot and it smelled Just Exactly like him. They say people have distinct odors and it’s true, I could never tell you exactly what my daddy smelled like but that shirt made me cry like I hadn’t since he died the memories came back so strong and quick.

About 3 years ago I decided to bleach a pair of dress pants in a metal container. I’m pouring out the water afterwards and suddenly I get a clear mental picture: I’m at the WMCA , and I’m five. We’re just had our swim lesson, when one thing becomes devestatingly clear to a fellow swimmer: she’s just lost her first tooth, and it’s in the water. I’m standing at the edge of the pool, staring into the moving water, trying to pick out a small white tooth…

I’ve never had another smell bring back a memory that clearly, and bleach and chlorine never did it before, either. There must have been something about bleach and metal that smelled like that pool.

Horse . The smell of horse always takes me back to the summer of 1978 when I got my first horse of my own , the best summer of my life .

And peonies . We had peonies planted alongside the house , and when I was walking home from school , if the wind was right , I could smell that sweet scent carried to me blocks away .

One hugely evocative smell for me is that of a certain bush (I have no idea what it is) that grew at my grandmother’s house in Ireland. The very few times I encounter that smell, I am instantantly catapulted back there.

And another that I have only smelled in London but can’t believe it doesn’t exist elsewhere: that certain pong given off by paving stones in summer when it begins to rain after a long, dry spell.