Welcome to my world - The world of Tish

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Smelling your past

I love the commercial where two women sit at the kitchen table while the guys are in the living room whooping and hollering at the TV. One guy comes in and hugs his girlfriend, and just the scent of his deodorant/cologne/fabric softener floods her mind with all of their good couple memories. Ah, the power of the limbic system.

The sense of smell is directly processed by the deepest portions of our limbic systems. That means that when you got your first kiss wearing Love's Baby Soft, your brain imprinted that sensation and physical memory with the scent of LBS. The time you burned the chicken fried steak will live in infamy in your limbic system. The cologne she was wearing when she kicked you out of the house will send your running for the check if your new date happens to be drowning in it.

For me, it's the strangest aromas that evoke flashbacks. Anything peach makes me gag - it's a long, twisted story, but let's just say that there are no peaches and/or related items in my home, period. Lemon Pledge sends me back to fourth grade. Cantaloupe is always summer in 1986. The first blast of new film odor reminds me of my honeymoon in the Bahamas. With the whiff of fresh paper and the cracking of a brand new book's spine I am in the public library again with the greatest librarian Mary introducing me to "The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues". And no matter how bad my day can be, a home filled with baking bread and frying okra will always settle my heart. Moms will appreciate this - when my two were just too big to use Baby Magic Bath, I kept the bottle in the shower. A few drops of that on your poof, and I was holding my baby again.

There's a story with every smell in our lives. Family, homes, jobs, pets.....Too bad we can't bottle the great memories. Unless you count "Fart in a Can", and then it's family reunions all day long.


  • "The sense of smell is directly processed by the deepest portions of our limbic systems."

    That's so true... I still remember my first whiff of burnt flesh when my mom stubbed out her cigarette on my arm. Ah, those were these days...

    Just kidding... Hi, Trish, I couldn't resist. At least your readers can enjoy being appalled with me.

    By Blogger Phil, at 6:09 PM  

  • For me it's songs, that have that "punch you in the face with a memory" effect.

    I can cry over a college boyfriend (I'm GOING ON 40 REMEMBER?)...just from Against All Odds.

    God forbid I hear Purple Rain, I'm in the fetal position. Because that was the song playing, when my NAVY ROTC first love broke up with me, you know.

    PS: We must have a glass of wine sometime. I need to give you my "12 commandments of mom", aka the list you kids need to do when you get your sorry little butts off the schoolbus, before you even THINK about asking me for a snack. Send me an email and I'll pass it along. (Yes, I literally printed it out and handed it to them.)

    By Blogger Carly, at 9:29 PM  

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