Stop and Smell the Memories


The smell of life is intoxicating! Think about the smells you love…the smell of baby’s breath; the early morning dew in the summertime, rain…These smells can get imprinted in our memories forever.

We can be transported anywhere by smell. If we wish we were at the beach, a spritz of something citrusy will take us there. My Dad always smells tropical to me because he wears sunscreen daily! That mixed with Old Spice is my Dad’s scent. Remember that scene in The Parent Trap when Hayley Mills tells her grandfather she’s making a memory and says, “You smell like peppermints and tobacco?” Well…smells, like songs and food can evoke strong memories: We can associate a smell with an experience and it will somehow leave a unique and lasting impression on our brain forever.

I can remember smashing my face against my grandmother’s soft wrinkly skin to smell her Oil of Olay face cream. That’s why I wear it today, so I can remember her. I cannot smell Gucci Rush without thinking of my other grandmother, Mema; she owns that scent!

I think most women are constantly looking for the perfect jeans, mascara, and fragrance. What fun it is to experiment! I think it also depends on what kind of mood you’re in. I like to wear Anais Anais to my ballet class because it’s light and ultra feminine. But if I were going out for a night on the town I would choose something with more pizzazz like Flower Bomb!

Perfume means “through smoke.” This is going to sound so Bob Ross, but I think of scents like happy little clouds waiting to be discovered.

I can think of many smells that evoke happy feelings: I love the smell of school: crayons and pencils. When I smell the combination of cigarette smoke, car exhaust, leather, and the warm sun I want to bottle it because that smells like Italy to me! I love the smell of paper; newspaper, books, magazines, I love the smell of silk, my friend’s car, my mom’s kitchen, the Catholic Church, my babies T-shirts before I wash them. These are smells of life. They are delicious!

Last thing I do before leaving for work is spray myself with perfume then hug my children so they smell me all day. I like to smell like them, too. Especially at night after I’ve bathed them. Mustela and Johnson and Johnson lotions are some of the most comforting and sweetest smells ever! I think these lotions will always be a part of my bedtime routine.

When you love someone, you love their natural smell. I think my husband naturally smells like pineapples! I love to bury my nose in his arm. I remember my sister-in-law saying her dog Dixie smelled like a chocolate cake; I know she meant it because she loved her so much!

A student once said to me…”Hmmm Mrs. Cooley, your house must smell good because you smell good!” I made sure I hugged her every day!

Fragrances react differently on different people. The fragrances that you wear bring out your persona, your style, and taste. Have you ever smelled someone’s perfume you didn’t like and then discovered you don’t really like them much either? I think that’s called chemistry!

Perfume is meant to tease, tantalize and seduce. I think of Marilyn Monroe who proudly said that she slept in nothing but Chanel No. 5. I’m sticking to my baby lotion but I think smell is far more important in determining who we are than we realize; I’ve even read that there’s evidence that those who have no sense of smell tend to be very emotionally detached. I think if you smell it to be true, it must be true!

Do you have a favorite fragrance that has been imprinted into your memory?

Photo: Stop and smell the roses! Pink peonies are my absolute favorite flower. I love everything about them! I think they look like scoops of strawberry ice cream and smell heavenly! I hope my children remember them as the essence of Mommy! Here is a painting by Doug Swinton that I think is beautiful.

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