Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sense memories

Do you chew gum?  I do.  I enjoy chewing gum. I used to chew it all the time, particularly when I smoked and when I first quit smoking, but my gum chewing has tapered off significantly since them.

I prefer sugarless gum.  I like cinnamon flavored gum, particularly Trident cinnamon flavored gum.  I used to buy multi packs of Trident and savor the packs of cinnamon.  I also like original Trident, but I had a boyfriend in high school that chewed nothing but original Trident and now if I have a piece it always reminds me of him.  


Not that he is a terrible person or that I loath thinking of him, or that he was awesome and I love thinking of him.  Mostly I'm indifferent to him and thinking about him.  I just think it is kind of strange the way a taste and a smell can evoke such strong memory.   I mean, when I chew original Trident, the days of shockingly red hair (shaved in the back, of course); flannel shirts; Ministry and Fugazi; grunge rock; copious angst; holy jean shorts with bright tights underneath; sneaking cigarettes in the girls bathroom during Drama class;  they all come flooding back.

Do you have sense memories like that? 

Anyways, I don't really chew original Trident very often because the memories are overwhelming.  Those teenage years are fill with so many intense emotions and hormones, I'm always shocked to hear people claim high school as the time they'd like to re-live.  Not me.  Not in a million.


There are a few other scents that do that for me.  Sometimes when I'm in an elevator or a mall or movie theater, I'll catch a whiff of my grandfather's cologne.  I couldn't tell you the name of it, but the scent I know.  It's been around for decades and while it is no longer as popular as it once was, there are some people who still wear this brand.


He passed away, I don' t know, maybe seven or eight years ago?  But when I smell his cologne, I'm six again and getting bear hugs and a dollar for my smile and trying to find the finger that he lost in a factory job when my mom was small girl.  I clearly recall his thick, white hair, glasses, and always neat appearance; having sandwiches in the cafeteria where he worked and how it always smelled strongly of deli pickles.  I remember that he always bought me some ridiculously frilly dress for Easter and that I always loved it.  I never saw him not smiling.  He smiled with his whole face.  His laughter came from somewhere deep inside and it was a hearty chuckle.  He laughed with his grandchildren a lot.


I don't feel at all ambivalent about these memories.  These memories I cherish.  I love it when I catch that whiff of my grand father; the scent of his memory.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

i love when scent memories flood. it happens to me all the time. an old friend's perfume (which she switched to 16 years ago when she was pregnant and her old perfume made her nauseated), my ex-boyfriends cologne, fresh grass, summer corn, pipe smoke, drakkar or aussie hairspray(whoa, junior high), pompei olive oil (grandma). . . thanks for bringing this back. Tiffanie

Michele said...

Cherry pipe tobacco. That's the smell that I associate with my beloved grandfather. It's been almost 40 years since he died and the smell of cherry pipe tobacco brings him right back.

Anonymous said...

Obsession for Men = first boyfriend. I think I can smell it from a mile away!

nutella said...

Patchouli and CK One smell like college to me, or rather my sophmore roomate.

VandyJ said...

Smells and sounds can take me back to certian moments. Memory is a funny thing.

Casey said...

Aww, I know exactly what you mean. My favorite uncle used to ALWAYS have a pack of Cinnamon Trident in his front shirt pocket. We would attack him and take it and then he would pinch us with his stubs where his two fingers used to be before getting cut off when he was little. Weird that we have similar memories.

I have a cupboard that was at my gram's house and it still smells like her. I sneak my head into it and take a big whiff sometimes to remind me of her and it makes me smile.

Momma Hunt said...

I know exactly what you mean. My grandmother wore channel number 5 every day and any time I spell it, it reminds my of my noni

Sherendipity said...

I had a brief thing with an egomaniac when I was in highschool. I don't know what brand of cologne he wore either, but I loved it at the time. Now when I smell it I want to run in the other direction.

Keely said...

I was walking down a street in Melbourne, Australia, of all places and suddenly smelled my grandmother's perfume. It was overwhelming how homesick it made me, and totally blindsiding.

Mrsbear said...

Those sense memories completely transport you, don't they. I can't walk in to a Subway restaurant without feeling like I'm 15 and working behind the counter again. Really old cars and their musty smells remind me of my grandfather's Impala that used to rain rust down in to your hair whenever you slammed the door too hard.

I used to also sneak cigarettes during Drama class, coincidentally. Except we sat outside on the back steps next to the portable buildings. I'm with you, those teen years were not pretty.

anymommy said...

You made me think of my grandfather and pipe tobacco too. I still love that smell. And I wouldn't go back to high school for a million dollars. Ugh.

marketingtomilk said...

I actually think that scent memories are the most vivid. They absolutely overwhelm me. And because they aren't visual they are always very startling and a little bit odd. the last one i got was at my son's preschool when i walked in to the smell of paint, and other various "schooly" things and i was transported back to the age of 4. You can't quite believe it's been so long since you were that age because the memory transports you so clearly. Unfortunately i often find sense memories make me sad, but then again i've got a problem with grieving time!
http://marketingtomilk.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/time/

于庭 said...

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