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Smell
You know, I wanted to have a field on PONY where I can write what music is in my head (everyone loves marineland), what color everyone is wearing today (blue)
what the taste is in my mouth (scalded flesh from coffee) what touch sensation I am most aware of (puffy eyelids).

But smell is a hard one to peg down. It can be the most intense mnemonic device, but we seldom give it cred. in any conscious way.

Hey, remember when you were a kid, how each of your friends' houses had a different smell?

I remember how smell was somehow related to status in my mind. I remember how proud I was on Friday night Shabbat dinners when my friends would come over and smell rhubarb pie and roasted chicken and kugel. The smells made my somewhat dysfuntional home seem like the bosom of security and normality.

I also remember how friends whose family homes were permeated with the foreign smells of curry or mothballs were inferior in my childish mind to those whose who had bedrooms that smelled like peppermint candies, bathrooms like baby powder, and kitchens where bread was baked.

I had this one friend whose mother was the quintessential homemaker, with the frilly apron and handmade birthday invitations. Her home always smelled of cupcakes. There would be chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and fresh cherry jello in the fridge.

But olfactory tastes change with time, and for some reason homes with the cupcake smell make me anxious these days. I am not sure why.

Dogs getting housetrained, cough syrup spilled in the cupboard. melted crayons behind the radiator, a jar of cumin that lost its lid...The rich, personal smell of a family home takes years to mature, but when it does, it is an unmistakeable signature.

Suddenly I want to go back in childhood and eat Jaz's mom's spicy Dahl or giggle under forts of Chinese silk at Lucy's house. I want to go back and inhale all the smells of my friends' family homes. And this time breathe deeply.

What did your family home smell like?

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7.30.2002
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post #316
bio: adina
perma-link
7/30/2002
12:07

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