Can You Smell That?


Have you ever noticed how the smell of something can bring back memories?  Certain smells can take you back to a place good or bad and all of a sudden it’s as if you’re right there; doing or seeing whatever it was when you first smelled it.  I remember when I first got my real estate license.  It was during the summer of 1990 and I was working with a young married couple who was looking to purchase their first house.  They were from the St. Louis and had moved south for a better way of life for their young son.
We walked into a three bedroom two bath brick ranch (the kind with the small picture window in the front room).  It was built in 1979 and had all of the original appliances including a gas stove.  Now the gas stove was a little out of place because most of the homes built during this time with the linoleum tiled kitchen floors and smooth knob-less cabinet doors typically had electric ranges. You know the ones with the electric coil burners that turn red when they’re hot.
Anyway we were going through the house doing our on the spot inspection; just turning on all of the light switches and testing out the old dishwasher to make sure everything was still in working condition.  But I was not prepared for what happened next.  I walked over to the stove and turned on one of the burners; Whoosh! hssssss, crackle, crackle, crackle!  A brilliant blue flame with orange tips made a perfect circle around the cast iron burner and the strong smell of carbon and gas rushed me back to when I was 10 years old.  There I am in the living room laying on the floor in front of the heat vent after coming inside from playing in the snow, on a cold winter afternoon.  My brothers and I would fight over who was going to sit in front of that vent, my favorite spot.
Move!  It’s my turn!  You’re trying to hog up all of the heat!  Maaaa,  Tell him it’s my turn!
Just like that I was ten years old again….for about 5 minutes.  It was so real I completely forgot about my clients; I could see their mouths moving but I couldn’t hear anything. Everything was in slow motion.  Whoosh! Crack! and just like that the stove was off, the fire was gone and I was once again in the present; walking around in the kitchen checking cabinet doors, opening drawers and turning on faucets.  Back to reality.
Oh and by the way I did sell that house to that young married couple; and their move up home twelve years later and their son’s condo ten years after that.
What smells take you back in time?  Let me know in the comments.

4 responses to “Can You Smell That?

  1. I love the smell of fire in a fireplace. At the first hint of cold in Georgia, my mom would start a fire in our big stone fireplace. The smell of wood and ash burning in a fireplace takes me back home to that place of comfort and security.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April, I completely understand. It’s great to have such warm memories. 🙂 Now that my mom lives with me I get to stroll down memory lane often since she still loves to bake pies, cookies and cake. Mmmmm…apple pie. (I allow myself a very small piece every now and then).


  2. You are so blessed to have your mother still with you, India, and I wish you many more happy years of memories together. You are so right about smells. When I was a little girl in Ohio, we used to go to a little town on the Miami River to swim in the summer. People had summer cottages there, so there was a pool and a playground. This town had a strong smell of what I later learned was creosote. They must have laid it on the gravel streets to keep the dust down. I associate this smell with our last turn onto a little bridge to go into the town, and the anticipation of a glorious time of freedom and play. That was over 60 years ago, but every time I smell creosote, it carries me right back to that time of excitement and pleasure, when my family played together, for a little while, without a care in the world. A cherished smell!


  3. Road to Joy, I am so sorry for the delay…I didn’t see this comment until tonight.

    I know that creosote smell your talking about. It reminds me of the road construction on 75 south when I was a kid and we used to drive to the beach. And yes it is truly a blessing to have both my parents living with me now…my son’s are loving all of the cakes, pies and cookies. 🙂


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