The Good Ol’ Days – and a giveaway

by “Don’t Panic!  March Will Be Back” Musette


March is finishing up some stuff that is taking up 10,080 minutes this week so I’m stepping into her Size Sixes (I’m 5’9″ tall and …well, let’s just say those boots iz squallin’!!!)


I lived in an urban environment for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to the good ol’ days – most cosmopolitan areas are constantly shifting so you don’t have much time to mourn What Was – besides, I have a really fragile visual memory that is only now allowing me to recall the visual past – I’m one of those people ror whom, if you knock down a building and replace it with another, in the time it takes for that new building to go up I’ve forgotten what was previously there (for awhile I’d forgotten that the Palmolive Building in Chicago still existed (I only saw it from Lake Shore Drive as a child, with its famous Lindbergh Beacon).  Sad, but true….but these past 5 years, writing for the blog and living in a rather static environment, has allowed my skittering mind to settle and reflect on a lot of my early sensory experiences.  Here are a few of them:

Thinking about the Palmolive Building got me thinking about toothpaste (don’t ask) – when I was a kid we used Ipana, which I loved (great taste!!) – then my mom switched us to Crest (ew).  I miss Ipana.  It always smelled – and tasted – like that intriguing Beeman’s Gum which I could swear came in tablet form, like Chiclets.  Am I making that up?  Anyway, I love the smell of both of those.   Does Ipana still exist? 

Nervine.  My mother suffered from depression and spent most of her waking moments in a otc-induced fog, to keep from killing everyone in sight.  This was in the 60s, so there was no Cymbalta – in fact, we’d not yet accepted depression as a chemical imbalance.  You had ‘nerves’, if you were a woman, and took ‘powders’.  My mother took Nervine.  We all knew to get the hell out of the way when she pulled that glass tube out of the medicine cabinet – but I always was fascinated by that glass tube, with those tablets…because they FIZZED!  I would peek around the bathroom door (I was 6) and listen for the plop! and fzzzzz!  and once, even sneaked my nose in the glass when she turned her back (it tickled).   To this day I have a fondness for effervescent tablets because in my house those tablets were a mysterious signal that everything would level out in an hour or so and I would get my mother back.  And dinner.

A-1 Salve (Wizard Products Co, Chicago).  Apparently this company got binked on several occasions in the late 40s by the JAMA Bureau of Investigations and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for misrepresentation (false claims!  can you IMAGINE?  what a concept!)  – but what did that matter?  My folks LOVED this salve, reputed to cure everything from eczema to ringworm and the corresponding sulphur soap, which purportedly killed everything in its path.  The petroleum base and rotten-egg sulphur smell equaled HEALTHY TIMES in our household.  I came upon half a boxtop, when I was clearing out my pop’s old meds cabinet and those smells came roaring back, just from the visual!  I’ve forgotten the scent of 90% of the ‘fumes I reviewed in the past 4  months – but A-1 salve?  Nevah!


Poly-vi-Sol. Brown bottle with bulb dropper.  3 drops on the tongue in the morning.  Is there any Boomer alive who doesn’t remember the smell and that weird B-vitamin taste?  But I don’t remember it smelling or tasting bad – just very vitamin-y.  And all my peers seem to remember it similarly.  Funnily, this current generation of moms (at least those on the blogs) seem to find it VILE!  Did they change something?  Again, for me, this is one of those ‘everything is totally okay in my world’ smells, unlike Cod Liver Oil, which smells like terror.  To this day.  Fish Oil tabs are my Cross To Bear now.


So….what are your Good Ol’ Days smells?  Mine seem to be all about dosing and slathering but ymmv – Perfume?  Food?  Patent Medicines?  Housecleaning supplies?? (my household madeleine  is Sprayway Glass Cleaner)  – would love to hear about them!  I have a buncho samples to give away, including Givenchy’s Dahlia Noir – I was going to review it but Robin @ NST did it way better here  – no reason to reinvent that wheel.  It’s worth a sniff and I’ll throw in a couple of other samps to a few winners via

  • Kismet says:

    Someone also mentioned Evening In Paris–I remember that my grandmother had a gift set with, I’m guessing, eau de toilette (maybe EDP) and talcum powder. I don’t know if she ever wore it. But the that deep cobalt blue of the bottle remains one of my favorite colors.

    In the little town where I grew up, we had a couple of real, main-street dime stores. One was called Kress’s (I think it was the forerunner of K-Mart). Red sign with gold lettering, wooden floors that creaked, and a little of everything, INCLUDING roasted mixed nuts at a candy counter, which gave the store a warm, delicious smell.

  • Victoria says:

    I love the smell of my grandmother’s cabinet–vanilla (vanillin, not the fancy real stuff,) allspice and stale chocolates. Btw, I tried buying some vanillin to duplicate some of my grandmother’s recipes, because real vanilla has a very different scent and it doesn’t quite smell like what my grandma made. So, I cannot find vanillin anywhere. I brought some home from the lab, but it is so purifies that it does not smell right either. Now, where one find Soviet-era vanillin.

    Ok, A, you can tell me that I’m nuts. :)

  • Rednails says:

    The smell of new-car upholstery in the 1960s— nauuuuughahyde! The smell of WD-40. My grandmother’s Chantilly. Nivea. Novahistine cold medicine — and Phenergan with codeine!

  • Cindi says:

    I remember Vick’s Vapo Rub! Mom would apply it to
    our chest and then lay a warm cloth over it…
    Also, my dad worked in a chemical plant and the odor
    of his metal lunchbox is still in my mind!
    Many thanks, Cindi

  • Holly F. says:

    The smell of my grandparents’ house- a bit still and dusty smelling, but clean dusty, upon first entering their home; then the different smells of each room- a roast simmering in the kitchen, cold motor oil from the downstairs next to the garage, my Poppop’s Aqua Velva in the bathroom, and their bedroom, which always smelled like my Mommom’s Knowing. That’s the one that gets me the most.

    • Musette says:

      those are beautiful memories. I think bedrooms and kitchens evoke the strongest scent memories for me. My parents’ bedroom smelled like loose tobacco (my mom smoked unfiltered cigs) and vanity table stuff, smells indistiguishable from each other. My mom’s been gone 25+ years but the smell of that tobacco, scattered all over her nightstand, is still with me.

      xo >-)

  • Lisa A says:

    My favorite good ol’ days smells are aftershave and Jergens lotion. My grandparents used these, and they always bring back good memories. :)

  • Bluepinegrove says:

    Mum deodorant! It was my first, a minty green cream in an opaque glass jar. It smelled warm, clean, ambery but fresh. It was the first scented product I started wearing, aside from the little-girl perfumes I’d get as gifts once in awhile. There was one in 4th grade that was carnation infused, very delicious and spicy, not at all childlike–loved that one. I’ll have to ask my mother about it.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! MUM!!! I remember that. But I thought it was in a white jar with red lettering. But it was definitely in a jar (they probably all were, back in my girlhood :”>

      oh, I can see another time-suck-on-the-internet in my future.

      xo >-)

  • AnnieA says:

    Noxema, that pink Avon bubblebath, and the smell of water out of a watering hose…

  • Alnysie says:

    Like Austenfan, I can’t think of much, but maybe glue, especially the one my mother made with flour and water, which is what Bois Farine reminds me of, unsurprisingly. And the smell at my grandmother’s house, which was perfectly encapsulated in Passage d’Enfer. Maybe I need fragrance triggers to remember those scents…

  • FM says:

    -The smell of the costume jewelry my great aunt let me play with — she stored it in an old Emeraude bath powder box.
    -The smell of King Leo peppermint sticks — reportedly, I shared those lick-for-lick with my great aunt’s Pomeranian…

  • Austenfan says:

    It’s odd, but I don’t have these olfactory associations to childhood at all. I have very fond memories of my maternal grandmother, but I don’t remember her smell at all.

    After my final year at school I spent a year in France and that year is coloured by all sorts of olfactory memories. The lavender on the Valensole plateau, the smell of the street markets in the city I lived in. The smell of fresh French bread. And the list goes on and on. I think it does account for the fact that I love lavender in perfume so much.

    • Musette says:

      I agree on the lavender – and I also don’t think it’s a requirement to have old scent memories – I didn’t until recently, which is why the ones that are coming back are so precious!

      xo >-)

  • Darryl says:

    The smell of Salon Selectives shampoo has been unchanged since at least the mid-’80s, and that’s the smell that brings me straight back to my grandparents’ house when I would stay over as a kid. My grandma always had a bottle in the shower. The drydown of Clinique Aromatics Elixir reminds me of her as well, the hugs she gave me. (This thread reminds me of nothing so much as I need to call my grandparents.)

    Other household/nose-of-a-child scents: My mom’s lavender bubble bath (to this day lavender makes me think of bathtime, not bedtime); my dad’s computer room and the smell of our dot-matrix printer working overtime; Ovaltine, the precious elixir that signalled when mom was letting me stay up past my bedtime to watch Carson or just stare out the kitchen window and chat; and the smell of our brand-new 1997 Volvo with leather interior (and also the ‘ba-DINK-a’ sound the door handles made).

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Salon Selectives! I totally forgot about that shampoo- it smelled great. Thanks for the blast from the past!

    • Musette says:

      Call them!!!

      In the old days, I loved Ovaltine because it wouldn’t completely dissolve, so you’d get these chocolately-crunchy bits on the top of the milk….oh, yum!!!

      xo >-)

  • minette says:

    childhood around-the-house smells – windex (the neon-bleu jus), lemon pledge, vicks vaporub when i was sick, one a day fruit-flavored vitamins (which i poppped like candy), and my mother’s wonderful perfumes (ma griffe, my sin, fleurs de rocaille, joy). one grandmother only wore chantilly, so i always flash to her when i smell it. the other wore different chanels (knew instantly that she had worn cuir de russie the first time i smelled it on my own). later, i remember flex balsam shampoo, herbal essence green shampoo, love’s baby soft lemon, and of course, my own perfumes.

    at school – mimeograph paper and ink, the root beer-scented cleanup stuff they used to mop up vomit (this combination is what SL chypre rouge smells like to me), crayola crayons, paste glue, the cafeteria (they all smell the same, especially on fishstick day), my 9th grade spanish teacher’s patchouli oil.

    fun way to remember! thanks for starting the thread.

  • Janet says:

    at my Nana’s apartment: coffee percolating (thick stuff!), Camel cigarettes, liver & onions!

    at my Grandmother’s apartment: moth balls, Evening in Paris, parchment for some reason

    my signifcant other remembers coming to my house for the first time and I had a horrible sunburn which I had covered with Noxema. So that smell reminds him of me as a teen LOL!

  • LindaB says:

    The OLD Noxema cream, Dove soap, Coast soap, the OLD Herbal Essences shampoo (with the hippie lady and swirls of wildflowers on the front!), Pond’s cold cream…these were the smells of my childhood bathroom and I can recall them all in an instant!

    I LOVED 10-0-6 lotion (didn’t they call it “lotion” then?) and would buy a case of it if it were available. :-)

  • Julie says:

    And while I was searching for what was in Nervine, I found these lovely ads for dubious medical products – I’ll have a Coca wine and a quaalude please!

    • FragrantWitch says:

      That is an excellent link! Thanks

    • Austenfan says:

      The most hilarious one is the ad for the asthma cigarettes!

      It just goes to show though that the legal status of drugs is so much more determined by cultural and political convictions than by any medical evidence.

    • Musette says:

      what IS in Nervine?

      xo >-)

      • Julie says:

        Looks to be bromide – “use in over-the-counter sedatives and headache remedies (such as Bromo-Seltzer) in the United States extended to 1975, when these bromides were withdrawn as ingredients, due to chronic toxicity.” according to Wikipedia. Another fun site about Nervine –

        • Musette says:

          Julie –

          I saw that! It’s funny, innit? All these toxic, poisonous, addictive ingredients – yet we are all still here, still relatively healthy and somewhat sane….:-?….but now we are policing like nobody’s business with supposedly ‘safe’ drugs – yet…take Lunesta – :30 spot, :20 of which are taken up describing some of the most terrifying side effects this side of Ebola!:o

          I dunno….A Codeine Cocktail is sounding pretty good ;))

          xo >-)

    • rosarita says:

      Cosadein by the gallon, hey, sign me up!

  • Julie says:

    Our house was built in the 40s or 50s and the basement bathroom had a metal soap dispenser for this gritty soap powder (starts with an L, ends in an X?). We didn’t use this bathroom much and when I was growing up (70s and 80s), there was still soap in it! It had a very distinctive smell and I was shocked when I found a bar recently that was built in an old train station and still had the very same dispenser and soap.

    Other smells that bring me back – Noxzema (I felt like I was a grown up when using it to clean my face), Tangie lipstick (only kind my mother wore, and still does), my Grandmother’s Revlon lipstick and powder. I can still get a whiff of that as I now have her vanity and the smell is still in the drawers.

    • Julie says:

      Someone’s mention of chapstick reminds me that original chapstick flavor reminds me of my Grandpa – he always had a tube in his pocket.

    • Julie says:

      And it wasn’t an X, it was LURON! The internet truly is amazing. Ours was similar to this, but a bit more elongated, but it had the same logo/printing on it. Ah, memories.

    • rosarita says:

      I was thinking Lavorax soap powder; I think it was the forerunner of Lava soap bars with pumice. My dad had a tiny bathroom, kinda like an outhouse, in the garage where he would work on tractors in his spare time. He had that soap out there – big rusty porcelain sink and all.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Brilliant topic!
    A lot of my scent memories have been mentioned above- Noxzema, Mecurochrome ( maybe that is why the skin on my knees is perpetually dry and leathery!) Flex shampoo, Teaberry gum.

    In the summer we would spend whole days at the town pool and then come home, shower and barbecue. I would use the whole Jovan Eau Fresh product line (or Jean Nate) and the shower would smell of sun-warmed skin, suntain oil and chlorine mingled with the Jovan. I would get out , put on pj’s and follow the smell of the lighter fluid and grillsmoke outside. There my mom would be smelling of Aviance night musk and my dad of Old Spice. My brother and i would play badlinton using the clothesline as the net.You could smell other grills, hear distant laughter, ice would clink in glasses and the buzzies would start. Just perfect! My parents divorced a few years later so those memories are really precious.
    I also loved Finesse shampoo, Tickle deodorant, and Johnson’s Baby Oil Mousse ( loved that stuff!) as well as Maybelline Kissing Slicks.
    Era detergent and line dried sheets…
    My grandfather’s Brut deodorant and my Grammy’s Arpege.
    Dust burning when you turned on the radiators in the fall.
    My dad smelling like the outdoors after splitting cords of wood for the stove and fireplace.
    snowy nights with crisp crunchy air, and snowflakes lazily falling.

    Sorry about the essay!

  • Claudia says:

    I have a couple of scent memories: Remember Body on Tap shampoo? It had beer in it, since beer was supposedly good for your hair. The bottle was even made to resemble a beer bottle. It didn’t smell the least bit like beer, but I LOVED how it did smell!

    My second flashback scent is cherry Chapstick. To this day, whenever I smell it I’m taken right back to second grade, walking home from school in the frigid winter. I loved the smell then and I love it now.

    Thanks so much for the draw!

  • Sujaan says:

    Sunnlitt mentioned Tang and I have to agree. I also loved the fresh smell Pine Sol after my mom would mop so, just recently I was in KMart and grabbed a bottle. I was so excited. But when I tried it on my floors it just smelled like chemicals. Bummer! Either they reformulated or my memory is sadly mistaken. I’m guessing a cheaper reformulation.

    • Musette says:

      I suspect we, as children, were more open to chemical smells….

      and they probably reforumlated it, took all the gooood stuff out!


      xo >-)

  • Mary Beth says:

    I remember the the Beamans gum – a Sunday after dinner treat. Your Chiclets did come in a pepsin flavor once upon a time, but once the candy coat was gone it was just – well – gum. You had A-1 salve for eczema; we used Mazon – coal tar and mercury. It was eventually pulled because of inadvertant poisonings (I slathered the stuff on like nobody’s business!!) – amazing I don’t drool. The coal tar ointment smells the same but just doesn’t work as well.

    Other scents? Bonne Bell 10-0-6, Dial soap (gold to be specific), Camay, Right Guard, band-aids (J&J and Curad smelled differnt, All detergent in the huge barrels.

  • EileenS says:

    Wow! Lots of memories.. It took me until I was an adult on my own to recognize that the pervasive clean smell in the kitchen was the dishwasher detergent smell as the steam came out when you opened the door to get the finished dishes. With 5 kids, the dishwasher was going all day.

    Teaberry gum — it was clove flavored. I was the only one who liked it in my family, so no one swiped any. That and the maple filled chocolates were all mine.

  • mals86 says:

    Rubber cement. Crayons. Pencil shavings. Band-aids.

    And my “everything is going to be fine,” smell, Porter’s Liniment salve. Clove and sassafras and tea tree and, of all things, myrrh! And beeswax and camphor, too. Totally distinctive. Can’t miss it. Open the jar, and I’m a kid again getting my knees anointed. (Still available, still terrific, still works GREAT:

  • Teri says:

    I’ve read that our earliest and most tenacious memories are scent memories and I’d tend to agree. There are certain scents that take me back to my childhood in the blink of an eye.

    The violet scent my Grandmother put on her handkerchief that she kept in her apron pocket. Just at nose level for toddler me, grasping at her apron to keep my balance as I learned to walk.

    The scent of Coty loose powder, Revlon lipstick and Chanel #5 which meant my mother was going out for the evening.

    Breck shampoo, Camay soap, Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder meant I was having my bath.

    Curling up on my dad’s lap for a story. He smelled of Colton’s Nine Flags Ireland (Green Moss).

    Getting a big hug from my Granddad whose jacket always smelled of wood smoke, gunpowder and animal musks (he was an avid hunter).

    The scent of white flowers drifting in my window on summer mornings from the fragrance garden my father planted just outside my window.

    As a teen, Noxema and Phisohex, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo and Tame cream rinse, Dippity-Doo, Good and Plentys, Doublemint Gum, Coty Sweet Earth Clover and Yardley’s Sandalwood cream scent in a pot, Yardley lip gloss, Village Inn ‘everything’ pizza, Green Rivers and french fries after school.

    As for cleaning products, EVERYTHING in our house was cleaned with the old-style Lysol in the brown bottle, or Clorox Bleach. To this day, nothing seems really clean to me unless I can smell bleach. lol

    • Musette says:

      These are incredible memories, Teri.

      And you’re right – know how? Your mention of Lysol in the brown bottle brought that scnet (and that part of my childhood) roaring back – I am in our house, it’s summer…and my mom is washing the kitchen floor. All is good. And that’s a beautiful thing.

      xoxo >-)

    • rosarita says:

      Teri, you just brought back a flood of memories for me. I’m commenting the next day and not entering the draw, so don’t know if anyone will read this or not, but had to reply to your comment. My sister is lots older than me and I remember coveting her Yardley white lipstick in the pink, orange & white metal tube.

      • FearsMice says:

        Not sure I remember the lipstick but the Yardley lip gloss in the pot was wonderful!

        I’m trying to remember who made the fruit scented shampoos popular in the 70’s. Apricot was my favorite but they also had strawberry and green apple… maybe others.

  • Maureen says:

    Barbie doll plastic. Honeysuckle surrounding the schoolyard at recess. Avon’s Sweet Honesty Mom’s Evening in Paris in the blue bottle. Nivea that all the really big busted ladies at the swim club used constantly. Coppertone at the beach. Big rubber inner tubes at the shore, in the ocean. Incense at High Mass.

  • adanish says:

    Oh, my – the memories are flooding back. My mother’s powder. I don’t know the brand, but that scent is a big part of my Boomer childhood.

    My father’s Camel cigarettes – that odor announced him!

    But one of my biggest olfactory and visual memories is the cobalt blue bottle of Evening in Paris perfume. It had pride of place on my mother’s vanity table and represented all that was faraway and elegant to my child’s eyes and nose.

    • Musette says:

      My mom smoked Philip Morris Commanders. You could smell those cigs a block away! She wore Christmas in July dusting powder – don’t remember the smell but can see the little powder jar to this day!

      xo >-)

  • dinazad says:

    I forgot to mention glue. The white paste we used at school to paste pictures into our notebooks. It smelled like marzipan, only better. I’d be a glue sniffer if it still smelled that way!

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    One of my childhood memories was going to the corner store with my sister and a couple friends and getting tons of Pop Rocks and Coke to see if the eating both actually would make our stomachs explode. Or Menthos mints and Diet Coke and going to a deserted parking lot. I don’t really see Pop Rocks anymore nor do I see candy cigarettes. I’ve also noticed that Lemonheads and Atomic Fireballs are slowly dissapearing from the shelves of my grocery store.

    • Musette says:

      I missed the whole Pop Rocks thing – after my time, maybe?

      My fizzies were SweeTarts – I remember when they made the GIANT ones – I spent an entire summer at my grandmother’s eating those giant grape candies and reading Rosemary’s Baby..

      xo >-)

  • maggiecat says:

    Ooh, I loved Ipana (and hated Crest) as well. A perfumista thing maybe?

    Our annual vacation was to a cabin in piney woods by a lake in the Wisconsin Dells. To this day, the smell of pine trees makes me happy, especially if combined with the water/sand/suntan oil smell I associate with happy times. And the fireplace was a special treat that i cherished as much for the smell as for the warmth.

  • Barbara says:

    Sorry! I meant my mom was all about keeping babies warm! It’s a wonder they survived overnight’s at grandma’s!

  • pam says:

    This is a terrific topic. I remember Ivory soap, Octagon soap (I still keep an old bar-it was used if you had contact with poison ivy), Watkins Ointment, old school rooms with wooden floors that had been cleaned for years with that lemony wood oil, cod liver oil (I so loved that stuff as a small child, that I raided the fridge and drank half a bottle. The pediatrician was appalled and worried.), wooden pencil shavings in those school sharpeners with the crank you turned.

    Can’t say we used Ipana, but does anyone remember the dark green toothpaste that contained chlorophyll? It was fascinating, and my parents did allow me to have a tube once.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! Octagon soap!!!


      ( I once drank a bottle of Vicks Cough Syrup, back when it was loaded with codeine – that warranted a quick trip to the ER for a stomach pump b-( – but that was understandable – it actually tasted GOOD.

      What’s your excuse? ;))

      xo >-)

  • Barbara says:

    Vicks VapoRub! It meant I was home from school “sweating out” my fever. She was still big on keeping babies warm when my kids (now 16 and 13) were little. I’m talking onesie, socks, blanket sleeper and blankets up to the chin. It’s a wonder they survived overnights at her house while I worked!
    Smells that remind me of childhood are Bayer baby aspirin (loved the smell and taste!), Prell shampoo, Noxzema, my dad’s Aqua Velva and Old Spice. My mom doesn’t wear perfume at all so maybe I got my love of it from my dad!
    Teenage years were Vidal Sassoon, Lemon-Up, Herbal Essence and Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific!

  • Janet in California says:

    Flex Shampoo- that smelled so good! Vick’s VapoRub, white wine in a box. Warm linoleum from the heated floors at school.

    • Musette says:


      Flex shampoo is only ringing a vague bell….

      xo >-)

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Loved Flex! I also had a mild Halsa obsession- shampoo that brought out highlights? When I am like 12 and too young to colour my hair? Hell yes please!

      • Julie says:

        I could sing you the song right now. Halsa hair, discover your highlights! I loved it too (and used Flex as well).

  • Tulip says:

    Tincture of Iodine (had to look that one up for the tincture part) and of course, Vaselene Petroleum Jelly.

  • Dana says:

    My favorite smells of childhood include a fresh box of crayons, big erasers, school paste, fresh mimeographs, my mother’s face after Noxzema, and my father’s face after he shaved and slapped some Old Spice on. Thanks for the memories.

  • dremybluz says:

    During the summer I always loved the smell of home mixed suntan oil–baby oil mixed with Merthiolate. It was supposed to give you the best suntan around. At Xmas, I miss the smell of glass wax mixed with food coloring we used to make windowpane stencils.

  • Ann says:

    I’m having such a great time reading everyone’s scent memories, especially Tang/Pixie Stix/St. Joseph’s baby aspirin orange smells, and who could forget Noxema? And does anyone out there remember Fletcher’s Castoria for helping, ah, get little one’s systems moving? I swear it had prune juice in it …

    • Ann says:

      No need to enter me in the draw. Thanks!

    • Musette says:

      Oh, yes! That smell just rose up in the back of my throad! It was a vaguely molasses-type smell and I agree, if it didn’t have prune in it, it was a close approximation!

      White box, orange lettering, iirc.

      xo >-)

    • Kismet says:

      Sort of embarrassed to admit that I loved the taste of Fletcher’s Castoria–had a sort of root-beery flavor. Does it still exist? Must Google…..

      Brings to mind my grandparent’s bathroom that always smelled like Listerine–almost agressively clean.

  • nozknoz says:

    When I was a child, I LOVED visiting the dime store, the most marvelous place in the small town where I lived then. It was full of treasures – comic books, toys, cosmetics, jewelry – and had a marvelous smell that came primarily, I think, from the old-fashioned waxed wood floor. I remember a mixture of colored wax and sawdust that was swept across these floors to simultaneously clean them and restore the wax finish. I haven’t encountered that type of flooring or wax for decades.

    • Meliscents says:

      Gosh I remember the smell you’re talking about. When I was a kid there was an old department store my grandparents liked to shop that smelled like that and it had a wood staircase to the second floor that creaked when you walked up. Gosh I’d give anything to be 10 again and back in that old store with my grandma & grandpa. Those were such sweet, simple times.

      • Musette says:

        Remember when nearly all of those stores had either wooden floors (with that particular smell) or those lino squares? I’ll have to look at the floors now – don’t have any visual for the newfangled ones. :”>

        xo >-)

  • Alison says:

    The smell inside Burger Drugs, in St. Charles IL, in the 70’s. I just checked Google and they’re still there on Main Street. This is also where I bought some of my first perfumes, incidentally.

  • OrbWeaver says:

    St. Joseph aspirin – slightly orangey similar to Sunlitt’s mention of Tang. Also Play Dough. Breck Shampoo.

    • Musette says:

      I still use St Joseph’s aspirin – and it’s pretty much the same!

      I loved Breck shampoo, even though it tore my hair to shreds, because I adored the Breck Girl who lived next door to me (Linda K. about 6 years older than my 15 yr old self – I ^:)^ her. Now …you wanna talk scent-memory? The Kahn household smelled like hairspray (her mom wore a beehive)….I thought that was THE coolest smell in the world and to this day, whenever I think of Linda, I think of that smell. Breck and AquaNet. Can’t be beat!

      xo >-)

  • bookhouseshell says:

    sheetrock dust, puddle pads, leaded gas. My dad was a drywaller & would be home close to the time we came home from school. He was covered with small white particles, especially in his hair, and smell like a combination of that and Copenhagen chewing tobacco.

    Puddle pads were flannel covered rubber that would be put into a crib to protect the mattress from baby mess. I was addicted to the texture and smell of these and received packs of them on birthdays until I was 6 or 7.

    Didn’t leaded gas smell so much stronger & wonderful?

  • ElizabethW says:

    Noxema, Watkins Salve, Glass Wax, Avon Skin So Soft, leaded gasoline, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Revlon Fire & Ice lipstick (yes, it had a distinct smell and I loved it so much as a child, I tried to eat a little of it).

    • Musette says:

      I don’t think there is a kid alive who didn’t try to eat their mom’s lipstick – especially back then, when it smelled so gooood! 😡

      xo >-)

  • Sherri M. says:

    My mother always used Jewel Tea children’s shampoo (I don’t know if anyone remembers Jewel Tea; once every few weeks the Jewel Tea man would stop by, and my mother would buy tea, spices, cleaning supplies and toiletries–kinda like Amway on wheels). The funny thing is it smelled exactly like Creed Fleurissimo. One spray of Fleurissimo and I’m six years old after Saturday night baths, getting my hair washed and set for church the next day.

    • Musette says:

      We didn’t have a Jewel Tea man but we did have Jewel Tea stores. Creed is spinning over there, y’know! ;))

      We had the Knife and Scissors Man, though – now that’s one of my fondest aural memories, the ‘squee-squaw’ of his bike? wheeled contraption thingy – and all the kids would run out of the house with the knives and scissors …

      xo >-)

  • Francesca says:

    I remember something called (who knows how it was spelled) X-¥ma Drops–some kind of vaguely orange-flavored vitamin drops; St. Joseph’s aspirin for Children (get the kids hooked on the orange-candy thing); Antiphlogistine, a thick black ointment which I think was meant to bring cancerous tumors to the surface of the skin so they could easily be excised; and the dreaded Scott’s Emulsion, which was some kind of cod liver oil thing (logo: a kid carrying a ginormous fish on his back). I think my mother realized after one attempt with Scott’s that it was basically child abuse and gave up on that.

    • Musette says:

      Wonder what the FDA had to say about that ointment? ;))

      My mother had NO qualms about dosing us with Cod Liver Oil. Had I known, I could’ve called DCFS! ;))

      xo >-)

  • Fanip says:

    Nivea cream – we used it for everything, from face cream to body cream and sunscreen. Still love that smell, though I don’t use it anymore, but I do but the newer Nivea hand creams sometimes and they still smell a bit like the old one.

    Also, orange blossom. I grew up in a city surrounded by orchards. My family owned an orchard. Every spring the air around the whole city would smell of orange blossoms, that slightly sweet and sour smell. The weird thing though is that orange -not orange blossom- is one of my most disliked notes in perfumerie now. Jo Malone Orange Blossoms smells exactly like the real thing and though I don’t much care for florals, I keep my bottle in the drawer and sniff a bit from time to time when I get homesick.

    • Musette says:

      I didn’t learn about Nivea until I was in college, so I don’t have the scent-memory.

      Jealous of your growing up surrounded by orchards – totally get the overload, though. A friend who owned a pizza parlor couldn’t stand the sight or smell of pizza once he left the restaurant.

      xo >-)

    • jen says:

      I love the orage blossom smell and also the fermented smell the orange processor plant used to have; its now closed.

  • Lindaloo says:

    Well I ‘m glad to hear it’s not just me who can’t remember an ever-changing streetscape.

    Beeman’s Gum I do remember (love!) and it did come in tablet format, but they were stacked in a package shaped like that of other stick gums. It’s still available today in actual stick form.

    Many of my Good Ol’ Days smell-memory products are also medicinal/cleansing. A big jar of Noxema for slathering on sunburns (and the empty jar for buttons), Vicks Vapo Rub for colds. And for colourful antiseptic treatment, the ever wonderful mercurochrome.
    Then there were yellow Sunlight soap bars for scrubbing stains from laundry. And later good old Lemon Pledge.

    There was little in perfume around when I was was young, but a couple of strong memories are my mother’s DuBarry face powder and later the Wella Balsalm conditioner of my visiting older sister. Eventually I got my own Herbal Essence shampoo.

    I recommend enteric coated fish oil tabs — more expensive, but those suckers are going to be way past the tummy before they start dissolving. No fish burps.

    • Musette says:

      Herbal Essence shampoo! ho, yus! I remember my first experience withthat – it was magical. Prior to that, all shampoo smelled like…shampoo.
      Mercurochrome. Staining everything within a 2-block radius. And every knee on those blocks had at least one stain and one band-aid! Here’s the scary 411,excerpted from The Straight Dope

      “In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared that Mercurochrome, generically known as merbromin, was “not generally recognized as safe and effective” as an over-the-counter antiseptic and forbade its sale across state lines. ”

      I expect my knees to start falling off any day now. ;))

      xo >-)

      • ggperfume says:

        We were a Bactine family all the way, because my mother did not want to deal with mercurochrome stains (nor iodine either of course). In my childhood I loved the smell of Bactine so much I used to take a sniff of it every day or so.

        A few years later I was actually a test consumer for what turned out to be Herbal Essence shampoo – my mother somehow found herself on Clairol’s mailing list and passed the unmarked bottle and accompanying questionnaire on to me. Of course I loved the shampoo, but the questionnaire was ridiculously long and involved. No real person evaluates shampoo in such detail!

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Oh my! Mecurochrome and noxzema were always in medicine cabinet when I was a kid. Why you would put something that looked so like blood on a cut is beyond me. Also, Bactine and band-aids.

    • HemlockSillage says:

      Mercurochrome! That was my first thought when I read this post. I loooooved the “monkey blood” as we called it as children. I’d get a scratch and howl “not the bubbles” (peroxide) and thought Bactine stung, so I’d ask to put the monkey blood on it.

      I painted my mom’s black and white faux newsprint/ads wallpaper with Mercurochrome. It started innocently as an accent to the ladies’ lips, then the flowers, then. . .

      Yes, my hide was *tanned* for that.

      Thanks all for making me smile. Be well.

    • rosarita says:

      Oh, you took all of mine :) I enjoyed reading this post/comments so much. We did merchurochrome (sorry for the misspell – I think the brand was MethyolAid?) until we switched to Bactine. Miles Laborotory was located in a bigger town than ours just a few miles away and lots of family friends worked there, so we always had samples/bottles of Bactine, Alka Seltzer, Alka Mints, Flintstone & One A Day vitamins, etc. And Noxema was the preferred sunburn treatment. Loved the comment about those empty cobalt glass jars holding buttons – ours held safety pins, too. :) My other memories are Jubilee Kitchen Wax and helping my German grandma pickle home grown horseradish, not to mention the endless work of concord grape jelly, with the big jelly bag hanging over the kitchen sink….she’d never let us eat the fresh jelly, because we had to use up last year’s supply first!

      • Musette says:

        Alas, I was too old for Flinstone vitamins. They were among the earliest of the chewables, weren’t they? I don’t remember any vitamin pills for us – we did the Poly-Vi-Sol and that damn cod liver oil – and that was it!

        What on earth are/were Alka Mints?

        xi >-)

        • rosarita says:

          These chewable antacid tabs, like Tums, only in a very distinctive creamy/chalky/wintergreen/spearmint flavor. Really mild.

  • dinazad says:

    Tiki – basically, you were supposed to drop the tablets in water to make an effervescent, vaguely fruit-flavored drink, but we always sucked them instead. They’d dissolve in a sweet-and-sour prickly foam which was AWESOME. I don’t see them in the shops anymore, but I got a packet of them as a gift, so I can skip down memory lane.

    The 100 year old merry-go-round in Munich’s English Garden – it’ still there, right beside the Chinese Tower. And it still smells the same, a peculiar musty smell of old wood, machine oil, a space closed off during winter, old coverings and thousands of children. Maybe some mold as well? Maybe that’s why I like Messe de Minuit so much.

    Blue Grass – my mom wore it when she went to a concert or such. I still remember the gorgeous dress she’d wear. Sigh……. It doesn’t work for me, unfortunately.

    • Sherri M. says:

      Oh, Blue Grass! Dinazad, I’m so glad you brought it up. Blue Grass was one of my mother’s perfumes, too. I actually really liked that one. Whatever happened to Blue Grass? My memory is of it being very delicate, like a predecessor of an Annick Goutal fragrance. Sadly I have this feeling, like Emeraude, it has probably been terribly reformulated/cheapened. Has anyone tried it recently, or found a good bottle of vintage?

      • Ann says:

        Thanks, ladies, for the Blue Grass reminder. I think I snuck a bit of my mom’s occasionally, and seem to remember having, of all things, a cream deodorant in it. Weird, huh?

        • Meliscents says:

          I actually picked up some of the deodorant at a discount store the other day on a lark. The surprise is that it actually works really well and smells even richer than the EDT does. I am a little torn about “my pits” smelling so beautiful. :d

      • dremybluz says:

        you can still get Blue Grass by Elizabeth Arden on line. I checked and a 100cc bottle is about $21. If you go to you can probably find the best price.

        • pam says:

          I ran into a tester at my mall recently, and it smells just like it always did. Brought back memories. I think my second grade teacher wore it ( and she was so sweet).

          • dinazad says:

            The bottle I smelled a few years ago smelled exactly like my mom’s Blue Grass did. Don’t think it’s popular enough for them to reformulate it…..

  • Madea says:

    Zest soap– When I was nineteen, I was involved in a brief, unhealthy, ‘we know this is a disaster waiting to happen but are going to do it anyway’ non-relationship with a handsome rogue that smelled like Zest.

    White Shoulders– My Grandma wore this. She was a teacher, stands nearly six feet tall, and was(and still is) the most wonderful person I know. I can’t wear it, because when I do, I’m three again, playing with the bottles on her vanity.

    • Musette says:

      Zest soap just came rushing into my nose! Amazing! We were Dial folks (my doctor uncle prescribed aspirin and/or Dial soap for most non-fatal ailments). Hence, I always wanted to try Zest (see Tang above). It had a way more ‘fun’ smell than Dial.

      xo >-)

  • ElizabethC says:

    The smell of an old Tudor house that we stayed in during a summer spent in London. Herve Leger perfume has a bit of the same smell and brings back memories immediately!

    • Musette says:

      That Harve Leger perfume has some POWER! This is the perfume that made Vida’s mom burst into tears of joy at the Chicago Scentsation!

      xo >-)

  • Cheesegan says:

    The rain forest after a hard rain followed by sun, apple orchard at end of harvest, bags of walnuts waiting to be dried, pancakes, bacon, matsutake mushrooms, horse barns, rubber cement.

    • Musette says:

      My head is reeling from this list! But you had me – totally – at pancakes and bacon! I love horse – but horse barn sometimes has horse pee – and it brings on asthma, so barns are usually a no-go for me…:((

      xo >-)

  • sunnlitt says:

    I loved the smell of Tang–kind of smelled like Pixie Stix. That sharp fake orange-flavor smell.
    I liked Mentholatum, too. I don’t use it now, but I used to slather it all over chapped lips in the winter. That must have been AMAZINGLY attractive!!

    • Musette says:

      I still have a jar of Mentholatum, I think, from my pop’s med cab! And I lusted for Tang – my mom wasn’t one for that kind of drink (we did Kool-Aid but that was it)so you know we WANTED IT! [-o< Tasted totally fake - and we totally loved it! Because the astronauts drank it, dont'chaknow. xo >-)

  • Joanna says:

    I used to love the smell of the old Halloween makeup. I remember it had a sharp, soapy scent but burned like heck if it got in your eyes. It must have had bad stuff in it, (Lead no doubt) as they don’t sell it anymore. And lipstick the way it used to smell when I was a kid…like the stuff the Avon lady brought around in the early 80’s.
    My Grandma made homemade soap, (From lye I think) and the bathroom in my grandparent’s farmhouse always smelled like that soap, my Grandpa’s denture tablets, (Your fizz memory reminded me of those tablets too) and bleach. Her laundry had a really astringent but comforting scent and I still remember running through the sheets when she hung them out to dry.
    My husband thinks this is the weirdest thing ever, (He’s from VA) but the smell of Lutefisk is so much a part of my memories of Christmas as a child, (In Minnesota) that I find it really comforting. Okay I’m a little embarassed to admit that one.

    • Musette says:

      Why? I totally get that lutefisk thing. I hate the smell of organ meats but love it, in a weird, comforting way, as it brings back memories of my family holiday parties.

      Lipstick from the 50s/60s…:x My Tia Cornelia always smelled like face powder and lipstick!

      xo >-)