Childhood memories, bottled

By Ann

Now that we’re this far into June, it seems that pretty much everyone is out of school. And seeing all the kids out and about got me reminiscing about growing up in Florida, and what scents might have been the fragrant soundtrack to my ’60s and ’70s childhood. Here are several that prompted some happy memories:

From the first moment I sniffed it, PdN’s Kiss Me Tender had such a sweet, playful spirit about it that brought to mind spending the day at the beach with friends until the sun had sapped our energy, leaving us with that delicious languor. You know, that sleepy, lazy haze in which it feels so good to collapse and simply do nothing. And then being shocked back into life by a “brain freeze” with the icy blast of that first lick of vanilla ice cream cone at our local Tastee Freez (the only fast-food restaurant in our sleepy little burg for years and years).

The mom of a Syrian friend of mine used to make scrumptious pistachio-laden pastries that we adored, and the yummy gourmand notes in L’Artisan’s Traversee du Bosphore combined to capture that memory perfectly. Adding to the nostalgia factor, my pal used to take me and another neighbor for rides around the block on the back of his minibike, and I think I had a little crush on him.

Most memorable of all, however, were the warm evenings with twilight closing in, and us milking the last few minutes of play out of the waning light, then pedaling like crazy to get home before dark. On those nights the scent of the surrounding citrus groves wafting through the air was intoxicating indeed. Although there are many wonderful orange blossom and citrus fragrances out there, Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom captures those moments most poignantly for me. My first sniff of it was, quite literally, an olfactory “a-ha!” moment.

What scents take you back to your favorite childhood memories? I’d love to hear about them.

  • Teri says:

    I grew up in Beverly Shores, IN, at the extreme southern tip of Lake Michigan. Summers were spent further north along the Michigan shore in Ludington, MI, where my family owned a summer cabin.

    I learned to love my ‘inland ocean’ in all its seasons, but in summer she was in her glory. I don’t think I’ve found the appropriate Lake Michigan summer perfume yet, but I know exactly what the notes would be….Bain de Soleil, slightly aged alewife (fish), wet dog, wet beach towels which had dried on the clothes line in the sun (no fabric softener smell), sun baked wet wood (the dock), grilled burgers/hot dogs and charcoal, and finally, that hit of Michigan’s impressive verdancy when the breezes reversed and blew out over the water.

    This particular amalgam of odors will always define ‘summer’ for me. And yes, if someone made a fragrance with the notes listed above, I’d buy it by the gallon.

    There are bounteous blessings involved in Colorado living, but I do miss the water.

    • Ann says:

      Teri, those are some great memories. Lucky you to have had a cabin, and that fragrance — wow! I’d be right there buying some with you. I spent my early youth in Ohio and a cousin had a cabin up near Petoskey, Mich., so I, too, have fond memories of summer lake time (and not near the oppressive heat and humidity we had in Fla.!). Michigan has a beauty all its own and I do miss it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sam says:

    Your childhood memories are so interesting and different than mine, Ann (especially the Syrian-pastry memory!). My family spent summers out on Long Island, and the scents of those summers are perfectly captured in two perfumes: AG Eau de Camille and CB I Hate Perfume At the Beach 1966. Eau de Camille captures the smells pervading the air in the towns, with high privet hedges surrounding the houses, casual flowers here and there, and occasional just-cut lawns; the sweetest, freshest scent in the world. At the Beach 1966 captures the scent of being on the beach: the suntan oil (long before sun “screen” existed), the hot sand, a little salty sea air…pure nostalgia. You’ve inspired me: I just put EdC on one wrist and 1966 on the other. Childhood heaven. Never mind that I’m no longer anywhere near the beach or Long Island!

    • Ann says:

      Your memories are lovely, Sam; thanks for sharing them. I’ve never been to Long Island but I can almost imagine from your description. AG’s Camille has been a long-time love of mine, but I have yet to try the CB At the Beach. I’ve been wondering about a good beach scent, so this one sounds like just the thing to try. I think in these crazy, hectic times we can all use a few happy, nostalgic moments!

  • Creed Fleurissimo reminds me of Jewel Tea children’s shampoo and instantly takes me back to the Saturday night baths and “hair nights” of my childhood. My mom would set my hair in foam rollers (anyone remember those?) before hair the next morning. I remember always being first because I liked the water really hot, and my brothers who liked it cold and were generally dirtier would go after. Fleurissimo is the comforting, clean smell of being loved and the security of family.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Sherri! Oh, your post is bringing back lots of memories for me as well — I, too, remember “hair nights,” just before church the next day. Except my hair was so long and stick-straight that foam curlers, perms, etc. — nothing worked! So I wore lots of braids, ponytails and pigtails. Glad that Creed is such a comforting scent for you; I haven’t tried that one but will definitely look for it now on my next trip into the “big city.”