Girls Write Out
Monday, May 26, 2008

I was at the little league ball diamond the other day (actually, we live there this time of year) and passed someone wearing a familiar fragrance. I can’t tell you who from my past wore it, but I can tell you with certainty it was a teacher at my elementary school.

The other day we were walking across a parking lot and one of my boys said, “It smells like we’re going into an amusement park.” It was the greasy smell of tar under the hot sun.

The sense of smell is an amazing thing, isn’t it? I love to include smells in the scenes of my stories because nothing can take you there quite like a whiff of something familiar.

The smell of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo has the power to take me back to when my boys were wet, squirming babies. The fragrance of pine takes me back to Christmases past. One whiff of Pierre Cardin and I’m 18 and on my way to a movie with Kevin. The smell of burning wood reminds me of home. The buttery scent of popcorn takes me back to the skating rink.

What smell picks you up and takes you right back to a moment, a person, a place?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:34 PM  
  Comments (16)
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At 11:05 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Pines. The smell of pine trees in the morning takes me back to living outside a small town in central Colorado (pop. 1,500). Now I live in Istanbul (pop. 12,000,000?), but there are three pine trees outside of our apartment. When I opened the kitchen window and got a whiff of pine this morning, I was instantly (and nostalgically!)transported to the mountains. Ahhhhh. Fantastic.

My daughter's first way to relate to her world is through her nose. She is constantly saying, "Smell that...It's just like..."

Smell is such a powerful, evocative sense.

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Krista Phillips said...

Old Spice:-) My daddy always wore old spice, and everytime I smell it, I think of my dad.

Baking bread: My grandma loved to make homemade bread, and I am talking roll up your sleeves, put your muscle into it bread. She would also make the greatest cinnamon rolls known to man. I remember the first time I went to her house and saw that she had purchased a bread machine. I was so disappointed! There was just something special about Grandma's homemade bread:-)

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Ivory soap and Jergens hand lotion always bring back memories of my Granny.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

I have a horrible, horrible sense of smell... so much so that I usually forget that there is a senes of smell *rme* - but one thing that I usually can smell is citrus - like oranges. Which for me is a happy smell - cause I can smell it! :)

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Rhonda/WA state said...

Oh yea, Old Spice! My dad would take a shower and he'd always put on his Old Spice. I can still see him in his bathrobe getting ready to turn in for the night and that smell......

Also, coffee. My dad and I would sit out on the front porch and drink our coffee together. It could be 100 degrees and we'd still be sittin' there. (My white chocolate mochas bring on those warm fuzzy feelings even though we drank regular drip coffee.)

My dad has been gone since 2001. There are times when I get a whiff of that cologne and I swear my dad is right there.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Walking into a high school gymnasium takes me immediately back to my own school days. So weird!

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Chelf said...

I don't remember the name of the perfume, but every time I smell it, I get a horrible taste of it in my mouth. My cousin's wife sprayed it on one morning, and some of it got on my toothbrush in the bathroom. I had liked it, and worn it up until that time. I can get sick from it now, and never wear it anymore.

Nivea cold cream. Grams Rose used to use it at night. Nostalgia and a gross-out at the same time. Who knew?

At 1:12 PM, Blogger MarySnyder said...

Final Net pump hairspray. This smell takes me back to the beach and the beach trips from my highschool days. We would spend all day baking in the sun and spend the afternoon primping -- which involved creating the lovely Farrah Fawcett hair with hot rollers and lots of Final Net. When I smell this specific hairspray, I'm transported to white hot sand and salty ocean breezes.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Gracie said...

The ocean. I live in California, so maybe this is natural, but the scent of seawater (and even seaweed) can pull me onto a peaceful shore in my imagination. If it's strong enough I can even hear the distant sound of waves crashing.

Of course, this isn't applied to those oceanic-breeze candles. Yuck. Those things are complete fakes. No person can bottle the real smell of the ocean. ; )

At 5:50 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Wow! I've been thinking about this a lot lately :)

There's a certain type of grass that when cut reminds me of when I was an itty-bitty and living in Rhode Island.

Scotch tape smells like Christmas to me.

Jergins reminds me of my Nunnie.

There's a natural body wash made by Jason, the rosewater scent, it takes me back to somewhere...not sure where though! It's a good one.

My mother and I have both experimented with this phenomenon. I've worn one fragrance since my kids were babies and she's worn another one. We want the kids to think of us when they smell them.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger allen said...

As someone who was born without a sense of smell...I have know idea what any of you are talking about. No, seriously I have no sense of smell, at all, but color affects me that way. I'll see an odd shade of blue and it'll remind me of a plastic toy I had as a child. I imagine it's the same thing, only visually. Any time I write about smell, I always have to ask someone else how to describe it.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

I walked up to the front door of the building where I have been working recently and I caught a whiff of some scrubs that are growing next to the front door. It reminded me of a trip we made to the St. Louis Zoo, when I was a child. The zoo had that same kind of plant growing along the paths. I'm sure that trip must have been twenty-five years ago.

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

Another scent, I was making coffee in Alpharetta, Georga this morning and I couldn't help but think how much the water smells like it does in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

At 9:57 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Thanks for the smell reminders, everyone. Aqua Net! Oh, my goodness, we used to brick that stuff on.

Dove soap is my grandma's house, and I love the smell of the ocean--so relaxing.

Allen, but maybe your other senses are extra sensitive since you're missing one.

At 4:49 AM, Blogger Melissa R said...

I am late on this but I think smell is such an exciting thing to watch even! (Yes, "watch"... so there is a visual way to catch smell, Allen!) I watched two dogs one time catch the same scent on the same gust of wind one time and there heads moved as if they were doing a beautifully corregraphed ballet.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I have the strongest sense of smell. My kids will never be able to drink or smoke. This is a good thing. Eucalyptus is my favorite scent, it reminds me of my childhood, as does the moist, woodsy scents of Redwoods.

And Nuetrogena (sp?) soap reminds me of Grandpa. Ivory of Grandma.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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