The Scents of Home

My grandmother & my sister Windy. Grandmother has made a lot of memories for a lot of us.

“Nothing recalls the past so potently as a smell, ” Winston Churchill.

How true this statement is, nothing can take you back like a smell.  Everyone in my family- I’m talking all those descended from my great-grandmother, about 20- think of her, Katie Mae Hoops or MawMaw to us all, whenever we smell a certain rose scent.  She loved roses, they were planted in her garden, she kept rose scented air freshener by Wizard at all times, and her lotion was Rose Milk.  Needless to say, every grand kid and great-grandkid had to spray the air freshener thus imprinting that scent with that equally memorable woman.

I realized how strong a scent memory can be long before MawMaw was a memory brought back by roses.  One day I opened a medicine cabinet and immediately thought of my great-grandfather- Papa, who happened to be married to the rose loving MawMaw.  I was fortunate enough to have some memories of him, but given that he passed away when I was only 6, those memories were limited.  There are two distinct memories, though. One was from the evenings when we spent the night.  Family was always plentiful and there would be cots and pallets laid out all over the house.  As I would be getting into mine he would say, “Goodnight, Irene”  I thought this was so funny given that my name was Holly and not Irene.  What can I say, I was and still am easily amused.  The second memory is from the morning.  I am an early bird, but on those mornings at their farm I would stay in my cot until he came in.  I just had to have him say, “Wake up, sleepy head.”  And then of course he would have to “count my ribs” to make certain I had not lost any while sleeping. A good batch of giggles for going to sleep and a good laugh for waking up, what more can a kid ask for?

So, I stood there looking into this medicine cabinet wondering why he popped into my head.  Then I noticed it.  The owner of the medicine cabinet wore the same aftershave or cologne that he had worn.  I thought is so unusual that for me to have so few memories of him, I could remember the scent of him.  I realized then how scents and aromas affect us.  Who has not felt comforted walking in from the cold to smell a favorite winter dish waiting in the kitchen.  To this day, a pot roast with potatoes and carrots makes me think of Sunday dinners, my mother frequently made that so it was ready when we got home from church. Our nose is a powerful thing.

It may seem odd, but given the above mentioned memories, I have been very purposeful concerning scents in our home.  I wear a rose scented perfume, rose scented bath products and try to keep rose scented sachets in my clothes closet.  Years from now I want the scent of a rose to bring memories back of me- a woman that loved my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren more than anything in the world.

Scents in the kitchen are important also.  I cook a lot and there are certainly family favorite recipes.  I love a house full of good scents that will remind my children that some always has and always will care for them.  My grandmother is a wonderful cook.  I come from stock that likes to feed people.  If you are sad- we feed you.  If you are happy- we feed you.  If you are lonely- we feed you.  Just about anything makes for a good reason to feed you.  So, needless to say there are many aromas associated with her kitchen.  All of them tied to memories of being loved and loving those around me.

Creating a home filled with happy memories is a priority for me and should be for all mothers.  The home hinges on us, the mothers, wives, keepers of the home.  Think about what you love to smell.  Think about what you love to remember.  Now, think about what you want your children to remember.  These are the things worth making time for in our daily lives.  Soccer games will be forgotten, all various awards assemblies will be forgotten along with all those many events that had no eternal value, but what went on in your home will be remembered for all the next generation.  Lets get busy making good memories for our kids.

What is you favorite scent?  Why?


One thought on “The Scents of Home

  1. i love the smell of cinnamon and oranges. My mother would simmer them on the stove during the holidays just to create that blessed aroma. I do the same at my home now 🙂

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