Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Smells of childhood

What smells do you remember from childhood? It seems our memories are permeated with and entertwined with the smells of our childhood. Whether it was the roast slow cooking on Sunday afternoons, or your dad's aftershave, or the greasy, fried food smell from the fair, we all harbour secret desires to be transported back to childhood so we can relive cherished memories. The next best thing is having ready access to the smell that will help conjure up images of a fireplace crackling on a cold, rainy day, apple pies cooking on Thanksgiving, (why are so many memories about food?!!!), the smell of coffee on my 1st grade teacher's breath. You get my point. For me, one of the clearer smells I remember was the smell of freshly ironed, lightly starched clothes.

I decided this week that I wanted a cleaner, crisper look to my clothes. So, I went in search of the spray starch my mom used when she would iron. My mom is the champion ironer. Every week she would pull out a HUGE pile of wrinkly clothes. She would then spend the better part of an afternoon ironing all my dads shirts, pants, our dresses and I think even sheets. She would then meticulously fold or hang everything up in their proper place, put the iron and ironing board away and we would all have nice, crisply ironed clothes. As far as I can remember she always used Niagara Spray Starch. When she taught me to iron I decided I needed to use it on everything just like mom did. I loved the way the starch would flake a little as the iron passed over it and I would blow it off and watch it fall to the floor like snowflakes. With this memory in hand, I ran down to Safeway hoping they still made Niagara. I shamefully have fallen out of the habit of starching my clothes so I was unsure what products were still available. To my happy surprise they still make it in all varieties. Heavy Starch, professional starch, lemon starch, and regular ol' starch. I could barely wait to take the lid off and smell the mixture of starch and warm air from the iron. It was exactly as wonderful as I remembered. It almost made me want to gather up all the wrinkly clothes in the house, head into the living room with iron in hand as my mother once did, and iron my little heart out all day. Almost.
The wonderful woman who gave me a love of starch!!


  1. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha I love that pic of your mom!!!! Classic...

  2. Love this, its so true. I loved when Nie wrote about her lotions and perfume. Smells certainly send me to different times in my life, good and bad. Hospitals mean babies for me now, and raspberry handlotion, highschool. Sinky gas, 311 S. Pine - JUST KIDDING! Love you.


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