In the writer’s world of storytelling, we speak of how to use the five senses. Smell is a sense I try to incorporate into every story. Our noses have the ability to awaken lost memories, and transport us to locations far faster than any other device.
Recently, I found myself visiting a family member in a convalescent home. As I walked down the hall, I could smell the lingering stink of loose bowels, and astringent cleanser. Mixed with the freshly laid floor wax, and the sweetness of unwashed bodies; a multitude of youthful memories flourished.
Many years ago when living outside of Boston, I use to walk to school. On cold morning, my friends and I would sneak into the halls of a convalescent home seeking warmth. We found it great sport to follow the labyrinth of passages, ultimately exiting only a few steps from school property.
The memory of those smells had long since lain dormant. They were awoken, tumbling and scratching from the depths of forgetfulness.