happy things: ten scents you miss from your childhood summers


Yesterday when I was ironing a shirt, I had the faintest whiff of that hot t-shirt shop smell. I was taken back to that scent that oozed out of boardwalk t-shirt shops when I was a kid. I loved that  cloying, almost burnt scent when the cute teen boy a couple of years older than you, wearing a Locals Do It Best t-shirt would hold down the handle of the t-shirt press and you knew that in just two minutes, your new pink cap-sleeved t-shirt featuring a glittery rainbow over a beach would be yours to treasure forever.  I would inhale that hot fresh chemical decal-on-a-t-shirt smell and be ridiculously happy. That scent is part of my history, and it must be important to me because even the faintest hint of it makes me smile.

I thought of how powerful our scent memory is and researched why exactly certain smells elicit such strong responses. Scientists at Brown University discovered a strong tie between autobiographical memory and smell at the neural level. In short, specific smells create vivid emotional memories. For example, smelling the perfume your mother wore when you were little elicits a much different response than simply saying the name, Jean Nate.  (Learn more here.)

What scents make you happy? What reminds you of those summer when you were carefree and ran around with as little clothes as possible? Here are my top ten scents that bring me right back to childhood and those lazy, wonderful, innocent days of happy.