Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Nostalgia

nostalgia: -noun
1. a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends
2. a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time

When I think nostalgic thoughts, my olfactory senses are stirred. Thoughts of times past nearly always come with ghost scents. Not long ago my friend Steph at Strange Days Indeed (here) wrote about Yankee Candles, and how nice it would be if we could get them made in personalized scents to remind us of our favorite things. If that could be done, I'd have my own line of nostalgia candles. I mean really, if I want the house to smell like pumpkin pie, I'll bake a freakin' pumpkin pie! Give me a scent that really means something.

So, I've come up with my own list of Why-Don't-They-Make-One-That-Smells-Like-That candles as well as monikers for said fragrances:

Skater's Waltz - the scent of those crisp Winter days spent ice skating in our backyard when I was a kid.

Dad's World - the scent of my father... a combination of Right Guard deodorant, cigarettes, oil paint, and linseed oil.

Sultry - the scent of a muggy Summer night as sniffed through a dusty metal window screen just as the rain begins.

Easter Sunday - that weird churchy mix of incense, old hymnals, starch, hair spray, and patent leather.

Grandma's Kitchen - the intoxicatingly mixed smells of rendered pork fat, fried chicken, paprika, onions, cucumber, sour cream, lemon, walnuts, and sugary baked goods.

Mackinaw Morning - the fresh scent of the lake blowing in through the curtains, carrying with it the faint smell of freshly made fudge (this one would be accompanied by a cd of gulls kee-ahh-ing, waves lapping the docks, and the clippity-clop of horses' hooves on cobblestones).

Boardwalkin' - the smell of salt-air and seaweed mingled with fried foods, cotton candy, and taffy.

Northwest Woods - the scent of slowly rotting leaves after a heavy rainfall, evergreens, and the vague, nearly ethereal hint of wood smoke.

Old Books - need I say more? Aged parchment, leather, must... heavenly.

Woolgathering - there's that old afghan that Grandma crocheted, the favorite one in which to curl up. It's been sitting on the sofa forever, gathering all the household scents (cooking, cleaning, people, fresh air through the windows), in the lap is an oft-read, well used book (I'm thinking Little Women), or a journal and pen, and nearby is a steaming up of coffee. Of course, I really don't need a candle that smells like that... but it would be nice for those days when I want to snuggle into the blankie with a book and some bean, but don't have the time to.

What are the fragrances of your Nostalgia Candles?


  1. Awesome post! I love the idea of having your own yankee candle scents. Mine would be:

    Dartmoor Streams - the scent of water gently flowing over granite rocks and moss.

    Exmouth Beach - the scent of sand, sea, and chips.

    Magnolia Gardens - the scent of the Magnolia Gardens intermixed with picnics, squirrels, and scavenging seagulls.

    Portland Road - the scent of freshly cut grass mixed with the smell of the sea carried in on the wind.

    Loved this post and glad to have met you through A to Z.

    Ellie Garratt

  2. i love this idea! Hmm, my scents would be:

    Pescadero Breeze: salty sea mist and steaming coffee.

    Mom's Kitchen: garlic, onions, Italian sausage and red gravy.

    Dad's Toolbox: motor oil, metal and cigarettes.

    Desert Sunrise: sage, black tea and crisp air.

  3. Lovely post! Scent memories are strong. It's amazing how they have the power of teleportation to another place and time.

    My nostalgia candles:

    Pat's Mustache: a combination of cigarettes, English Leather and alcohol that simultaneously induces feelings of arousal and comfort. *sigh*

    Take Me to the River: the heady spice of chrism oil on a newly baptized baby's head.

    Storms on the Porch: the earthy smell of electrically-charged summer rain with top notes of soaked concrete.

    Parcheesi Peace Out: the calming scent of musty board games tinged with the buttery goodness of sugar bread, which reminds me of 3am game sessions with my insomniac Grandma Char.

    Thanks for the memories!

  4. mum's cooking, that would be a cool candle scent.
    Great post.

  5. Pelican Lake - heated Vulcanized inner tube, the tangy note of rhubarb, wormy dirt, and OFF

  6. You guys all made me smile! This is one of the most fun posts I've ever tossed out there.


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