Thursday, May 27, 2010


So here's the thing, you might not get this. But do you know that particular scent of an attic during the summertime? Kind of warm and wood and baked somehow? If you do, that'll help.
I can smell my gramma today.
I should probably explain, in case you're just joining us, that I live in my grandparent's house. They moved here when I was about six years old. When my gramma passed away in 2008 we decided to buy this house from my mom and uncle and moved in in 2009. I'm sure I'd have survived the grieving process either way, but at the time I thought it would break me into pieces if this house was emptied out and strangers moved in. So we bought it. Furnished with all of her things and feeling very much like the house has always felt. It soothed me.
And also, it smelled very much like it always smelled. There was a particular scent to my grandparents' house. Talcum powder, clean and crisp and a little citrusy. Oh, I can't correctly describe it but her sister, my Aunt Elizabeth's, house smelled the same. Even their cheeks had that sweet scent when you kissed them hello or good-bye.
The changing of my gramma's house into ours has been gradual and gentle. Also, something my heart needed. The ugly dark paneling and blue carpet in the family room didn't seem the least bit unpleasant to me for many many months. It was like spending the night when I was little only I never had to go home, because this was home. Which it always kind of was anyway. We even inherited my gramma's bedroom furniture, which I'd have never have purchased on my own by the way. Early American cherry it is, pencil posts and matching highboy. Oh, very beautiful but entirely too formal for my particular taste. Except for now, it is our bedroom furniture and that's that.
Back to the point. I can smell my grandma today. The house smelled the same for a very long time but slowly and surely it has smelled less and less like my grandparent's house and more like ours. Our particular bouquet being a mix of Citrus & Sage Yankee candles, gym shoes and hound dog. Oh Lord, the place never smelled of hound dog before we took up residence! But now the dark paneling is gingery cream and the blue carpet is a memory and the cherry furnitured bedroom has pistachio green walls (very un-gramma like paint.) And most of the time, no more gramma & grampa sweet talcum powder baked wood citrusy smell. Except for sometimes.
I'm sure it could be attributed to change of season, humidity, barometric pressure or what have you. I don't really care. I just know that every once in a while, there it is. Mmmm. Gramma & Grampa's house again. Warm and love-filled and memory soaked. Their house, my house, our house, The Family House.
Maybe this house held so much love it was absorbed into the plaster and wood?
But it's pretty wonderful, days like today. When I can smell my gramma.


Pat said...

The blessing is in being able to detect the fragrance...and having it linger in your memory.

Trish said...

Just yesterday when Manda was standing in my doorway on her way out...she turned around and said "I smell Tennessee!" The combination of southern cooking (chicken fried steak) and fresh air were flashbacks of Granny and Papa's house. It was a wonderful moment...loved it because I am now leaving Grammy smells!

Jada's Gigi said...

Awww What a sweet post. they say smell is the strongest sense attached to memories..I know it can take me back in an instant. Its a wonderful thing...enjoy

Margie said...

love this, sometimes when I walk into my basement, I get the smell of my AUnt Dee and Uncle Ed's house. It makes me smile.