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prolificus's avatar

What familiar smells do you miss from a former hometown that you'll probably never smell again?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) April 7th, 2011 from iPhone

For me, it’s fresh cow manure used as fertilizer.  Gross, I know.  I lived most of my life in an area full of Amish-owned farmland. The fertilizer they use has a very distinct odor, not something to be enjoyed but it becomes a familiar smell associated with Fall and Spring.  I was thinking about it yesterday and realized I will probably never associate the seasonal fragrance as part of my current hometown experience.  City life has its own set of familiar smells, and someday I’ll realize a consistent pattern of fragrances associated with seasons.

What fragrant associations do you remember from a former hometown?

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33 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Mayflies? XD
I still smell them where I live now

wilma's avatar

Crude oil being refined.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille What does a mayfly smell like?
@wilma Gross.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Beer brewing. The smell of the Miller Brewery is a distinct memory.

wilma's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe There was an oil refinery (not a huge one) in a town 12 miles from my small town. My dad worked there for over 35 years. That smell was on him every day when he came home from work. That is the town where we always went to movies and to shop and you could smell it as you drove into town. The refinery is gone now, much to the dismay of folks who wish it was still there for jobs and the oil producers who wished it was still there after hurricane Katrina.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe—Fish.They’re called “fishflies” too….wanna know why? XD

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Yeah
@wilma I take back the gross. If that was my dad’s smell I’d really miss it. His smell was cow shit.

deni's avatar

My first thought was “cow manure!” Not only because western PA is almost all farms but there was one big one that was particularly close to my dads house growing up and that stuff was FRESH. I grew to love it. Now anytime I pass by a farm I do a big inhale and think “home”. :)

AmWiser's avatar

Better Made Potato Chips. As a child we lived not far from the plant where they were made, the aroma was mouthwatering. I also looked forward to the yearly plant tour when I was in grade school.

prolificus's avatar

Boardwalk Fries! I miss going to Ocean City, MD, walking the boardwalk and smelling (eating) those yummy fries!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille If I say“I REALLY LIKE THE SMELL OF FISH” will you still respect me?

ucme's avatar

Gypsies cooking, well whatever that bloody smell was….a pungent aroma not dissimilar to that of a glass blowers arse crack. In short, not good. I will miss it slightly though, perverse but a grain of truth in there.

Cruiser's avatar

The smell of burning leaves. When I grew up in the city we were allowed to rake the leaves into the gutter and burn them. There were days the streets looked like Desden after the RAF bombed it in WWII. Now, I can’t even burn leaves in my fire pit…what’s up with that??

marinelife's avatar

The smell of evergreens in clean air that I associate with Seattle.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am sure I will smell these again, but I miss the salt water smell of living near the ocean and I miss the smell of citrus blossoms.

Judi's avatar

The Warehauser paper plant used to stink a high heaven when I was growing up. I think they gave pollution control and rhe last few times I went back home it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it.

Judi's avatar

I just realized you said “that you will miss. Oops! Don’t think I’ll “miss” Warehauser.

etignotasanimum's avatar

Pear orchards. My hometown was the headquarters for a chocolate/etc company, the kind that you order fruit baskets and such from during Christmas. Anyway, my town was famous for its pears, but when I moved away, the area was also starting to become for vineyard-focused, so many of the 50+ year old pear trees were getting cut down.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Goat’s milk after the goat has been freshly milked.

crisw's avatar


you’re making me miss my goaties!

I don’t think there are any smells from my Michigan childhood that I’ll never smell again- most of them will be there when we move to Portland- apple blossoms, snow in the winter. Well, maybe one I won’t smell again is my mom’s tuna/potato chip casserole…

john65pennington's avatar

If I moved away from Nashville, I would probably never smell the smell of the rendering plant down on the riverbank.

They make dog food and when the wind is blowing just right, you can smell animal by-products cooking in their pots.

downtide's avatar

Every June the countryside would be filled with the smell of oilseed rape in blossom. It always reminds me of doing exams, because I did my O-levels in June. Although as I still visit, I doubt it’s something I will never smell again.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@Cruiser I agree with the burning leaves – a very pleasant and very distinctive smell that, thanks to all the regulations, will be something my kids won’t ever get to smell.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Cookies baking. I used to live in Pittsburgh, and there was an old Nabisco plant. Every once in a while they’d fire up the ovens and there was a wonderful cinnamon-y smell in the air.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Steam from a tomato and cucumber pickling plant.

YARNLADY's avatar

Believe it or not, there was an abundance of fresh air there, in those days. (Denver).

downtide's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I currently live only a mile or so from a big McVites factory. The smell that comes out of that place when they’re making chocolate hobnobs is absolutely heavenly.

faye's avatar

I live in my hometown. I don’t there is a distinctive smell here. Our air is pretty fresh, I guess.

Aster's avatar

Burning of leaves in my and my friend’s yard as our fathers raked them to be burned.
Strong smell of a new doll’s face on Christmas mornings.
I can’t smell freshly mowed grass anymore so I’ll add that one.
The smell of the bus when I’d get on to go see a friend for fifteen cents.
Rooms full of cigarette and perfume smell from my parents’ parties. And , I think I could smell snow falling but I’m not sure. (;

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