Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spring Things - Privet and Bees, Scent and Memory

A memory of over 50 years ago.

I grew up in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, in a city housing project.  All green spaces in the project were carefully fenced away behind chain link fences.  We children would get into trouble with the maintenance men who cared for the project if we climbed the fences and dared to play in the greenery.  So, of course, we did it as often as possible.

In June, the privet would bloom.  
The blend of humidity and sweet privet scent would attract bees to the hedges.
It's a scent I love to this day.

The boys would catch the bees in glass jars.  That's not something we girls really got into.  Instead, we would look for ladybugs to catch.

Yesterday, I visited my mother in law, who lives in a suburb of New York City. We needed to attend a court hearing with her. My spouse's petition for the guardianship of my developmentally disabled brother in law, "B", was finally being heard in court.

It was warm, and humid, and privet hedges were blooming in front of her house.

They were swarming with bees.

The heady scent brought me back over 50 years in a matter of seconds.  I was a little girl once again, climbing chain link fences while we looked out for the project maintenance men, so my playmates and I could have a few minutes of interaction with nature.

Scent and memory. A living time machine.

Has scent ever brought you back to a favorite childhood memory?


  1. Memories of our happy , carefree childhood days make for the best memories!!

  2. I've never heard of Privet, going to look it up now. Brings back lots of memories. Thanks for sharing with us!
    ~Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance

    1. Privet hedges were popular many years ago. Not sure exactly where they grow, but they were popular in New York City back in the 1960's. My mother in law's house was built in the early 60's so she has these, too.

  3. I've read that smell is our strongest triggering sense. Smell will take you back every time.

    1. Yes, I've had so many childhood flashbacks due to scents!

  4. Isn't it wonderful how a scent can bring back so many memories? For me the smell of freshly cut grass instantly takes me back to childhood summer days, tirelessly playing outside until darkness fell. I really enjoyed this post - thanks for sharing your experience! :)

  5. Great post :) Thanks for sharing your experience with us!!

  6. The scent that always brings me back to childhood is lilac - my Mom LOVED lilacs (which also happened to be her favorite color!) and we had two bushes full of them every season.

    We have one struggling lilac bush here - needs some pruning to restore the fullness - but yes, every year when it blossoms, I remember my Mom (who passed away almost 3 years ago) and my childhood days.

  7. I love having childhood flashback. I'm trying to think what might trigger mine, hmm....


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