Saturday, June 23, 2018

Privet Memories - Sustainable Saturday

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

The smell of privet, for me, is the smell of late spring and early summer.  The scent would attract the bees.

It was warm, and humid, and privet hedges bloomed wherever there were houses in the Bronx.

When I smell privet in my neighborhood near Binghamton, New York, the scent brings me back over 50 years in a matter of seconds.  I am a little girl once again, climbing chain link fences while we look out for the project maintenance men, so my playmates and I could have a few minutes of interaction with nature.  My arthritis and my back issues melt away, bringing me back to a time when spring stretched on forever, summer vacation from school beckoned, and the troubles of adult life were unknown.

Sometimes, I wish those times could stretch on forever.  A time seemingly without care.

Scent and memory, so intertwined. 


  1. I love how a certain scent can instantly transport us back in time Alana - and that was a wonderful snippet of your childhood. Songs do that for me too - memories that pop out of nowhere are so special.

    1. Music does that for me, too, Leanne. That's why I can have so much fun with the Music Moves Me meme I participate in each week.

  2. It’s interesting how small things like that can bring you back.

    We moved from Nassau County to Suffolk County when I was 8 years old. Our old house had a typical suburban yard — lawn, a couple of trees, and whatever flowers and shrubs my father had chosen. New house was in a heavily wooded area, so other than a lawn, we didn’t do much planting.

    Old house had a huge maple tree. The woods at the new house had a lot of oak, pine, dogwood ...but no maple.

    Reason I mention it is ... have you ever seen the seed pod from a maple tree? Very distinctive. I think they call the pods “helicopters”. The pods are very sticky inside. We’d break them open and stick them on our noses.

    Every time I see helicopter pods, it brings me back to that house.

  3. A childhood I recall roaming freely.
    Coffee is on

  4. Scents and music are so similar, that way. Lovely memory, Alana! ☺

  5. Scent is SUCH a strong reminder!

  6. It looks almost like jasmine. I'm not sure we have it here but it's amazing how scents can make us think of old memories.

  7. They say that scents invoke memories more strongly than any other sense. I believe it.


Thank you for visiting! Your comments mean a lot to me, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind, links or spam. Due to increasing spam, I am no longer able to accept anonymous comments.