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 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.