Memories-scent

I recently had the chance to chat with an American World War II veteran. He wants to return to France to see the sites where he fought and he particularly wants to visit Normandy where he stormed the beaches and watched many of his friends die 69 years ago. He is an old man now, and he told me that his blessings have been numerous. He contacted us for an Assisted Vacation because he needs help walking. Also, his wife is becoming forgetful and at times, she wanders.

After our conversation, I pondered the amazing phenomenon of memory. Nearly seven decades after his time in France, he had two memories that he brought up numerous times during our conversation. The first was the unbreakable bond that he formed with his comrades as they lived and fought through hell. The second memory was one that I could relate to very well. After all those years, his strongest memory from France was the smell of bread.

You have probably been transported rapidly back in time to a specific moment by a smell. Scent can conjure such specific memories because the olfactory nerve in the brain is located very close to the amygdala, the area of the brain that is connected to the experience of emotion as well as emotional memory. Also, the olfactory nerve is very close to the hippocampus, which is associated with memory.

As I think of my own memories of smells, many come to mind that are connected to significant times or people in my life. As with the veteran, scents from my travels made strong impressions and fresh baked baguettes always remind me of a cold day in Paris when I was ten years old. Many of the memories of vacation are made with the nose; the smell of the sea on an annual trip to the shore, the smell of campfires on a summer night, the pungent tang of street food on a holiday to an exotic destination.

We enjoy helping our guests reconnect with the smells of their past and perhaps discover new scents which will be significant to their future.

My best,

Thomas


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